Spanning roughly 1,100 years, this lively book is billed as ‘a romp across continents and kingdoms’, and it does not disappoint. Historian Eleanor Janega unpicks complex topics with verve, irreverent humour, and a scattering of pop-culture references, all accompanied by Neil Max Emmanuel’s striking and sharply observed illustrations.
From the end of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam to the Vikings, the Mongol khanates, and the Black Death, readers explore both snapshots of key events and broader themes including social change and feudalism, medicine, and the evolution of universities. In-depth breakdowns of more involved subjects like the Crusades are particularly valuable, as is the thought-provoking discussion of the experiences of women and marginalised groups, and a final section putting the case for different definitions of when the Middle Ages ended.
Review by CH.
The Middle Ages: a graphic history, Eleanor Janega and Neil Max Emmanuel, Icon Books, £13.99, ISBN 978-1785785917.