Review

An editorial review of a published work such as a book, film, or musical album

Galen: Prince of Medicine book reviewed

The online site for History Today recently featured a book review by Andrew Robinson for The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire by Susan P. Mattern.

The jewels of the saints

After the Reformation, many Catholics were depressed about the loss of relics of their saints. In the 16th century thousands of skeletons were taken from the catacombs in Rome, bedecked with jewels, and distributed throughout Europe. A slideshow of jeweled saints, photographed by art historian Paul Koudounaris, is online.

Tracking the sea beasties

Modern maps rarely include wondrous sea monsters in their depictions of bodies of water. Author Chet Van Duzer laments this fact in his new book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. Tanya Lewis of LiveScience has a review.

Author "in love" with Richard III?

For over seven years, screenwriter Philippa Langley worked to prove that King Richard III, killed at nearby Bosworth Field in 1485, was buried beneath a car park in Leicester, England. In 2012, the discovery of the remains was captured on video by Channel 4, the defining event in Langley's new book Richard III: The King in the Car Park. (video)

New book relocates Battle of Bosworth

For centuries, everyone knew that the Battle of Bosworth, which led to the death of Richard III and the ascendence of the Tudors, took place on Ambion Hill, but new research by Glenn Foard and Anne Curry places the site two miles away by a marsh called Fen Hole.

Medicine: From Galen to Saturday Night Live

In an article for the website Inside Higher Ed, Scott McLemee looks at the contributions of Roman physician Galen, upon whose work most medieval medicine was based. The writer begins his story with a look at Steve Martin's portrayal of medieval doctor Theodoric of York on Saturday Night Live. (video)

Tolkien and Arthur

In the early 1930s J. R. R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit, began what was to have been an epic, narrative poem, The Fall of Arthur, only to abandon the work in 1937. Now the incomplete poem has been published, edited by Tolkien's son Christopher.

New Battle of Hastings book neglects sources, says History Today reviewer

Marc Morris, author of The Norman Conquest, finds some of the facts in a new history of the subject by John Grehan and Martin Mace "uncomfortable." The Battle of Hastings 1066: The Uncomfortable Truth places the site of the famous battle at a different location, Caldbec Hill. His review is on the History Today website.

Swear like a Roman

Facility in swearing is either an admirable or a deplorable ability, but all can agree that it is a trait with a long history. In her new book, Holy Sh*t! A Brief History of Swearing, Melissa Mohr outlines the history of the practice with emphasis on Roman times. Olga Khazan of the Atlantic has a review. PG-13.

The mind of the medieval reader

Who knows what people in the 14th century reador thought? MIT professor Arthur Bahr thinks he does.

Anne Boleyn redux

In her new book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn, author Susan Bordo aims to "strip away all the 'sedimented mythology turned into history by decades of repetition' and to restore a restless, learned, freethinking and ambitious but nondemonic woman to the throne of the public imagination." Jennifer Schuessler of the New York Times has a review.

The science of discovery

Historians have long been fascinated by the creation of maps during the Age of Exploration. Of special interest are maps such as Waldseemüller and Ringmann's first map mentioning "America." The New York Times Science page looks at A Renaissance Globemaker’s Toolbox, a new book on the subject by John W. Hessler.

New book reveals Scotland's lost gardens

English spies in the employ of Henry VIII would never believe that their maps could lead to the re-discovery of forgotten and abandoned gardens in Scotland. Their maps, along with aerial photography, historic documents, and even poetry, were used by Marilyn Brown for her book Scotland's Lost Gardens.

The memorable Elizabethans

In a recent review for the New York Times, James Shapiro looks at The Elizabethans by A. N. Wilson, which chronicles the lives of a number of eminent men and women of late Tudor times "who made the age so memorable, including the most remarkable of them all, Queen Elizabeth."

"Medieval Play" challenges fortitude of the audience

“We have a long way to go before this is over, so don’t get too excited,” says St. Catherine of Siena at the beginning of the second act of Kenneth Lonergan’s Medieval Play at the Signature Center in New York. Ben Brantley of the New York Times has a review.

Ulrich von Liechtenstein: He will rock you!

Fans of the movie A Knight's Tale might be surprised to learn that Ulrich von Liechtenstein was a real person who, in fact, wrote an autobiography. Service of Ladies: an autobiography was first published in 2004 and is available from Boydell & Brewer Press.

1000 years of London's records in new book

A new book by David Pearson looks at 1000 years of records for the city of London. London 1000 Years: Treasures from the Collections of the City of London is reviewed by Paul Lay on the History Today website.

The Tudor court from Cromwell's point of view

Henry VIII and his succession of wives continue to capture the imaginations of historians and readers of history. Now, a new novel, Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel, follows the life, trial and death of Anne Boleyn and the involvement of Thomas Cromwell. Peter Green of The Book blog has a review.

The Queen's Servants: a review

On the blog KimikoSews, the author offers a detailed review of the book The Queen's Servants by Caroline Johnson which focusses on clothing of the serving class in Tudor England.

"Crisis in the Byzantine Empire" may have brought about the First Crusade

Everyone knows that the First Crusade began with a call from Pope Urban II to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. That is, everyone but British historian Peter Frankopan, whose new book, The First Crusade: the Call from the East, offers a different explanation.

Res Obscura offers review of Rensaissance clothing book

The blog Res Obscura offers a review of the book Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe by Ulinka Rublack, which chronicles the importance of clothing to the merchant class during the Renaissance.

The "layered narratives" of London and its buildings

Leo Hollis sees the city of London as a “series of layered narratives that need to be explored.” This is what he does in his book The Stones of London: A History in Twelve Buildings. Philip Womack of The Telegraph has a review.

Shakespeare: The most influential person who ever lived

Stephen Marche believes William Shakespeare is the most influential man in history, showing up in the most obvious - and unexpected - places.

Pennsic Independent seeks works for review

Ursula the Widow, Reviews Editor for the Pennsic Independent, is seeking SCA-related works of art and literature for review in the Pennsic paper.

Diana Gabaldon reviews "Elizabeth I"

Author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon, recently reviewed Elizabeth I by Margaret George. The review was published in the Washington Post.

What women's brooches tell us about Anglo-Saxon England

On the blog, A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe, Jonathan Jarrett offers a review of a paper by Jane Kershaw entitled New Insights on the Viking Settlement of England: the Small Finds Evidence, presented to the Institute of Historical Research Earlier Middle Ages seminar on 9 February, 2011.

Knights Templar in London subject of new book

The 13th century Temple in London, the headquarters of the Knights Templar in the city, is a round church, but it has also served as a bank and document storage facility. Christopher Howse of the Telegraph looks at a new book on the Templars, The Temple Church in London.

Chaucer entertains at Utah dinner theater

The knight, the pardoner, the miller and the wife of Bath all made appearances recently when ren faire enthusiast Phil Tomassian presented the Canterbury Tales as dinner theater at his Murray Theater, Utah Dinner Show. Austen Diamond of the Salt Lake City Weekly has the review.

Review of the new Known World Handbook

Mistress Emma de Fetherstan, of the Kingdom of Ansteorra, offers a review of the new edition of the Known World Handbook, available through the SCA Stock Clerk.

Book examines SCA's medieval fantasy as a performing art

Michael A. Cramer's new book, Medieval Fantasy as Performance: The Society for Creative Anachronism and the Current Middle Ages, considers the organization as an improvisational art form that presents the Middle Ages in a pleasing and entertaining, if not always accurate, way.