Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester around the World by Beatrice K. Otto

When I set out to review Danny Kaye’s The Court Jester, I realized that though I could comment thoroughly on clothes, knights, and courtly behavior, I could not comment on whether the depiction of a court jester was truly accurate. … Continue reading

English Weapons and Warfare: 449–1660, by A.V.B. Norman and Don Pottinger

I love this book. A dear friend loaned it to me when I first began researching Arthurian literature. Three years later, when I asked him “Can I borrow your awesome book on English armor? I think it’s brown. Or maybe … Continue reading

Dress in Anglo-Saxon England: Revised and Enlarged Edition

Dress in Anglo-Saxon England by Gale R. Owen-Crocker is a marvelous book. Piecing together a visual history of the Anglo-Saxons is very difficult because Old English texts don’t have the lavish descriptions of clothing common to medieval romances and little … Continue reading

The Pope Who Quit by Jon M. Sweeney

Given the current situation with Pope Benedict XVI (now Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), I suspect that there will be much renewed interest in The Pope Who Quit by Jon M. Sweeney. When I first saw it in Barnes & Noble, I … Continue reading

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

To study the Middle Ages, you need to understand Christianity. Once you can engage with Christianity in general, then you need to understand medieval Catholic Christianity. If you are not a Christian yourself, then you likely have a lot more … Continue reading

The Book of Kells by Charles Gidley

As medievalists, we all want to get our hands on original manuscripts. Since many manuscripts exist only in one fragile copy, most of our manuscript dreams are destined to be thwarted. Thank goodness for the facsimile. The Book of Kells … Continue reading

Medieval Callings, Edited by Jacques Le Goff

Medieval Callings, edited by Jacques Le Goff and translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, is a wonderful volume on professions during the Middle Ages which attempts to give a clear view of how various types of people viewed themselves. The book … Continue reading

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades was a disappointment. This surprises me because Jonathan Riley-Smith has an excellent reputation in Crusades scholarship. Erroneous information is not a problem; the few points that I would contest are the result of … Continue reading

The Crusaders: The Struggle for the Holy Land by Régine Pernoud

Since Régine Pernoud is one of my favorite historians, I was bound to get to this book eventually. The Crusaders is, like every other book of hers, well-researched and a fabulous piece on its topic. The Crusaders is different from … Continue reading