The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England : A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century Paperback
by Ian Mortimer
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there...Imagine you could travel back to the fourteenth century.
What would you see, and hear, and smell? Where would you stay? What are you going to eat? And how are you going to test to see if you are going down with the plague?
In The Time Traveller's Guide...Ian Mortimer's radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down.
History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that's the life of a peasant or a lord.
The result is perhaps the most astonishing history book you are ever likely to read; as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, col. Illustrations, col. maps
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/10/2009
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9781845950996
Showing 1 - 5 of 9 reviews.
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Review by AlmaB
Quirky and informative fun. The book drops you off in 14th century England and grants you an insider's view into the denizens of that era. It's more than just a dry listing of events, places and names. It grants insight into the people trying to survive and more importantly to live despite being mired in floods, ignorance, violence and pestilence. The author's touch isn't heavy with gloom and doom nor is it judgmental or apologetic. Instead he adopts a fresh matter of fact approach with a wry and amusing voice that makes it easy to follow his lead. The end result is you gain insight into that slice of human history that's germane to your view of the world today..after all - the past is prologue.
Review by baswood
Mortimer succeeds in bringing 14th century England to life. He does it using well researched secondary sources and there are plenty of footnotes to back up his research. It is quite different from the usual social history and for me with my current interest in the period it provided insights. Some of these might appear obvious but only after Mortimer had pointed them out. The final chapter "Envoi" is a well argued approach to the authors approach to history in this book and one that I subscribe to. I have just finished John Gardners: Life and times of Chaucer, which has a more conventional approach but does have more detail Although much of what Mortimer says can be gleaned from the Gardner book, the difference in approach brings out different points and so for me both books were well worth reading.Would I like to visit 14th century England after reading this book - definitely not. Being able to make this sort of decision is surely what all good travel books are about.
Review by soliloquies
This is a cross between a travel guide and a history book. You get all the historical information about the 14th century, but in a more accessible manner. Great idea.
Review by isabelx
Review by jcbrunner
An outstanding introduction to life in Medieval England. The 14th century comes to life in all aspects. Following the common guidebook structure, the author presents the landscape, the people, the medieval character, basic essentials, what to wear, traveling, where to stay, what to eat and drink, health and hygiene, the law and what to do. Only the last section is a bit short. A real travel guide would not have missed to illustrate the buildings with floor plans and pictures. Some remarks about near-abroad attractions in Wales, Scotland and Aquitaine would also have been welcome for the enterprising traveler.Overall, it is an eminently readable book that offers the interested reader an excellent first look at English medieval life. If I had to advise someone about good starter books about the 14th century, this would be my first pick, followed by Tuchman's A Distant Mirror. The public seems to agree as the book's cover has inspired a whole range of books that want to surf on that wave.
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