Best Medieval History Books
This list is for non-fiction books covering the Middle Ages, c.406-1492.

General histories, social histories, political/military histories, and biographies are all good. Historical fiction is not. :)
1
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 16,952 ratings
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2
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 6,973 ratings
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3
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 9,718 ratings
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4
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 3,306 ratings
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5
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 7,152 ratings
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6
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 534 ratings
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7
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 3,204 ratings
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8
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 4,987 ratings
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9
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 857 ratings
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10
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 1,973 ratings
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11
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 2,975 ratings
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12
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 573 ratings
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13
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 1,175 ratings
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14
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 416 ratings
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15
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 1,430 ratings
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16
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 644 ratings
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17
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 224 ratings
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18
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 640 ratings
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19
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 499 ratings
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20
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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 2,669 ratings
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21
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 1,235 ratings
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22
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 1,031 ratings
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23
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 577 ratings
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24
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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 90 ratings
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25
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 662 ratings
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26
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3.5 of 5 stars 3.50 avg rating — 3,179 ratings
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27
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 226 ratings
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28
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 4,645 ratings
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29
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 261 ratings
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30
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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 184 ratings
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31
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 714 ratings
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32
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 318 ratings
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33
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 3,822 ratings
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34
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 1,108 ratings
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35
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 342 ratings
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36
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 22,909 ratings
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37
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 62 ratings
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38
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 2,385 ratings
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39
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 800 ratings
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40
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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 666 ratings
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41
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 20,537 ratings
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42
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 416 ratings
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43
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 908 ratings
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44
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 1,088 ratings
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45
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 113 ratings
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46
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 1,312 ratings
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47
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 73 ratings
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48
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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 66 ratings
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49
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 119 ratings
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49
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 697 ratings
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51
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3.38 of 5 stars 3.38 avg rating — 114 ratings
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52
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 104 ratings
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52
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4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 85 ratings
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54
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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 281 ratings
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55
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 28 ratings
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56
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 192 ratings
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57
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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 188 ratings
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57
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 148 ratings
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59
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4.37 of 5 stars 4.37 avg rating — 566 ratings
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60
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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41 avg rating — 54 ratings
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61
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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 136 ratings
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62
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 263 ratings
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63
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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 25 ratings
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64
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 2,348 ratings
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65
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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 93 ratings
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66
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 112 ratings
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67
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 74 ratings
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68
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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 752 ratings
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69
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 26 ratings
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70
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 37 ratings
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71
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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 9 ratings
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72
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 1,633 ratings
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73
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 585 ratings
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74
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 1,897 ratings
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75
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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54 avg rating — 35 ratings
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76
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 4,145 ratings
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77
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3.13 of 5 stars 3.13 avg rating — 31 ratings
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78
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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 41 ratings
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78
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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 292 ratings
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80
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 26 ratings
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81
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 77 ratings
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82
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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 2,501 ratings
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83
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 108 ratings
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83
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 473 ratings
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85
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 598 ratings
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86
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 457 ratings
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87
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 56 ratings
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88
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 276 ratings
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89
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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 156 ratings
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89
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 99 ratings
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91
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 157 ratings
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92
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 69 ratings
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93
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 100 ratings
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94
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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 7 ratings
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95
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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 78 ratings
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96
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 54 ratings
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97
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 1,925 ratings
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98
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 356 ratings
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99
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4.76 of 5 stars 4.76 avg rating — 25 ratings
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100
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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52 avg rating — 50 ratings
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425 books · 167 voters · list created March 16th, 2011 by Catelyn May (votes) .
126 likes · Like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) (last edited Mar 17, 2011 11:30AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) I notice a few primary source texts from the Middle Ages are beginning to sneak in, as well as at least one novel (Scott's "Ivanhoe"). I take it the novel will have to go ... but what is your take on primary texts from the era?


message 2: by Catelyn (new)

Catelyn May I created the list specifically for histories & biographies, excluding fiction.

I think non-fiction work from the era is fine (I see Aquinas' Summa Theologica up there, and I imagine someone might add the letters of Abelard and Heloise). Those are fine. I'd prefer the list didn't turn into primarily source material, though. There are two other lists: "Best Medieval Literature" which is fiction from the period, and "Medieval Books and Classical Writings..." which is primarily source material, fiction and non.

I wish there was some way I could remove the historical fiction though.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) I removed "Ivanhoe" (and added, with pleasure, the letters of Abelard and Heloise ... had been tempted but didn't want to add anything you'd rather not see on this list).

What about "The Death of King Arthur" and "The Song of Roland"?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads What about Marco Polo?


message 5: by Catelyn (new)

Catelyn May I'd say yes to all three, The Death of King Arthur, The Song of Roland, and Marco Polo.


message 6: by Bryce (new)

Bryce Themis-Athena wrote: "I notice a few primary source texts from the Middle Ages are beginning to sneak in, as well as at least one novel (Scott's "Ivanhoe"). I take it the novel will have to go ... but what is your take..."

Primary sources are fairly safe here given that they represent the real world perspective of medieval people - the genre does not make the source any less valid. The whole of idea of 'non' fiction is reductionist in that it only labels what a publication is not - rather than describing what is other than fiction. Richard McKeon's 'Truth and the History of Ideas' is illuminating here...


message 7: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy Thomas Costain's books are historical fiction and probably should not be on this list.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Mr. Costain was a historical novelist, yes, but the works of his in question on this list are straight non-fiction.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads A biography of Alexander the Great? (#184)


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