On the way down, I read Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths, written by a French historian, and originally published in 1977.
If you go to the Amazon link and read the reviews, especially the one written by Carl Olsen, you get the gist of the book. It's quite interesting: the author's contention is that what we call the Middle Ages was, in fact, a particularly creative era in the history of the West, and that the Renaissance, in contrast, was not so much as creative as imitative and hidebound by the newly-discovered standards of (some aspects of) Classical Greece and Rome. The introduction of Roman law, she maintains, is also responsible for causing great harm to human beings, in particular those in servitude - chattel slavery, she says, was practically unknown to European practice until well after the medieval period and was substantially different from serfdom, and was harmful, in addition to women.
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who read the book, particularly anyone who disagrees with Pernoud's analysis.