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Medieval Europe: A Short History
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Medieval Europe: A Short History

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  26 reviews
For more than three decades,C. Warren Hollister nurtured this classic text of medieval European history. The text was profoundly marked by his clear historical vision and engaging teaching style. Now Judith Bennett has updated this classic book while striving to lose neither Dr. Hollister's vision nor style. In his preface to the eighth edition,Professor Hollister wrote of ...more
Published January 1st 1998 by McGraw-Hill Companies (first published 1964)
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This book is easy to read, includes relevant and interesting information, and covers medieval Europe on a broad scale rather than focus on one or two countries/empires. In addition, the style of writing is well-paced and engaging. Best of all, the book reiterates the sentiment that the "Dark Ages" were not as dark or backwards as general perception states. Instead, this time frame is presented as a period of continuous change and development -- even, dare I say, innovation. One problem I do have ...more
Victor Antonov
Indeed, this is a comprehensive overview of the Middle Ages, from the decline and fall of the Roman Empire to the blossoming of the Renaissance. Brief and to the point, it presents the main events, people and ideas throughout the period. While it cannot serve people with deep interest in medieval Europe, the book provides comprehensive lists with sources for in-depth study. I read an old edition (2nd ed, 1968) and some of the ideas might be slightly outdated but, on the other hand, this is not a ...more
Melissa Graff
This is a clear and concise book, one of the few books I reused after college and implemented into my classroom as a world history teacher. I like the organization and the flow of the writing as something that I have used to help me create my own notes and discussions in class. This is an excellent choice for teachers or professors!
I should have finished this ages ago but LIFE got in the way a bit; PEOPLE *grumble grumble* So this didn't do it for me; It wasn't the vibrant, illuminating, concise piece of work I was looking for. I'm sure it's just me, read it at the wrong time. As I said: I had a lot going on, so I probably only gave it half of my attention.
Jan 15, 2014 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anthropologies, archaeologists, history students
Medieval-era history is too contemporary for me, being an Egyptologist-enthusiast, but in all I enjoyed reading this work, which was a required reading for my Early Books and Manuscripts class.

While in general it's not all that short of an introduction (it spans 362 pages of content), given the topics it covers (e.g., religion, culture, the humanities, society, socioeconomics, warfare, politics, public figures, myths/legends, etc.) the work is relatively succinct.

What's more, the text is readabl
Ray Smith
This was a text book for a class in my undergraduate work at IUPUI. It is perhaps THE ONLY textbook I ever read cover to cover - finishing it long AFTER the class was completed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone for good historical reading.
misty jo
May 14, 2007 misty jo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a comprehensive look at medieval europe
this was a text book that i had for a class on medieval europe, and so far, is perhaps one of the best text books that i've had the opportunity to read. it's a comprehensive look at medieval europe that is fairly simply written with surprising wit and humor.
Exceptional, thought written as a textbook it grabs you with great and comic prose and you feel excited about history again. Wonderful read!
This was a great book for reference with some very useful information.
Mark Heeyeaah
Not a bad short history, but a little out of date on historiography.
a re-read from college while i wait for library books to come in.
Anna Tatelman
As textbooks go, this one is pretty good. Readable and engaging.
good textbook. interesting sources and artwork for the topics.
Noelle Coleman
An excellent synopsis of one of my favorite time periods.
Short and Sweet review:

This book is THE starting point for understanding Medieval History. Professor Hollister does a wonderful job of explaining the ins and outs of medieval history.

My one complain is that Professor Bennett has tamed Hollister's odd sense of humor. In previous incarnations, Hollister presentes an painting of an emporer (I want to say Charlemagne, but I don't think that's right) holding a sceptor with an orb atop it. He suggests in the caption that this is evidence that the ea
I just used this textbook as the basis for a medieval history course. I had used Hollister's 7th edition myself as an undergraduate and remember the textbook as decent - it was interesting enough that I kept it after the course was over. This was my first exposure to Bennett's revisions and I was consistently pleased and even wowed with the ease and precision with which she presents the material. I have never used such a readable and engaging textbook. It truly was a pleasure to pick up each wee ...more
I have to teach from this for my intro survey class, and I do appreciate the difficulty that Bennett is facing in trying to compress a thousand years of history and culture into bite-sized pieces for bored undergrads. So, for what it is, this is a great intro to the period, and it's very easily accessible. The layout works well, with insert boxes of further interest and a lot of black and white illustrations of what's going on in the text proper. If bored undergrads are what you're working with, ...more
Aug 25, 2008 Lucas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history dorks, college students who have no choice but to read it
This is a great general overview of European history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the Renaissance. It's a breeze to read, it isn't written in a stodgy style, and it does exactly what the author intends it to do: show that, rather than being a period of stagnation and ignorance, Medieval Europe was filled with innovations in art, writing, and architecture.

It's an enjoyable book, and it's worth checking out even if you're not required to read it for a class.
I am teaching Medieval History to 9th and 10th graders from this book. I find it to be a very good introduction to a fascinating period. It proceeds from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance, and treats the subject objectively, without any of the anti-Christian bias that one often finds in books on the period.
This was a more typical textbook version of history, with an attempt to appeal to college students and annoying interjections from a modern, feminist, democratic viewpoint, but it was by no means a drudgery to get through: After all, it's medievalism.
This was the assigned textbook for a Medieval Europe course. It was well organized, easy to read, and overall the chapters were interesting. I would recommend it as a textbook for sure.
Victoria Flamenco
This is a great short history--very concise and yet full of information.
Sam Burleson
not very interesting. very typical history lesson. dry.
Brendan Howard
DARN IT! I got distracted and didn't finish.
Marvin Dupree
Funny - yet is still a scholar.
Bonnie Campbell
Pretty good overview, not too bad.
Catherine Lee
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May 28, 2015
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