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Life in Medieval Europe (Paperback)

Fact and Fiction

P&S History Medieval

By Danièle Cybulskie
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 138
ISBN: 9781526733450
Published: 30th September 2019

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Have you ever found yourself watching a show or reading a novel and wondering what life was really like in the Middle Ages? What did people actually eat? Were they really filthy? And did they ever get to marry for love?

In Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fiction, you’ll find fast and fun answer to all your secret questions, from eating and drinking to sex and love. Find out whether people bathed, what they did when they got sick, and what actually happened to people accused of crimes. Learn about medieval table manners, tournaments, and toothpaste, and find out if people really did poop in the moat.

All in all, this is an excellent book to put to bed many of the myths surrounding medieval existence that persist in the popular imagination. Easy to read and well worth the time to read it. I highly recommend this book if you want to get a mostly unbiased view of medieval life.

Read the full review here

Battles and Book Reviews

The full title of Daniele Cybulskie's book is Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fiction which gives you an idea about the approach the author takes - there's a whole lot of myth-busting going on! Although the author is a former college professor and a specialist in medieval literature she's produced a very readable book that you can dip into and out of, but will still get you thinking about what life was really like in the Middle Ages.

Read the full review here

Lost Cousins

I went into the reading of this book expecting it to be little dry or hard to read, and what a surprise I was in for. Life in Medieval Europe wasn’t dull and nether was this book at all, credit to the author Daniele Cybulskie as the writing and the information revealed is very interesting, intriguing and compelling to read. The book is split into various subjects, with each chapter dealing with a topic such as Health, Death, Faith, Love and Food. Then each chapter/subject is broken down into various questions, which the author will then answer such as were punishments brutal, how did the Knights train, did they often get to use their skills and so on and so on. The answers weren’t just short and blunt or long-winded and boring. The answer the reader gets is a well informed and to the point answer explained very clearly.

Having read this book that was thoroughly enjoyed it answered quite a few questions but I am looking forward to more of this authors’ works because although I was satisfied it left me wanting to learn more about Medieval Europe. There is an excellent bibliography and notes section at the back of the book which I endeavour to plough through and pick out the best. Overall this is a modern and clear book on an old and often dusty subject, I would very much recommend this book to any reader but especially to an avid reader or student of the subject. On top of that another good author I am interested in finding more of their work to read up on.

UK Historian

Cybulskie is a good writer, with an easy reading manner that makes the subject easy to understand and the pages fly by. It is divided into seven chapters with the chapters further divided into questions that cover specific areas. These questions are listed in the contents so if there’s something you need the answer to, you can just look for the correct chapter, then question and find the page. Very simple.

There’s a decent bibliography, notes and index so you can take your reading further if there’s a particular area of interest that takes your fancy when you’ve read the book.

Very nice introduction to the period. Highly recommended, possibly even as a text book.

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Rosie Writes

To say that this book was fun to read would be an understatement. Cybulskie’s knowledge radiates in every page of this short book. I honestly did not want to stop reading this book, I wanted to learn more. It was educational and entertaining all at the same time. Simply a wonderful resource for novice medievalists and writers of historical fiction and nonfiction alike. If you want to learn the truth about different aspects of medieval life, I highly suggest you include, “Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fiction” by Daniele Cybulskie, to your book collection.

Read the full review here

Adventures of a Tudor Nerd

It was well researched and the author clearly knows her topic and it shone through in the book and I loved that it had a more informal style. I love a good reference guide and this was excellent and one that will be kept on my bookcase for years to come!

It is 5 stars from me for this one, I really enjoyed it and it is a recommended read for me for those interested in medieval history – very highly recommended!

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Donna's Book Blog

Author Daniele Cybulskie is a former college professor and expert in all things medieval, but more than that, she has an accessible, conversational style in writing about this topic. Not many have the ability to make history as fun and interesting as Ms. Cybulskie does. For instance, in the food section there is this little gem: “If a mouse falls into a liquid, it shall be removed and sprinkled with holy water” and the food could then be served. She covers all aspects of life (the section on underwear is pretty interesting, including facts about communal underwear), and it is nicely organized, making the needed information easy to find and access. This is a great read. Don’t miss it.

See the review here

Rosi Hollinbeck, San Francisco Book Review, January 2020

Daniele's book on Medieval life in Europe is something of an eye opener. We all think we know something from books and TV programmes like Blackadder, and the Shakespeare history plays, but the reality is something different, and Daniele's brilliant book brings it all to life. If only this book had existed sixty years ago when I was doing O Level History! Brilliant.

Books Monthly

A fun and informative read from cover to cover, "Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fiction" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Medieval History collections.

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Midwest Book Review

Well organized and accessibly written, with a thorough index, making it a good

starting point for students of history who want to examine quotidian life.

Booklist

This book is perfect if you want to have a list of quick but well-researched facts about the Middle Ages. Have you ever wondered how often medieval people bathed? Or what courtship looked like? This book answers many questions without being too heavy. It's a quick fact-sheet based on the author's experience as professor and writer. A joy to read. Highly recommended.

See the full review here

GoodReads, ConstantReader

Danièle Cybulskie manages to deny many of the false myths about the Middle Ages in 138 pages and to provide many other news that many do not know. For those who want to investigate more on some topics there is a substantial bibliography from which to draw and more notes for each chapter. The Middle Ages after reading this short but interesting book will seem much more interesting than you ever thought!

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

What I found useful was the little, easy snippets to remember – great little facts for using if you are a living history or re-enactor. There really is a lot of useful bits of information. Such as how they treated wounds. Did they use Soap? And the most important question for me – weren’t medieval people always fighting? (It feels like it). The Nasty and Brutish chapter a particular favourite.

As well as that, there were more detailed answers, some great images and explanations.

Anyone studying any Medieval HEMA treatise should pick up this book as it will help put some of the things we do into a wider context. Which I feel is important if you want to try and recreate the art as it was.

This book will stay on my desk and will be a well thumbed book for sure.

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Medieval Sword School, Jason Hulott

About Danièle Cybulskie

Danièle Cybulskie has been researching and writing about the Middle Ages for over a decade. She is the author of The Five-Minute Medievalist and is a featured writer at Medievalists.net. A former college professor and specialist in medieval literature and Renaissance drama, her work has been published across international magazines, spanning topics from The Hundred Years’ War to Roman togas. Her mission is to make history fun, entertaining, and engaging, as well as to draw attention to our shared human nature across the centuries.

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