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In Search of the Dark Ages

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Michael Wood

Reflecting the style of his PBS-TV In Search Of series (but without a television tie-in), Wood's carefully researched foray into early medieval Britain sifts a number of unresolved mysteries. Among them are the questions: Does archeological evidence … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Michael Wood
Publisher: Checkmark Books
1 review about In Search of the Dark Ages


  • Mar 12, 2010
What we have here is a wonderfully written primer on the particular era in history, English history for the most part, of what has become known as The Dark Ages. This work is absolutely perfect for someone like me who has had quite enough of text books in his life, yet at the same time, still has a curiosity about many things. I have no desire to become a scholar specializing in this area of history, yet like many others is fascinated with it. Lets face it...what we are today as a people, has its roots firmly implanted during the time period covered by this work which is roughly from the time the Roman Legions left going thorough the time of the Norman Conquest. I will state right now that I do not know enough of the subject to make the often times comment we see in these review that "This book is well researched." Hey, I don't know if it is well researched or not...I simply am not that familiar with the subject, ergo I am taking the author at his word. If there are errors in his text, findings and speculations, then I am sure they were honest errors and I will leave pointing those errors to others more qualified.

Wood's easy writing style allows the reader to actually learn and enjoy the learning process, without feeling they have swallowed a sleeping potion after the first couple of pages. The writing of this particular work must have been quite a task as there is a dearth of primary sources and much education guess work must be put into play. Wood's is a master at that and is the first to let you know when he enters into speculation. The nice thing about his work is that his speculations are well founded and logical. Yes, there are probably other answers to questions, other theories about this and that, but to be honest, until we can find hard evidence; a written word, then his theories are just as valid as any others I have encountered...in my limited and probably inadequate opinion.

These were difficult times; hard times and bloody times. This was a very unforgiving era in our history and this fact shines through in the author's writing. Now don't take me wrong...there is very little sensationalism in this book. Facts are given, known facts, and the author treats his subject is a lively yet dispassionate way that makes his work exciting and real, but at the same time believable, readable and informative. If you want sensationalism...go check out a Hollywood film covering this subject.

This book is extremely well illustrated with photographs, maps (although it could have used more...I love maps), genealogical charts, art objects and artifacts. These illustrations add greatly to the content of the text.

The author has the ability to put life into a rather dead and gone subject and via reading this work I was able to place many things and events into their proper context. Again, I have no desire to become an expert in this area but certainly must admit to have received much more knowledge from reading this work than many others of its ilk.

I do recommend this one highly. This, like so many others, will be received a reread in the near future...I enjoyed it that much!

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

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