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Famous Men of the Middle Ages

Memoria Press

4103 Bishop Ln.
Louisville, KY 40218

Memoria Press's Famous Men of the Middle Ages is one volume in the "Famous Men" series (Famous Men of Rome, Famous Men of Greece, etc.) that the company has edited and republished. Not having read the originals (published in the early part of the last century), I'm not sure what sort of editing was done. But the books manifest the rich language and tone that one would expect from a book written in that era.

As with the other "Famous Men" books, I find Famous Men of the Middle Ages to be long on detail (sometimes a minus if the audience is very young, at least in our house) and full of rich description. The narrative does a great job of making history come alive and reads smoothly in most places, considering the amount of information given.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that a woman, or rather a girl, was included in this book about "Famous Men"--Joan of Arc. In general, I don't have a problem with the focus on men's contributions to history in this series, but I do feel compelled to recommend that they be balanced with resources that at least mention some of the more famous women of history.

Another potential problem is that the books sometimes use terms that are not only outdated but potentially inflammatory. For example, the word "Mohammedan" is used interchangeably with "Muslim" in Famous Men of the Middle Ages, and this is generally construed as offensive by adherents of Islam.

But these hesitations aside, I consider this volume to be a worthwhile and interesting way to cover the "biggies" of the Middle Ages. The engaging narrative covers a heavy subject in bites small enough to digest.

Product review by Jill Hardy, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2007

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