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The Worlds of Medieval Europe

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Deftly written and beautifully illustrated, The Worlds of Medieval Europe, Second Edition, presents a distinctive and nuanced portrayal of a western world that was sharply divided between its northern and southern aspects. By integrating the histories of the Islamic and Byzantine worlds into the main narrative, author Clifford R. Backman offers an insightful, detailed, and ...more
Paperback, 582 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 16th 2002)
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Brian Wilkerson
I will examine Content, Tone and Polish and then assign a grade.


The book's reach in regards to time is the tail end of the Roman Imperial period to just before the 15th century Renaissance and its reach in regards to space is from the Iberian Peninsula to Central Asia, and from Norway to North Africa. Mr. Backman does not regard Medieval Europe as existing on its own but as a part of this wider world.

The book's theme is less about narrating the events that happen but more about how these
So Hakim
A curious traveler's map to the so-called "Dark Age" (which is a misnomer). Well-organized, good big-picture analysis, and remarkably good prose.

I particularly like the part discussing High Middle Age and 12th century revival. One is reminded that Renaissance in 15th century didn't come out of thin air, but was built on earlier foundation.
Such a great textbook to learn the basis of medieval Europe. I read this book for my medieval history class, which was actually taught by Clifford Backman, and was impressed at its content. Although this was considered as a textbook, it is not a normal textbook. Backman inserts witty statements and this book was written like a conversation. There are many interesting points he makes and his word usage was phenomenal. I would recommend this book to any adult who wants to learn medieval history in ...more
One of my favorite history books ever! I've been searching for this one for awhile. It is entertaining as well as informative.
Mark Anderson
I have chosen Backman as the narrative historical textbook for my upcoming medieval history course at Cal State San Bernardino; it was also assigned in the church history course at Yale Divinity School for which I was a teaching assistant in 2011. Backman blends political events with a nuanced understanding of structural history successfully keeps European history contextualized by the parallel development of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. I highly recommend this book as a single-volume intro ...more
A very good intro to medieval history. It can be a bit light on substantive detail (especially on the political end) and it rushes its coverage of the 14th and 15th centuries, but its tone is great: intelligent but never stuffy, light and engaging but never trivial. He's a little bit mean to Dante though, and that makes me sad.
This is an excellent overview of the Medieval Period in Europe. Wide-ranging, engagingly written, and with an excellent list of sources at the end of each chapter.
First college textbook that I was required to read cover-to-cover.
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