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5 obres 442 Membres 13 Ressenyes

Obres de Matthew Gabriele

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I appreciate that this book explicitly calls out bigots and fascists who like to hold up medieval Europe as some white supremacist ideal. Overall an engaging and interesting history.
 
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mutantpudding | Hi ha 12 ressenyes més | Mar 10, 2024 |
Lots of things happened in the thousand years after the Roman empire fell. Unfortunately, for the lay reader, many of those events remain confusing. In The Bright Ages, Matthew Gabriele and David Perry provide a new general history of this period in European history. There book does not attempt to provide an exhaustive history of the period. Instead, they choose a few key events and provide a good, readable description of those events. Doing so, their book is essentially a collection of selected highlights of Medieval European history.

Their approach is valuable since it allows readers to maintain a view of the entire period without losing themselves in tedious details of each period. The highlights they chose are very interesting and they placed an emphasis on the role of women during this period. Even better, they talk a lot about the influence of Islam and Arab scholars as well as the Jewish community of the time. They also provide numerous examples of areas where tolerance was shown for people of other faiths and other races. Particularly good, is their discussion of the role of travel and trade during this period which helped spread ideas. Finally, in their conclusion they discuss how Medieval history is currently being misinterpreted by right-wingers.

Their attempt to rebrand the Dark Ages as the Bright Ages was unconvincing. In particular, as they were describing the massacre of the people of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, I found the references to the Bright Ages to be plain annoying.

The weakness in their highlight approach is that the events are covered in such a way that the reader is left with the impression that a lot has been left out. This is sort of the way someone still feels empty after eating a McDonalds hamburger. The authors made a good trade-off between readability and providing more details. The book is well worth reading.
… (més)
1 vota
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M_Clark | Hi ha 12 ressenyes més | Jan 14, 2024 |
Did not finish. I'm just not interested in an argument about whether a time period was good or bad for its humans that doesn't talk about how the common people actually lived.
 
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mmparker | Hi ha 12 ressenyes més | Oct 24, 2023 |
This book is frustrating on a number of counts.

Some of that is structural. The book begins by making the claim that the Roman empire never really fell, and then proceeds to argue this, somewhat convincingly, for several chapters. And then… it just changes topics
The book wants to center women and non-white people, but seems to largely discuss things at a very high level not concerning people at all… or discusses white men (sometimes, lamenting this inline.) This, I suspect, is because the authors set a too-high bar: because most societies have been patriarchal and most of Europe, despite traders, migrants, invaders, etc. was, in fact, full of what would come to be called white people.
The authors want to show that the Dark Ages were actually the Bright Ages… but then proceed to discuss the slow fragmentation of what was the Roman Empire (even broadly construed) and how even the people alive at the various times were aware that has lost so much (and long after they had stopped thinking of themselves as Roman.)
And then we dash across the Middle East, Central Asia, touch on China…

Some of my frustration comes from the premise, the conceit even, of the book: here is a new vision, a bold retelling… Yeah, brah, bold revisionism is a whole damn genre at this point. Trade and migration tied the world together from ancient times until now; women played often ignored roles but were nonetheless integral; brown- and black-skinned peoples moved into and out of Europe, in varying degrees, for varying lengths of time, with numerous impacts… forever. The Black Death banged around for a while, it wasn’t a couple of years or even a decade, and it traversed Eurasia from east to west, sparing no one. Greek classics re-entered Europe through Arabic translations.
Cities existed during the Dark Ages (and some even grew.)
I mean… yeah, dude. No sh@t. Maybe that means I’m educated, or maybe it means some other people are just massively uneducated, but none of this is new. I’d argue that this is all… very… mainstream.

And, yes, it all bears repeating, because “Europe in the Dark Ages” = “Pallid Wasteland” casts a long shadow. As do assumptions that up until circa 1500 everyone (i.e. all races) were in their own hermetically sealed regions.
But this ain’t new.

And I also suspect that marchers protesting The Great Replacement in Virginia in 2016 -who seem like the primary impetus and target of this book- are not going to read this, and would be unconvinced if they did.

All that said, the book was a fairly quick, if uneven, read. The authors' love of the subject come through, and the anecdotes were interesting (and, yes, even ‘new’ to me.) 3-ish stars, with some hesitation at not giving it 4.
… (més)
1 vota
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dcunning11235 | Hi ha 12 ressenyes més | Aug 12, 2023 |

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Estadístiques

Obres
5
Membres
442
Popularitat
#55,392
Valoració
3.8
Ressenyes
13
ISBN
17
Llengües
1

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