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Medieval People

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  506 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Medieval People is an account of the lives of six individuals who lived during the Middle Ages: a Frankish peasant; Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler; Madame Eglentyne, prioress of Chaucer's Cantervury Tales; a middle-class Parisian housewife; two English merchants, one engaged in the wool trade and the other in Essex clothier. The author has illustrated various aspects of ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 9th 1992 by Harper Perennial (first published 1924)
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For a long time historians foolishly imagined that kings and wars and parliaments and the jury system alone were history (p89)

In my imagination Eileen Power swept down from Northern Ireland to bring the new gospel of social history to the rich lands of southern England, but according to the infallible wikipeadia she only came from by Manchester which changes things entirely.

Medieval People was first published in 1924 and went through a series of editions before Power's death when she was, by the
Oct 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cannonball-read
The problem with owning an e-reader is that you don’t get that closure of money changing hands. You just click through Amazon, pressing the One Click Buy button with impunity while your credit card quietly sobs in your wallet. In an attempt to limit the damage on my bank account, I went through Amazon’s free Kindle books and picked up Eileen Edna Power’s Medieval People.

Power’s book follows six medieval lives based entirely on literature (in this case, wills, poems, and contemporary observations
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up this book and looked at the title and the cover, I did not expect that I was really going to enjoy reading it; it looked like it was going to be really boring and badly written. I was surprised when I started reading and realized that the style of writing was unlike most history books that I've read before, combining a narrative-style glimpse into the thoughts and opinions of the people featured in the book, and also plenty of factual information about their life and times. It o ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just okay. It's informative, and some of the stories are interesting. I like Power's conceit of keeping from the politics that everyone else usually focused on when writing histories and choosing to focus on the individual instead. I like her organizing principle of each chapter being about a different historical person and therefore about a different type of Medieval person. She writes about the peasant, the clothier, the traveler (Marco Polo!), the middle class housewife, the nun, ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at various types of people who lived in different areas and eras of the Medieval time period. Some of it repeats what Powers wrote in Medieval Women but, in this case, the primary focus is on the non-royal population. Powers is able to piece together the lives of six specific people who otherwise would remain completely obliterated from history altogther, and she does this with a sense of humor as well as a real understanding of what their lives would have been like as though sh ...more
Rob Shurmer
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one - better medieval social histories exist
Shelves: medieval
Rather dated now across the board: simplistic arguments, childlike prose ( "They were very merry and not at all refined." In stead of elucidating the social world of the 8th century Frankish peasant, comments such as this turn them into little more than Hobbits with their penchant for Maypoles and strong ale) and medieval stereotypes abound.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storiografia
E' un libro imperdibile:la quotidianità del medioevo raccontata attraverso sei personaggi comuni,la cui vita è rimasta impigliata negli archivi,nelle lapidi funerarie,nei contratti,nelle lettere personali e commerciali,negli atti dei processi.
Lo consiglio vivamente a tutti.
A somewhat less than satisfying look at some real people from the Middle Ages based on documents and letters. Maybe I was expecting more than could possibly be reconstructed from the source material. Nonethless, interesting insights into how things were -- especially trade, travel and finance.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard to get into at first, but it turned out to be really interesting. I don't know of another book that has shed so much light on the day-to-day lives of Medieval people. It could be boring in parts, yet fascinating in others. It's a must for anyone studying that time period.
John Mccullough
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extremely readable view of the lives of 6 Medieval people.
Jessica Trapp
Interesting history and easy to read.
John Burns
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hildigard von Bingen, WOW
ej cullen
Some plodding prose and dated syntax, but worth the effort if you have an interest in the daily travails of mostly ordinary people in medieval times.
This is a social history book which is written for the layman and counts no more than 160 pages in my edition. In this short space, Power provides a vivid taste of life across many sub-epochs of the medieval age. The chapters, progressing chronologically, are deliberately concerned with chiefly one historical document. From this one document she describes the living persons that the document concerns; the recipient of a guide to good housewifery in the late 14th Century, the Frankish peasant far ...more
Cynthia Moore
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alisa Raty
I loved that this book focused on real normal people during the middle ages, not on the wars and kings. It was written in an engaging way, making the research sound like a story. My favorite chapter was about the menagier's wife. This is definitely a good book if you want to know more about the middle ages.
Gregg Wingo
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gregg by: Bertrand Russell
I would like to thank Bertrand Russell for turning me onto this gem of a book. Dr. Power in this work lays the basis for the type of history embodied in the treatment of the U.S. Civil War by Prof. James I. Robertson, Jr. at Virginia Tech and Ken Burns on PBS. Originally published in 1924 this Fellow at Cambridge's Girton College rejected the traditional study of history in terms of dates and great "men" in favor of portraying the lives of simpler folks through historical records and literary te ...more
This book is surprisingly readable given it's publication date. Whilst there are now many publications which discuss the lives of medieval people (Ian Mortimer's Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England being the most fantastic book I have read to date) I have yet to come across one which discusses the lives of ordinary people from different time periods, locations and backgrounds in such close detail.

