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The Story of the Middle Ages Review by Kate KesslerRevised and Expanded by Christine Miller
Originally written by H.A. Guerber
Nothing New Press
When I first explored the idea of Classical education, I was introduced to www.classicalhomeschooling.org, one of the most beautiful and expansive websites on the Internet. Classical Christian Homeschooling, sponsored by Escondido Tutorial Service, was a source of knowledge and encouragement for me that has yet to be replaced. While exploring this site, I discovered Nothing New Press and the thorough and most enjoyable work of Christine Miller.
If you love history and if you dream of distant times where people seem imaginary and remote, then these histories are for you. If you find it irresistible to dig deeper and seek the knowledge of a time long past, then these histories are for you! The medieval period is one overflowing with beauty, mystery, brutality, and legendary figures. The Story of the Middle Ages brings this time and these people to life.
Having established the migration of the sons of Japheth, Noah's son, this history of Western Civilization moved into the eventual settlement of Britain and France by the early tribes of Iberians, Celts, and Gauls. This set the stage for Rome and a brief history of her conquests and demise were covered here. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this whole beginning as it gave a succinct timeline that placed all these events in our minds while we read. It was possible to see how they each occurred in their respective setting and readied our minds for what was to come. From the invasions of the early German tribes to the warlike Barbarian hordes that flooded this once civilized area this was only the beginning of the book! For 328 pages it continued to tell us the saga of these long years of war, greed, tumult, and amazing heroism. The vast table of contents can be viewed here at www.nothingnewpress.com/guerber/middle-contents.html.
There are stories of plotting queens, conquering converted kings, and brave chivalrous knights. All the narrative that I usually look for in a good historical fiction book was right there in this real history! Mrs. Miller has put together a work that is surpassed by none other for clarity, interest, information and suspense. Did you know England had a queen that was widowed at age 12? Which Louis of France was so superstitious and underhanded that he was called "the universal spider?" There were many lesser-known tales of interest woven within the written history of the better-known figures such as Charlemagne and Joan of Arc.
This complete volume ends with the sad tale of court intrigue, which effectively produced the War of the Roses, the truth about what happened to the princes in the Tower, and how the rule of the Plantagenet Kings came to an end. With the introduction of printing to England, another era began for Western Civilization and brought changes throughout the world thus ending the Middle Ages. There is not another work of history written for children that covers such an extensive timeframe in such a thoroughly detailed, but fascinating manner, in the marketplace today.
Included in The Story of the Middle Ages is a comprehensive six-page timeline with dates and reference events; over 200 from 2250 BC to 1485 AD are listed there. Also included are many maps, illustrations, woodcuts, and paintings of people and historical happenings. In the back, there is a separate section entitled Recommended Reading, a bibliography, and a detailed index for subject searching. For more information on this specific work, you can see it here at www.nothingnewpress.com/guerber/middle.html. This is a priceless book that is more than reasonably priced at $27.95.
Nothing New Press is a publishing company that exists "out of the conviction that the ancient paths are of paramount importance to the education of our children." Our books and curriculum materials emphasize the knowledge of the history of mankind and Western Civilization, beginning with the first historical act of import, God's creation of the universe out of nothing. A complete understanding of where we have been is the only adequate preparation for facing the uncertainties of the future, as we head into the twenty-first century.
I cannot recommend these resources highly enough.