"About the Book ""The word ""medieval"" conjures images of the Dark Ages--centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors.-- Book Synopsis ""The beauty and levity that Perry and Gabriele have captured in this book are what I think will help it to be a standard text for general audiences for years to come....The Bright Ages is a rare thing--a nuanced historical work that almost anyone can enjoy reading.""--Slate ""Incandescent and ultimately intoxicating."" --The Boston Globe A lively and magisterial popular history that refutes common misperceptions of the European Middle Ages, showing the beauty and communion that flourished alongside the dark brutality--a brilliant reflection of humanity itself. The word ""medieval"" conjures images of the ""Dark Ages""--centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors. The Bright Ages takes us through ten centuries and crisscrosses Europe and the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, revisiting familiar people and events with new light cast upon them. We look with fresh eyes on the Fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the Vikings, the Crusades, and the Black Death, but also to the multi-religious experience of Iberia, the rise of Byzantium, and the genius of Hildegard and the power of queens. We begin under a blanket of golden stars constructed by an empress with Germanic, Roman, Spanish, Byzantine, and Christian bloodlines and end nearly 1,000 years later with the poet Dante--inspired by that same twinkling celestial canopy--writing an epic saga of heaven and hell that endures as a masterpiece of literature today. The Bright Ages reminds us just how permeable our manmade borders have always been and of what possible worlds the past has always made available to us. The Middle Ages may have been a world ""lit only by fire"" but it was one whose torches illuminated the magnificent rose windows of cathedrals, even as they stoked the pyres of accused heretics. The Bright Ages contains an 8-page color insert. Review Quotes ""While all of this is the sort of stuff that professional medievalists love to see, the thing I like most about Perry and Gabriele's effort is that it is fun. The Bright Ages is written in such an engaging and light manner that it is easy to race through. I found myself at the end of chapters faster than I wanted to be, completely drawn in by the narrative. You can tell how much the authors love the subject matter, and that they had a great time choosing stories to share and evidence to consider."" -- Slate ""Incandescent and ultimately intoxicating, for as the chapters progress, it dawns on the reader that those who lived in this period were more conventional than cardboard figures. . . . They were, in essence, human."" -- Boston Globe ""This revisionist history of medieval Europe takes apart the myth of a savage, primitive period . . . with passion and verve, [Gabriele and Perry challenge] the reader to tackle assumptions, bias and prejudices about the past to create a more joined-up, inclusive picture of the thousand years that followed the sack of Rome."" -- Peter Frankopan, The Guardian ""The Bright Ages is a necessary book. It does the hard work of introducing audiences to a world that we too often overlook for expressly political reasons. It is also a joyful work. The medieval period, Perry and Gabriele argue, has good news for us. The world can be beautiful without centralized and brutal imperial power."" -- Los Angeles Review of Books ""....a magic carpet ride around all manner of medieval places and moments....Perry and Gabriele are particularly keen to wrestle the Middle Ages from the clutches of white supremacists and other dangerous forces that yearn for a full return to a simplified version of the period. And so the authors present the doings of clever and durable women, too often overlooked among the churning dynasties of the early Middle Ages."" -- Irish Examiner ""The Bright Ages shines a light on an age too often obscured by myth, legend, and fairy tales. Traveling easily through a thousand years of history, The Bright Ages reminds us society never collapsed when the Roman Empire fell, nor did the modern world wake civilization from a thousand-year hibernation. Gabriele and Perry show the medieval world was neither a romantic wonderland nor a deplorable dungeon, but instead a real world full of real people with hopes, dreams, and fears making the most of their time on"