Several years ago Dr. Mark Johnson created the ”book essentials” page on thomistica.net. Dr. Johnson explains the ratio of this page as follows:
Of course no single book captures it all, but giving people a list of 50 books is of little help, too. So I let my thought-experiment be: “If I had to recommend ten books for someone starting out, what would they be?” The books listed below fit that bill for me; some of them are essential (e.g., Torrell’s two biographical books on Thomas), and others are reliable resources and introductions.
One of the volumes on this list is Augustine Thompson’s extremely helpful book, Cities Of God: The Religion Of The Italian Communes (Penn State Press, 2005).
Just out with Cornell University Press is Fr. Thompson’s most recent book-length foray into the Middle Ages, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography.
According to early reviews, it looks like Fr. Thompson has produced yet another “book essential” for students of Medieval thought, life, and culture. Fruimini