Europe during the later Middle Ages was a scene of unparalleled chaos. At no time in history did so much misery, in the form of war, famine, plague and death, descend upon the earth - at times it must have seemed like the end of the world people constantly feared was truly at hand. Taking his themes from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the author describes how the Great Famine and Black Death swept away nearly half of Europe's population, while the royal houses of England and France were engaged in a Hundred Years War that meant constant political strife. Yet, as is revealed in this work, a firm belief in the ways of providence and the first stirrings of greater political freedom allowed communities to endure. Far from conventional notions of the "waning" of the Middle Ages, John Aberth reveals a world that we can recognize as very similar to our own.
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John Aberth is Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska and is the author of Criminal Churchmen in the Age of Edward III(1996). He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
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