The medieval ages were far more like our modern age than we often think. The only thing that came to my mind prior to reading this book was knights and castles. Hardly a dark age as often portrayed, the period was full of industrial innovation, and Jean Gimpel makes an interesting survey of some of the inventions that came out of the period, discussing the engineering and architectural feats of the age.
The book was written in the 1970s, so it’s a little dated, but it was a fast and insightful read, shedding light to a beginning learner on a period of history that generally escapes notice but for as backdrop period films and sword and sorcery fantasies. I read it for a history class during my undergrad degree, but I have kept it and occasionally reviewed it since.