What good books can I find about The Middle Ages?I need books about the history, culture, religion, politics... of the Middle Ages. What books do you recommend?
There are a couple of books that I found fascinating, and though they are purely fictional, they do tend to follow some historical events and give a human side (again fictional) to some of the politics and intrigues within political and religious realms of the time.
One of the favorites was "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett, about the interaction between priests and nobles and commoners in a town in England. It gives you a good idea of how politics of the time may have been conducted as well as bringing to light the engineering difficulties and achievements of the time that were generally focused on building huge cathedrals, many of which are still standing in England and in Europe. Really fascinating stuff.
There are many good books that deal with life in the Middle Ages. I think the best non fiction book that I could recommend on the history of the Middle Ages is A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman. I think the best work of fiction that could help you understand life in the Middle Ages is The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I would recommend that you do not read the original, but a good translation of the book in modern English. And finally, I would like to recommend the book Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir.
Another fictional work that you might consider is Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. While Scott is a Romantic author and did not live during the Middle Ages, the book still provides insight into not only the politics of tournaments and nobles but also into what life is like for Jews in Medieval England.