Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

4.5 stars

For the longest time, everything I ‘knew’ about Medieval England I'd learnt from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

Now that I’ve discovered that history isn’t the boring list of dates my teachers made it out to be, and lacking the thousands of pounds required to go and get a proper education, it’s only fitting to turn back to a Python for my further education. And what a brilliant education it is – chock full of fascinating facts and humour, and providing a sturdy foundation for further reading.
Taking a look at the many stereotypes associated with the age (peasant, minstrel, outlaw, monk, philosopher, knight, damsel and king) Jones & Ereira debunk many of the popular misconceptions via brilliant medieval anecdotes that brings real life to their material, as well as laying clear the propaganda machine that’s helped cement in place most of our accepted ‘facts’ (ie ‘Good’ King Richard I was a mass-murdering rapist who detested England and spent only 6 months of his entire ten-year reign here, and hoped to sell it off to the highest bidder, whereas ‘Bad’ King Richard II might have actually been pretty awesome, except Henry Bolingbroke’s spin doctors got to work on the history books)

Fantastic stuff that I highly recommend - I'm now hoping that Terry decides to tackle the rest of English history, as it's a class I desperately want to sign up for. You should too.

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