Fourteenth-Century Towns (Living History)

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9780152005153: Fourteenth-Century Towns (Living History)

An overview of everyday life in a fourteenth-century European town includes information on customs in the marketplace, the kitchen, and the magnificent cathedrals, and examines the effects of the disastrous fourteenth-century plague.

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Grade 6-10-- In the first chapter of this book, Clare gives an overview of the Middle Ages and sets the stage for a look at life in a 14th-century Western European town. Each double-page topic treatment covers many facets of everyday life, including food and its preparation, the role of the church, commerce, guilds, apprenticeship, and social customs. The contrast between the lives of the rich and the poor is described as well as the considerable impact on everyone of the plague, war, and famine. Other titles provide similiar information, but this one's format is unique. As in Clare's Classical Rome (HBJ, 1993), the book is heavily illustrated with full-color, often full-page photographs that feature costumed actors in appropriate settings. While a few are obviously posed, a bit too pristine, or at times static, the photos are of generally excellent quality, richly detailed, and artistically arranged. They are bound to appeal to readers, and thorough captions invite closer inspection. The chapter "How Do We Know?" examines sources of information and the problems of interpretation. Included is a map of Europe in 1360 and a useful timeline that sets this period amidst the events spanning from 4000 B. C. to the present. For a more expanded treatment, readers might consult Corbishley's The Middle Ages (Facts on File, 1990). Though helpful for reports, Clare's book will also circulate for recreational reading; the compelling photographs make it a good choice to introduce a unit on the subject. --Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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