The City

The City

by Kathryn Hinds

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Although only about 10 percent of the people lived in cities during the Renaissance, urban areas were the centers of activity for religion, trade, government and the arts. This book describes the cities, their governments, and the urban landscapes as well as the lifestyles. Rich and poor often lived side by side in the city. Craftsmen, who often worked out of their homes, generally belonged to guilds that not only regulated craftsmen, but also dabbled in politics. Life for children was hard then. More than half of the children in Europe did not live to adulthood. And those who did often had to go to work at an early age. First-hand views of Renaissance city life in this book come from several sources, including Shakespeare. Among other sources, a 16th century visitor describes Paris, a 17th century man extols in poetry the joys of bathing, and German artist Albrecht Durer gives an eyewitness account of a parade in a chapter about fairs and festivals. The final chapter addressing the struggle for urban survival details the problems facing city dwellers and includes a list of woes that plagued Antwerp from 1441 through 1585. Most of the illustrations are taken from Renaissance art. One striking picture is of a majolica plate from 1510 that shows a man painting a majolica plate while its buyers look on. This book in the impressive "Life in the Renaissance" series includes glossary, books for further reading, online resources, a bibliography and an index. 2004, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, Ages 10 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
The one quality that sets this series ("Life in Ancient Egypt") apart from the overabundance of books about ancient Egypt is the use of quotations from people who actually lived at the time. Sources for these quotations are included in the back material, and they are illuminating and sometimes humorous. The mayor of Thebes once wrote to a farmer who was slow in paying his taxes, "Look out! You should not be lazy; for I am well aware that you are lackadaisical and like eating in bed." Each volume of this series covers a separate aspect of life in ancient Egypt, specifically the New Kingdom from 1550 to 1050 B.C.E.—religion, the city, the countryside, and the Pharaoh's court. Some information is repeated in each volume. This book about the city goes into considerable detail about urban living, from provisions for sanitation (or lack thereof), to problems with bad teeth caused by all the blowing sand. The books are handsomely illustrated with full-color tomb and temple paintings, with good captions that make sense of images that are often hard to comprehend. Colorfully decorated pages highlight stories or special aspects of life in the city—fortress towns, typical menus, slave labor. There is considerable detail on each topic, so the books would be useful for research papers. There is a good index, maps, glossary, and additional resources included in each book. For libraries or schools without a good series on ancient Egypt, this would be an excellent choice.
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
From the 8th through the 13th centuries Dar al-Islam—the Abode of Islam—stretched from the Middle East to the borders of Spain and India. This title from the "Life in the Medieval Muslim World" series looks at the lives of the merchants, craftspeople, students, scholars, housewives and workers who lived in the cities in that time and place. Learn about the cities of the Middle East (Mecca, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo) and cities built on the Iberian peninsula of Europe by the Muslim conquerors. Visit the gathering places—the mosque or the market—and take a peek inside a private home to get a glimpse of family life. How did men (expected to provide for their wives, children and even extended family) earn a living? How were women treated? Were their contributions to family valued and respected? How were children raised? And what were the problems? Cities had jobless and homeless people, thieves and beggars, insects, smells, noises and crowds. But people in many of those cities made "incredible and lasting contributions in art, architecture, literature, mathematics, science, philosophy and religious thought." Full-page sidebars provide additional information: a landlord's worries or a young love's yearning for an unattainable beloved. The book begins with a brief discussion about the medieval Muslim world and a note on dates and names. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, sites for online information, a bibliography, sources for quotations and an index are included. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, reproductions of illustrations from medieval manuscripts as well as paintings and drawings. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
Children's Literature - Meredith Ackroyd
The city of the ancient Romans comes to life in this detailed nonfiction text about the culture of the Roman empire. Using a variety of cultural documents and artifacts, including poetry, art, architecture, satiric novels, and letters, Hinds reconstructs a thorough cultural account of life in its many forms and for the many peoples of the Roman empire. The book presents a wide-ranging view of the social structure of life in the Roman city, from life in the city of Rome to life in distant cities, from life in public places to life in private spaces, from the lives of business owners to the lives of slaves, and from life in times of leisure to life in times of disaster. A large portion of the book is devoted to the distinct differences in the lives of men, women, and children. By the end of the book, the young reader will have a clear view not just of the cultural microcosm of the Roman city, but also of the way in which the Roman empire was structured along lines of gender, age, class, and power. Boxed text highlights more detailed discussions of issues presented in the main text of the book (including a recipe for a Roman feast), artwork and quotations are well documented, and the book contains a glossary, recommendations for further reading and online exploration, a bibliography, and index. Part of the "Life in the Roman Empire" series.
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
"Imagine you are coming to visit an English city during Elizabeth's time." It is often difficult to imagine the backdrop of history. While we learn about people and events, the sights and sounds of the world behind them escapes us, as it is so different from the world we live in today. This book seeks to address this problem by describing life in the City, primarily London, during the reign of Elizabeth the First. The use of the second person and the inclusion of details from all the senses form a vivid picture of life at the time and put the reader in the text. Frequent references to things children would be familiar with, like Shakespeare, nursery rhymes, and manners, put the differences in an understandable context. Aspects of life that are significantly different from life today, like cities needing to receive a royal charter in order to elect a Lord Mayor and to have representation in parliament, are explained clearly and simply. The use of primary sources adds to the tone of the text and gives it credibility. While some difficulties are discussed throughout, the focus on the negative aspects of city life is saved for the final chapter. The book, however, ends with a description of the charity of the time, leaving the reader with a feeling of hope and purpose. The "Life in Elizabethan England" series would be a useful addition to any classroom covering the literature or history of this time period. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-These books are handsomely designed, beautifully illustrated with many period paintings, and written in a clear and lively manner. Church focuses on the religious conflicts of the Renaissance and Reformation and describes what life was like for religious and laypeople, both Catholic and Protestant. A useful section explains the rise of humanism and reform. The role of women in religious life during the Renaissance is particularly interesting. City discusses the economic and social life of cities in both northern and southern Europe. Countryside describes the role of peasants and landowners. Interesting sidebars appear in all three titles. For example, Church provides a recipe for hot-cross buns, City includes a description of bathing and bathhouses, and Countryside offers a simple menu that a French peasant might have eaten. Each volume cites sources of quotations and paintings and has a useful glossary, extensive bibliography, and sources for online information. With many fascinating details that bring the period to life, these well-organized books provide the sort of information required in school reports and should be first purchases for libraries needing material on the Renaissance.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Life in Elizabethan England Series
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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