The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade by Susan Wise Bauer (W. W. Norton, 2010)
I am now caught up with Bauer's history series, at least until The History of the Renaissance World becomes available later this year. The History of the Medieval World is as good as the first book, The History of the Ancient World, though I will admit to some disappointment, as I was hoping for a little less of the "kings and battles and political intrigue" factor and more about art, music, and everyday life. But alas, the former provide the background on which the rest of life is played out—and the book is 667 pages long as it is. I'll have to be content with building up my times-people-places framework, and look elsewhere for the rest of the story.
Although the history of China, Japan, India, the Americas, and a few other parts of the world are important, it's harder for my euro-centric brain to keep the names straight, so my knowledge of those areas is still weaker. Not that it's easy with Europe: Just because "Charles" fits better into my memory than "Suryawarman," that doesn't mean keeping all those Germanic kingdoms straight isn't mind-boggling. I can't even manage the Wars of the Roses yet.
The sections on European history were the most interesting to me for a different reason: Having genealogy as a hobby means that many of the names are familiar. Recognizing Henry the Fowler as my 34th great-grandfather, for example, lends an unusually piquant flavor to the story.
I know I'd get in trouble for this. :) Knowing that I'd have no time for blogging for a while, I wrote up several posts in advance, and all I have to do is change it from "draft" to "published" and modify the date. I'm working on the more interesting post....
Aargh. Caught by my own spam filter. As you can see, I did reply in a timely manner...but then shut down the computer before checking to see if it was posted. :(