Thursday, June 10, 2010

1215, the Book

I just finished reading 1215: the Year of Magna Carta, by Danny Danziger and John Gillingham, and I loved it. This was recommended to me by my friend David Cohen as something to assign to undergraduates, and if I ever teach Medieval England I certainly will. It is mainly a social history of England and France in the century leading up to 1215, woven very skillfully together with some of the political history that led to King John's issuing the Magna Carta. It is delightfully written, full of great characters and telling anecdotes, sprinkled with quotations from contemporary writers, and altogether the best work of popular history I have read in years. Gillingham and Danziger are both excellent historians, especially Gillingham, and their book is accurate in detail and always true to the medieval world as I understand it. I recommend it highly to anyone who has any interest in medieval history, or even anyone just looking for a good nonfiction read.

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