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The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance (The Story of the World #2)
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The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance (The Story of the World #2)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,109 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Book by Susan Wise Bauer
Paperback, 424 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Peace Hill Press (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,937)
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I'm noticing that the closer we get to modern times, the more there is to argue about in the historical record. I assure you, I didn't agree with all of Susan Wise Bauer's presentation of the Middle Ages, but the only way to be perfectly satisfied would be to write a history myself and I don't have the time for that. Besides, I'm sure there are parts of it that frustrate Susan herself. Such is the nature of flawed humanity's attempts to document our past and - even more controversial - teach it ...more
Unfortunately, I've survived to adulthood with an embarrassing lack of historical knowledge. Not even my liberal arts general education university classes taught me history. Now that I'm homeschooling, I needed at least a basic understanding. THIS BOOK HAS BEEN FANTASTIC FOR THAT PURPOSE. I obviously can't assess its accuracy, but my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed the overview of all of world history and the way Bauer offers perspective and some repetition. We talk about the books frequen ...more
Zullay Pichardo
There seems to be an adult version right? I picked up the children's one in order to get the gist of what happened during these times (& re-freshen my memory- Wise does a better job than all my elementary teachers combined, some never covered these topics and others rarely touched on it) but then went back to when I was taking a course in college where the professor made me think of how certain events relates to our times and used films to portray either people's way of thinking or how it is ...more
The Story of the World – History for the Classical Child- Volume 2- The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer

Even if this is a book destined for a very different segment of the population, I must confess that not only I loved it, but I found things I did not know. For instance-
The Mongols drew blood from their horses to avoid starvation
Kublai Khan became emperor and he attacked Japan, but two storms saved the Japanese from a possible Mongol invasion. They called these storms the Kamikaze, hence the na
I did not like this book. It was an very uninteresting school book.
Amy Lawrence
A lot of information in this book. A bit choppy on the flow but the author explains why she put it together the way she did.
My child still had a big chore keeping it all together. But it IS a good book and appropriate for the late elementary, early middle school age.
Valerie Basham
This book is designed for elementary age students, so it was right up my alley. ;) It was a fun history book to read. My only complaint is that Mrs. Bauer, like many people around the world, incorrectly placed Baptists in the group of "Protestants". Baptist people have been around (by many different names) since the time Christ walked upon the Earth. We never were a part of the Catholic church, therefore, we did not come out from the Catholic church to "protest" it. We never reformed, because we ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It captivated my 9 year old as well. My 6 year old got bored with it. In the beginning it seemed as though there was so much information that it was difficult to keep track of everything. However, by the end, we were wishing that it had gone more in depth into some areas. However, it has opened up new areas for us to study. The book touched on many areas of the world during this time period. I think that we will need to do the book over again in order to remember all ...more
Elizabeth Licitra
I purchased this book to use in my children's home school lessons. I had never read anything by Susan Wise Bauer, and I am now very eager to read more of her writings. I must admit I always dreaded history lessons in school, but this book made history fascinating. My kids continue to listen to the audio version of this book, even after listening to me read or to the audio version during school time. I look forward to reading/listening to the other books in this series.
Parents who are looking to enrich their children education at home should consider purchasing this 4 volume edition. Written in the story telling format, these books cover the entire history of the human kind from ancient times until the present. My son and I read these volumes aloud at bedtime over a period of several months. I would suggest this for children in 4-6 grades.
Abe Goolsby
Read this one together with my family over the course of the past year or so, as we were studying the Middle Ages together as part of our homeschool history curriculum. This is a really great collection of stories and historical anecdotes. It's always possible to think of a few things here and there that I wish had been covered but weren't or had been given more treatment. (To cite one glaring omission, how can you discuss the Middle Ages in book length without even mentioning gothic architectur ...more
Daniel Letchford
I found that the book gave you a quick review of history from The Fall of Rome to Rise of the Renaissance. Kids will find this easy to understand and the best part about this... that grown ups could read it and feel like it wasn't too young for them!!!

