... magnificent ... a spell of seven finely crafted chapters ... a prodigiously detailed ode to the medieval (and, it turns out, very modern) impulse 'to tinker, to redesign, to incrementally improve or upgrade technology.' By the end of Mr. Falk’s book, even previously indifferent readers will, I promise, never want to use 'medieval' as a slur word again ... Medieval instruments are feats of technological ingenuity, and the reader is grateful when Mr. Falk emerges from the thicket of technical details to administer an encouraging pat on the shoulder ... it occurred to me that Mr. Falk’s The Light Ages is written in similar fashion, though as a friendly invitation, not as a decree—as if John Westwyk and Seb Falk, separated in time but not in spirit, were joining hands while guiding us along; or as if The Light Ages were Mr. Falk’s own clever astrolabe, seeking to make that shimmering light in the distance look, as well it should, wonderfully close and luminously real.
... brilliant ... a riveting though occasionally knotty 300 pages ... I agree with Falk. Dear, naive Steven Pinker, apostle of progress and disrespecter of the past, is wrong. We need to give more respect to the giants of the Middle Ages on whose shoulders we stand.
Falk doesn’t only paint the Middle Ages as a time of intellectual sophistication; he allows room for some of its more outlandish ideas as well ... As Falk says, 'studying medieval scholars’ errors, as well as their magnificent achievements, helps us to appreciate human endeavour in all its fascinating complexity'.