Jordan, a Princeton professor and a much-lauded medievalist, knows a good coincidence when he sees one. He has set about comparing and contrasting the tenures of the two abbots (which both lasted for a quarter of a century) and, along the way, he manages to provide some fascinating insights into the turbulent thirteenth-century relationship between France and England. This is a spectacularly accomplished book: learned, witty and very important. The shock is that no one has undertaken such a study before...I've said it once, and I'm told that repetition is a useful rhetorical device, so here we go again: this book is superb.
-Jonathan Wright, The Tablet
[T]his is a work that could only be written by a scholar who has spent a career examining the intricacies of medieval government in the often turbulent years of the thirteenth century. As such, the reader is well served by Professor Jordan's excellent book.
-Leonie Hicks, Church History
In this tidy comparative study of two of the most important ecclesiastical institutions of the Middle Ages, Jordan uses the monasteries and the men chosen to govern them in 1258 as an entry into relations between 13th-century England and France.
William Chester Jordan's...meticulous research, lively mind, and unburdened prose...A Tale of Two Monasteries is a closely researched and energetic cameo.
Catholic Historical Review
Jordan's comparative approach and expert insights make this book an important study for scholars in the field. Its lucid style, engaging narrative, compact synthesis, and clear explanations, however, open up the political and ecclesiastical world of the thirteenth century to a wider audience and it is likely to become a favourite textbook and a model for historical writing.
-Marc B. Cels,
Canadian Journal of History
Jordan enlists these two monasteries, their abbots, and especially their documents to trace a new and privileged path through the political history of later thirteenth-century England and France. Jordan has given us another of his own classics, a refreshing account of a well-known era.
-David C. Mengel,
Journal of World History