Our county library system had a few copies of this book and I recently received my hold. It's been well worth the wait.
Ms. Pernoud was the national archivist in France during the mid to late 20th century and as a historian focused on medieval times. This book dispels some of the nastier rumors of the thousand year period commonly called the Middle Ages, and provides examples of the great works of literature, architecture, and law during the time. She also shows how the Enlightenment, due to a slavish devotion to recreating the classical era, actually removed some of the freedoms people had enjoyed.
A few caveats - it's a translation from the original French, so there are some awkward phrasings. It's also, despite the cutesy title, a very academic book. If you are interested in a serious history read, it's a good resource.
http://www.amazon.com/Those-Terrible-Mi ... iddle+ages