This excellent synthesis of contemporary literature explores the activities of women at all social levels in France, England, the Low Countries, and Germany between 1100 and 1500: queens and noble ladies; nuns, recluses, and mystics; businesswomen and women on the land; nurses; prostitutes and women involved in various kinds of crime, including witchcraft. Emphasis is on the actual texture of their lives. While medieval theologians and lawyers stressed women's legal and intellectual inferiority and necessary subjection, the reality was quite different. Among the hundreds of women discussed, Labarge gives special and deserved attention to the mystic/writer Hildegard of Bingen and the influential writer Christine de Pizan. The general reader and advanced student will value this graciously written, thoughtful, and imaginatively illustrated work. Bennett D. Hill, St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, D.C.