Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Medieval Europe: A Short History” as Want to Read:
Medieval Europe: A Short History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Medieval Europe: A Short History

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  437 Ratings  ·  35 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Medieval Europe, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Medieval Europe

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lauren Albert
Jun 18, 2017 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-european
A solid look at medieval Europe. The chronology can be confusing as the author goes back and forth with changes in place. The emphasis is definitely more on England and France though he covers other areas briefly.
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
Apr 06, 2008 Victor Antonov rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction
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
Mar 05, 2012 Melissa Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ray Smith
Dec 27, 2012 Ray Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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 really liked it  ·  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.
Anna Tatelman
Jan 23, 2012 Anna Tatelman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As textbooks go, this one is pretty good. Readable and engaging.
Mark Heeyeaah
Not a bad short history, but a little out of date on historiography.
Apr 29, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional, thought written as a textbook it grabs you with great and comic prose and you feel excited about history again. Wonderful read!
a re-read from college while i wait for library books to come in.
This was a great book for reference with some very useful information.
Noelle Coleman
Sep 28, 2012 Noelle Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent synopsis of one of my favorite time periods.
Apr 23, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good
good textbook. interesting sources and artwork for the topics.
Jan 15, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  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
Aug 05, 2011 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Lee Anne
Feb 04, 2017 Lee Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very readable. Great summary. Really enjoyed it. Reviewed & learned a lot. (My copy was the Fifth Edition.)
Jul 10, 2008 Lucas rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Eric Pecile
Very much a book trying to recast the Middle Ages as a vibrant period of European civilization. Unfortunately it fails miserably in this effort by casting the economic circumstances of the period as pre modern when in fact many of the commercial tools of today emerged in the 13th century. A good read but not for the trained medievalist.
Dec 04, 2007 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 13, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: factual
Excellent text written very much in the common style, in contrast to many text books, which I read from cover to cover and which I enjoyed very much. A complete guide from the year 0 to 1500 AD. High recommended and very informative.
Rachel Remer
A good overview of medieval Europe, it covers the politics of state and church as well as changes in power, culture, and sense of each time well. I particularly liked that a number of the biographical sketches covered important women in history. They so frequently get forgotten.
Elizabeth Morgan
An easy to read introduction to medieval European history. Certainly not extensive, but provides a clear and basic overview of medieval events, as well as those of late antiquity and early modern Europe to provide some context.
Sep 09, 2015 Mal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Is it weird to add a textbook to your read list?
Idk but I'm doing it because this was a really great class and I really like this textbook and I'm keeping it so there.
Marvin Dupree
Oct 13, 2011 Marvin Dupree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny - yet is still a scholar.
Dec 19, 2016 Eva_812 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I had to read this book for a class, but it is very well written, not boring at all. The random facts and funny comments really bring this book to live.
Bonnie Campbell
Pretty good overview, not too bad.
Jun 19, 2007 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis-research
This is a great short history--very concise and yet full of information.
Clyde Zen
Oct 04, 2016 Clyde Zen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for people without western cultural and religious background .
The book is easy to read and from which an English learner like me can find many literary quotations.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England
  • The Penguin History of Medieval Europe
  • The Oxford History of Medieval Europe
  • The Middle Ages
  • Women's Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook
  • A History of Rome
  • Scotland: A New History
  • The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity
  • Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History
  • The Making of the Middle Ages
  • Medieval Lives
  • Magic in the Middle Ages
  • Life in a Medieval Village
  • Visions and Longings: Medieval Women Mystics
  • William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry
  • Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft
  • Uppity Women of Medieval Times
  • Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe

Share This Book

“our world is a product of the medieval past” 0 likes
“Because medieval people are long dead, they cannot protest if we today characterize their customs as primitive, their lifestyle as crude, and their values as horrific. Their silence offers us a safe opposite to our selves, a bad time against which our own time looks pretty good. Who, after all, would want to live in a time without electricity, running water, or computers? Who, they might respond to us if they could, would want to live in a world plagued by nuclear weapons, global warming, and gargantuan cities?” 0 likes
More quotes…