It is a concise read yet pays extensive focus to source material. Although I found this at ti
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi, storia
Eileen Power ha fatto un ottimo lavoro con questo saggio; capita raramente di leggere libri di storia così scorrevoli e spigliati.

Il saggio si propone di esplorare vari aspetti minuti della vita medievale che spesso vengono taciuti nei libri di storia con la esse maiuscola in favore di grandi imprese e grandi uomini. Eileen Power invece esplora la vita quotidiana del medioevo e lo fa attraverso gli occhi di sei diversi personaggi: il contadino, il viaggiatore, la badessa, la donna di casa, il co
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me some good insight to those who lived in Medieval times. Much better than I had before. Yes people lived on Manors with a lord, and serfs who took care of the land for them by planting, caring for animals, barrel making, housekeeping and the like but life in the middle ages was so much more. Residents of Venice worked in trading and shipping with Asian goods. Marco Polo spent years in China with Kubla Khan. People were well connected to the church and many lived as priests and n ...more
Kikou Hsieh
There is a reason why this book is a classic, written in 1924 when Rankian history was still in its full glory, this represent an pioneer attempt to write a history from below, unfortunately, social history do seldom make interesting audiobooks for lay listener or readers, people seldom find prices of wool or domestic lives interesting.

I found this book focus too much on the High middle ages, as oppose to middle age proper, it could have focused more on the churchman instead of the nuns, it coul
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book did not meet my expectations, justified by the title and the intentions explained in the introduction. The author talks about some semi-free peasants at the end of the reign of Charlemagne (ninth century) and then jumps all the way to the third quarter of the thirteenth century, as if there were not ‘medieval people’ in between [over four hundred years]! She ends the review talking about the life of an English clothier who dies in 1518. Who would consider today, though, such a man a ‘m ...more
I have managed to get my hands on the complete and unabridged 1937 Pelican paperback edition (part of the Penguins paperback range).
$1 AUD in the op shop! It still has the photographic black and white plates in the middle, which haven't dropped out. I hate when paperbacks do that.
It was really interesting and made you feel alittle bit like you were spying on some people from different strata in medieval society, from spoiled rich girls in some nunneries to poor slaves on farms.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always looked to those behind the scenes of majesty, people who really don't count individually (such as myself), but who, though unrecognized, keep the whole system intact (like most of us). This is one of those books who speak to me as what my life might have been if alive in a given place in Medieval time. Take the leap, enjoy and then be thankful.
Kevan Bowkett
This is a very interesting book, and full of the author's contagious enthusiasm for the Middle Ages. It includes chapters on Bodo (a Carolingian peasant), Marco Polo, a 14th-century abbess, the young wife of the 14th-century Menagier of Paris, Thomas Beston (fleece-trader to Calais, 15th century), and Thomas Paycocke of Cogheshall (16th-century English clothier). Fascinating.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval-history
Worth reading -- interesting, lively prose; the portraits of Bodo the Frankish Peasant, Madame Englentine were the most captivating or lively, Marco Polo was fascinating and proudly done, Thomas Beston was touching, though like the Thomas Paycock portrait, was duller than the others; and the Menagier de Paris was sensitively treated. All in all, pleasant and informative.
Jack McNabb
Limited by no graphics

This review is based on the kindle version. Of course the language is dated but the people are real. Power gives us a sense of who they were. However the finely drawn word-portraits do not make up for the lack of graphical content. Our author did give us good reason to want to see them,but this version does not supply them.
Joy Lynne
This was a re-read of a book I read for a college class. Parts of this book are very very interesting, I really enjoyed the glimpses of every day life during various periods of the Middle Ages. There were some passages though, that were in French or the inconsistent English speaking of the time, that I found distracting and difficult to follow.
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' un libro imperdibile:la quotidianità del medioevo raccontata attraverso sei personaggi comuni,la cui vita è rimasta impigliata negli archivi,nelle lapidi funerarie,nei contratti,nelle lettere personali e commerciali,negli atti dei processi.
Lo consiglio vivamente a tutti.
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sei brevi "racconti" che proiettano il lettore nella vita medievale. Raccomandato per chi è cuorioso di sapere come la gente comune viveva a quei tempi.

Forse gli ultimi due racconti sono un pochino noiosetti, ma vale comunque la pena!
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Eileen Edna LePoer Power was a British medievalist.
More about Eileen Power...