Hugh Lawrence's book ranges right across Europe and the Middle East as well as reconstructing the internal life, experience and aims of the medieval cloister, he also explores the many-sided relationships between the monasteries and the secular world from which they drew recruits. This Third Edition contains new thoughts and perspectives throughout.
This is a good, basic introduction to the history of monasticism, suitable for undergraduates and interested readers new to the subject or as a general reference for medievalists. Following chapters on the beginning of monasticism with the desert fathers, St. Benedict and his Rule, Lawrence (emeritus, history, U. of London, England) provides a description and history for orders created by the 13th century, and includes separate chapters on nuns and military orders. New to this edition is extended treatment of both the impact of the friars of the 13th century and the 12th-century controversy between the Benedictines and Cistercians. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)