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Terry Jones' Medieval Lives by Terry…

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives (edition 2005)

by Terry Jones

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469822,081 (3.88)22
Title:Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
Authors:Terry Jones
Info:BBC Books (2005), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, medieval

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Terry Jones' Medieval Lives by Terry Jones


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I focused on the medieval period when I was getting my Master's degree, reading many of the primary sources (Domesday Book, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, etc.), but none of it gave me the high-level view of what the period was like - I was smothered in particularity. Terry Jones' book, however, provides that general view that I was missing. It does cover some details, often of a humorous incident, but it really concentrates on exposing the underlying economic, political and religious motives and events behind the myths of chivalry and knights and daring-do, all while providing a good look at what the lives of the common man and woman were like. Highly recommended. ( )
  TempleCat | Sep 25, 2015 |
It was alright, just alright. I expected it to be a much easier read to be honest. I viewed the programme on this book prior to reading it, and I'm very glad I did. The show was far better than the book. It felt too choppy. ( )
  TheInvernessie | Nov 26, 2013 |
Monty Python's Terry Jones is not just funny--- he's actually smart too! ;)

Terry Jones and Alan Ereira do a great job of presenting "Medieval Lives" in layman’s terms while at the same time being informative and entertaining. Each chapter is broken down by a particular social order, whose viewpoint offers crucial insights into life during the Medieval period.

It is informative and funny, a perfect way to impart information to a 21st century audience! It is perfect for actual historians or even just fans of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', myself falling under both categories, I would lean more towards people who have an affinity toward the time period. It is history with a fun twist! ( )
  Shuffy2 | Apr 15, 2012 |
I've seen the Medieval Lives TV series and this is just as good, though each contains information not found in the other. This is serious history, but Terry Jones, being Terry Jones, is able to insert plenty of humor. Highly recommended for high school and college classrooms, and for anyone interested in medieval history. ( )
  meggyweg | Dec 18, 2011 |
I simply couldn’t avoid it. How could I resist such wonderful temptation? I have always been a Python lover, since my first view of The Holy Grail. So naturally, when I saw that Terry Jones of “Monty Python” fame had penned a non-fiction, totally legitimate book on medieval history in England how could I not pick up a copy?

Jones’ Medieval Lives did not, of course, disappoint as a fun little read. It’s definitely one of the lighter books on general medieval history I’ve read lately. Authors with purely academic backgrounds tend to have a heavy tone; Jones was anything but, in his book. He explores the social culture of medieval England in a way one would expect from a bright fellow who is at heart an entertainer. He guides us through some of the different archetypes of the era: peasant, monk, minstrel, outlaw, philosopher, knight, damsel, and king. Each chapter includes some interesting little morsels of fact and what I thought was interesting anecdotes. Make no mistake, his tone may be light but he takes his history seriously.

Part of me is suspicious that historians and specialist academics might scoff at some of Jones’ conclusions. I think it’s easy to sidestep this though, just for the sake of absorbing what he has to say. His presentation of the lives of medieval people made me think. I think for anyone looking for a general overview of medieval lives will find this book useful. It’s the kind of book you want to keep handy before bed, or even, for those more adventurous, a quick peek while on the loo (gasp!). If you are looking for a more in-depth history discussion, you may want to look elsewhere. But, as an appetizer Medieval Lives is a treat.

The book itself is actually a companion piece to Jones’ Emmy-nominated BBC documentary series of the same name. I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy while on honeymoon this summer in the UK. The DVDs are as much fun to watch (complete with Gilliam-esque animation) as the book was to read. The set perhaps aren’t funny ha-ha per se, but still chuckle-worthy.

The book was originally published in full colour hardcover. If you can nab a used copy, I highly recommend it. Nice piece; includes some of the illustrations from the film. Otherwise, the current edition is just as useful but perhaps has a bit less pizzazz. It’s currently available at bookstores. The film series, I’m happy to say, is available for FREE (God love the BBC) on YouTube. You could watch the episodes before committing to the book. Either way, you win.

Really, how could I not recommend a book on medieval history that validates the usefulness of minstrels and rogues? Or shows that damsels weren’t particularly damsel-like? He challenges a lot of the stereotypes and myths—it’s what it’s all about, folks. And in the end, who doesn’t enjoy a proper history book that quotes phrases like “...the leap, the whistle and the fart”? Exactly.

(BBC Books/Ebury Publishing/Random House, 2005) ( )
3 vote avelynwex | Dec 5, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ereira, Alansecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0563522755, Paperback)

Famous for lampooning the medieval world in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Jones has a real passion for and detailed knowledge of the Middle Ages. In Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, his mission is to rescue the Middle Ages from moth-eaten cliches and well-worn platitudes. Behind the stereotypes of "damsels in distress" and "knights in shining armor," there are wonderfully human stories that bring the period to life. Terry will start with the medieval archetypes—the Knight, Peasant, Damsel, Monk, Outlaw, King, Merchant, and Physician—and in the course of unravelling their role and function will introduce a host of colorful real-life characters, recreating their world by visiting key locations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:07 -0400)

Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke.

(summary from another edition)

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