This is an extract:
By the middle of the 15th century, the various kingdoms of Europe were strong, wealthy, civilised and culturally sophisticated, albeit more or less perpetually violent, viciously intolerant and prone to disease. Trade flourished and some of the world’s greatest philosophers, artists and writers were at work in cities and universities across the continent.
This beautiful, bloody world is the subject of Hywel Williams’s smart illustrated history of Europe’s middle ages. It is a pleasant, erudite jumble of politics, military history, potted biography and cultural study, and it gives a rich flavour of medieval life. Williams’s text is both clear and detailed. He ranges from Plantagenet England, Robin Hood and Chaucer to Norman Sicily and Reconquista-era Spain.