Providing an overall view of the medieval period of Western history, this book maintains a balanced approach to an age that has been romanticized as well as vilified. Written with an eye toward modern readers, who may be perplexed by the hazy Middle Ages, Medieval Civilization provides illuminating details that enable the reader to enjoy a fascinating overview of this stretch of a thousand years. Rather than maintaining a dismissive attitude toward this presumed dark and dank period of human failings, the author banters about and responds to some criticisms of the medieval world by modern critics alongside his telling of the medieval story. Religious presences loom large in this book written about an age of religion and things religious in a way largely foreign to the modern world. The medieval period breathes in this tale of peasants, priests, and kings rather than being autopsied as a museum piece. Terms like scholastic, gothic, mendicant, monk, stigmata, and others are put into medieval contexts for ease of understanding, while a huge slice of Western history, usually looked at suspiciously by modern people, is presented as preparation for understanding much of the modern world.