Discovering a good magazine is both a joy and a curse for me: alongside the joy of new and regular reading material I feel a terrible urge to obsessively hunt down the back issues. It's therefore a pleasure to review the first few issues of the brand new Medieval History Magazine, rather than being presented with issue 238!
Of course, dates and eras are all well and good, but what are the articles actually on? The cynical heart will sink at Issue 1's cover: Jousting and Vikings! Hmm, never seen that before... Persevere though, and you'll find a terrifically broad subject matter written for different age groups. Alongside battles – which are well illustrated with examples of combatants and maps showing troop movement – and weapons, there is architecture (a study of Château-Gaillard mixing photographs with sensible computer reconstructions), archaeology (blended with the history for better accuracy), social history (the early acceptance of Jews in Spain), place names, biography, politics culture and even cooking.
As I hope this conveys, the magazine is open to just about any sort of content. Each writer has pitched their work at different levels, so everyone but the hardcore medievalist will find something to interest them textually. Graphically, Medieval History Magazine will satisfy everyone: numerous bright, glossy colour pictures are found throughout, mixing photographs of re-enactors and buildings with clearly reproduced paintings and manuscripts, as well as maps and computer generated images. However, care has been taken to preserve the text and allow easy reading. One innovation (well, your reviewer hasn't seen it before) is a standard timeline produced near the front of each issue, with that month's features clearly marked in the relevant eras.
In short, I am very impressed with Medieval History Magazine and have no hesitation in rewarding it five stars. It provides popular and literate access to an era increasingly ignored in schools and, while this isn't a journal of cutting edge research, even the driest academic can't fail to appreciate the passion and imagery conveyed through the magazine. This magazine deserves your support at this early stage in its life.