Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Challenge Update: Women in Late Medieval and Reformation Europe 1200 - 1150

This is another book for my One, Two, Theme Challenge.  Its nonfiction book for my Medieval Category.  I really seem to be attacking this category in a kind of strange jumpy fashion, but it appears to be working.
Women in Late Medieval and Reformation Europe 1200 - 1550 (WLMRE) by Helen Jewell is a companion book to Women in Dark Age and Early Medieval Europe.  Like its the first book, WLMRE is very well written and really pulls you in.  I may be temped to read it even if I didn't really have a reason too.  In fact, I quite enjoyed the chapters I didn't have to read for what I wanted to know.  The book imparts a lot of information, while not getting to dense or overly stodgy and historical sounding.  The argument also doesn't get bogged down in blaming men for the fact that in most cultures at most times its really hard being a women.   I give Helen Jewell a lot of credit for writing about power inequalities and patriarchy without shouting "Help, Help, I'm being repressed!*"  Helen Jewell really exemplifies the new trend in history writing.  She is very readable and doesn't try to get to grandiose.  The book is also a very nice size to keep the interest of non-historians.

I did have one problem with the book.  When she sites sources she does not give a lot of context for the quotes and the situation that produced them.  As a Anthropologist this was extremely frustrating for me.  However, I do realize this would have made this a much longer and more bulky book.  Also, this may only be possible if talking about very specific case studies and it is important to have works saying something about more than specific towns etc.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for history lovers or people who want to know more about the late medieval period and female history.

* Bonus points if you know what this is from before you watch the video.  If you've not see it, you must . . . because I said so . . . and no I'm not repressing you. "Come see the violence inherent in the system!"

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