Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Ax and the Oath: Ordinary Life in the Middle Ages by Robert Fossier, 384 pages
I really enjoy historical non-fiction books, so this one about everyday people in medieval France caught my eye. I always try to give a book 50-100 pages but this was pretty boring and dry from page 1. I found myself rereading sentences trying to figure out what they meant and losing my place many times. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but this book made me feel stupid. I reached a point where I refused to stop reading this book just so the book wouldn't win and this book took over six weeks for me to read. The author has a tendency to use foreign quotes and then only translate half of them (because doesn't every speak French and Latin?) and to never use an easy word when there is a fifteen-syllable word that would work instead. Putting your obscure words in italics doesn't not make them easier to translate! I wholeheartedly say, don't pick this book up unless you're working on your thesis in Medieval French peasantry, and even then you might want to choose something else.