The Grouchy Historian by Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger

Because seemingly every nonfiction book these days needs a title that just rolls off the tongue, the full title of this book is The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.  So as you can probably tell, there's some bias in play here.  And that's perfectly fine; sometimes understanding where the bias … Continue reading The Grouchy Historian by Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors by Dan Jones

This review will probably come as a surprise to absolutely no one.  As a medievalist and someone with a particular interest in knights and chivalry, the Knights Templar feature prominently in my studies.  I have also been impressed by Dan Jones' previous works The Plantagenets and The Wars of the Roses, the latter of which managed … Continue reading The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors by Dan Jones

The Story of Civilization, Vol. IV: The Age of Faith by Will Durant

Picking up where the previous volume left off, Durant dedicates this volume to the Medieval world as focused through the lens of the Christian, Islamic, and Judaic worlds from 325-1300, or as he puts it, from Constantine to Dante. As with the previous volumes, this one is broken into five parts.  Part 1 deals with … Continue reading The Story of Civilization, Vol. IV: The Age of Faith by Will Durant

The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev

1499.  Clad in battle armor over her noble finery, a woman looks down from the ramparts of the fortress at Forli.  Her surrender is demanded in exchange for the life of her son, a prisoner of the enemy army.  In an act of legendary defiance, she hikes up her skirts, grabs herself, and announces that … Continue reading The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev

The Portable Medieval Reader edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin

Think about the types of people who lived and chronicled throughout the whole of the Middle Ages.  Royalty, knights, clergy, artisans, merchants, scholars of all stripes.  Consider some of the names of the era: Peter Abelard, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer, William of Tyre, Roger Bacon, Anna Comnena, Pope Pius II, Thomas Becket, … Continue reading The Portable Medieval Reader edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin

The Story of Civilization, Vol. III: Caesar and Christ by Will Durant

When asked what kind of government the newly minted United States of America would have, Benjamin Franklin famously responded: "A republic, if you can keep it."  Once you know the story of Rome, you instantly know how daunting that statement would be in his mind. It is said that the two greatest problems in history … Continue reading The Story of Civilization, Vol. III: Caesar and Christ by Will Durant