I really loved it and now I know few hundred years of history just in a few months!
I really enjoyed the thoroughness of this history book. Ms Bauer does not neglect any part of the world in her histories. It is told in a story like manner, much like Hillyer however it sometimes seemed a little too juvenile or dumbed down. We supplemented heavily with biographies and with A Child's History of the World. It was interesting to note the differences between the two histories and how each author looked at things just a little different. We will continue to use SOTW as a spine so tha ...more
We stumbled across this as I searched for audio children's books that I could obtain through interlibrary loan. I was doubtful at first as we started to listen to it but eventually the tales grew on both Rory and me. We loved it in the end and have continued to work our way through the series. For me, I'm hearing history that I know wisps of as well as learning new things (I wish I could think of some examples at this moment!) Rory is fascinated (of course, lots of battles are chronicled.) But t ...more
This got too violent at times. It focused on wars a lot. I especially was uncomfortable with the discussion of the take overs of the English throne and the disappearance of the two young princes, who were later found as skeletons buried in a chest. This was a bit too much for my 8 eight year old. Even just the discussion of the plague was pretty unsettling, but then, I suppose that it should be. Anyway, we are still pleased overall with the series, I just wish it had been less violent. We learne ...more
From end of Roman times to about 1600. (The exploration of the Americas)
My children love these books. Well, they love listening to them over and over on CD. These books provide a solid historical outline of major historical events. Because my children listen to the Cd's over and over they practically have these books memorized. Once this solid outline is in place it is easy for me to pull a classic book off the self and read it to them and they can understand where in history this fits in. The CD's themselves (narrated by great voices) are on my top 5 homeschooling ...more
Emphasis on the story part of history. The accompanying teacher guide provides maps and activity ideas. There's a lot of repetition of activity themes: weapons (Celtic battle axes, Samurai swords, etc), costumes, medallions. As our history co-op has continued through the chapters, we have begun to come up with our own activities. Perhaps the favorite of these is "History by Mouth" and visits to a New York style deli (for the Jewish diaspora), Korean barbecue (for the Mongolian invasion of the Ea ...more
Dawn Roberts
The best children's history series I've found. Excellent!
We enjoyed the books and was able to get a glimpse of what happened during the Middle Ages. I wish it was more story book form and provided more background. I know it would turn it into a tome but at least it will be a complete book. We were able to supplement with living books to fill in more information. My son enjoyed the living books more. Next year we are going to use SOTW 3 as an review and the living books as our text.
May 08, 2011 Heather marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
So far I love this book. It's written for children (ages 6-10) I'd say. That being said, I love the cursory glimpses it has into the history it covers. It's bringing the history of the middle ages alive for me and drawing ties I never knew existed. Fascinating and simple enough to read while on the stationary bike. Had to turn it back in and didn't get a chance to finish. 4/2010
This is the most well-regarded history curriculum for elementary homeschool, because it's interesting for kids and adults. We all enjoy the information in this book, and it is the companion guide to the history topics my boys are studying in their homeschool tutorial this year. Highly recommend this series (4 volumes total) for all elementary students (and their parents!).
We listen to this constantly when we drive around town. My children, ages 7 and 5 absolutely love it, and I am shocked at what they remember. I would recommend it for anybody, with kids or not. It helps you put world history in a context that you can remember easily, and it's entertaining.
Like the ancient world, I thought this was dry and boring. And because it jumps all over I couldn't get a good feel for what was happening. I chose not to use this.

I think this subject is much better handled with a spine and then tons of other living and engaging books to supplement.
As always, The Story of the World history books are top class. I love this way of learning history - written as a story in chronological order, making history come alive to someone who found it rather boring as a child. What a treat to learn about the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance.
Lauren  Librarian
I've never been good at remembering events in history. Even as an adult, I find many historical non-fiction stories really boring. This is meant for children (and I would definitely recommend it for children), but as an adult, I very much enjoyed this and plan to get the other volumes.
Feb 13, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: homeschoolers
My children and I enjoy these CDs on a regular basis. The narrator has an excellent voice and the accompanying music really evokes a feeling for the time period. My children have effortlessly absorbed so much from these CDs. They have been a real asset to our homeschool
We listen to this in the car going to and from school. My 8-year old adores it and begs for it. My 4 and 6 year old also like it. I really enjoy it as well, too, and have learned a lot about history that I either didn't learn or didn't remember. We did volume one last year.
Abigail Rasmussen
My Mom did not have "The Story of the World" books when I was in school. However I read all four of them a few years ago and still really enjoyed them. I will definitely be using these books when I am homeschooling my own children someday.
Great series, even for adults.
Learned about Copernicus, Galileo, the 18 year Council of Trent, counter-reformation, different monarchies and how they came to power, defeat of the Spanish Armada, in this 1100 year span of history
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Read Susan's blog at, or follow on Twitter.

From the author's website:

Susan’s newest book for Norton, The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory, was published in May 2015. The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople (2
More about Susan Wise Bauer...

Other Books in the Series

The Story of the World (4 books)
  • Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor (The Story of the World #1)
  • Early Modern Times: From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners (The Story of the World #3)
  • The Modern Age: From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR (The Story of the World #4)

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