This is not a story of Lords and Ladies, Tournaments and Gaiety, for the Middle Ages according to Dr. Kirshner were not as gay as we unthinkingly draw them to be. It is not a pretty picture, but a faithful one, for Dr. Kirshner writes with authority and conviction -- and even a rather terrifying note of prophecy. Gradually in our own time we are seeing persecution and force stalk through supposedly civilized countries. Are we blindly allowing ourselves to be led back to the Middle Ages, are we fiddling while Rome and Berlin burn the bridges of our freedom and our future? Health, sanitation, marriage, religious superstition, crime and torture are some of the chapters but while the period may not be gay there isn't a dull page in the book.