Reviews of The Bright Ages

Shelf Awareness:

“In The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, Virginia Tech medieval studies professor Matthew Gabriele and historian and journalist David M. Perry offer a spirited rebuttal to what they call the “myth of the Dark Ages,” a “centuries-old understanding of the medieval world that sees it cast in shadow, only hazily understood, fixed and unchanging, but ultimately the opposite of what we want our modern world to be.” Instead, in this fast-moving popular history that roughly spans the time from the middle of the fifth century to the Black Death that began in the 1340s, they succeed in painting what they propose as a “much more complicated, more interesting picture of the period,” one that rescues this epoch from both those who misunderstand it and, perhaps more dangerously, others who misrepresent it.”


The Bright Ages offers a refreshingly critical look at an era burdened with misconceptions and it’s
sure to become a new standard for those seeking a comprehensive and inclusive review of
medieval times.


An appealing account of a millennium packed with culture, beauty, science, learning, and the rise and fall of empires.  A fine single-volume overview of an age that was definitely not dark.

Publisher’s Weekly:

The authors … add nuance and complexity to popular conceptions of the Dark Ages and make clear that beauty and achievement existed among the horrors. This is a worthy introduction to an oft-misunderstood period in world history.