Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the

Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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An original, entertaining and illuminating guide to a complete different world: England in the Middle Ages.

Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guesthouse? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord?

This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. It sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you, the reader, to the middle ages, and showing you everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.

Being a guidebook, many questions are answered which do not normally occur in traditional history books. How do you greet people in the street? What should you use for toilet paper? How fast -- and how safely -- can you travel? Why might a physician want to taste your blood? And how do you test to see if you are going down with the plague?

The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.
Publisher: Vintage, 2012
Edition: ON ORDER
ISBN: 9781845950996
1845950992
Branch Call Number: 3596MISC 1

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f
finn75
Mar 24, 2015

Brilliant. I have always read alot of Fiction based in this era so it was really informative to read what it would really have been like. A very readable book.

m
Mclone
Apr 03, 2014

Read this book!! Extremely well-written and clearly intended to be a light dip into a hundred years that can be easily read in two sittings due to Mortimer's use of the travel-guide format. He teases the reader enough that they will dig deeper into the primary material, if they so wish, and he provides a comprehensive bibliography so they can start. IMO this is the way to pave a way for those who want the info but don't need the degree. As a university student of English history several years ago, I can say I wish then I had Mortimer's book. I could have read it on Thursday, disappeared Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and explained to the class on Monday what they had all been trying to understand in their textbooks over the weekend! Great info in a small package.

WVMLStaffPicks Jun 04, 2013

Take a time machine back to the middle ages in England with this fascinating guidebook. I loved the engrossing and entirely believable descriptions of daily life—food, housing, clothing, medicine, law, entertainment, travel and social niceties. Mortimer’s work is both scholarly and fun to read. You will take away curious factoids such as, your class in life determined what fur you could wear, from ermine to rabbit, and until the 13th century there was no difference between the left and right shoes.

d
delfon
Oct 03, 2012

14th cedntury was a time of developing national character, and we learn how in england people lived their secure lives free from the ravages, looting, pillaging, and murders of the free companies in France. As one society collapsed another arose.
Mortimer is somewhat panglossian in ignoring the wool trade, the affect of loot coming from the continent, and the identity focusing efforts of people such as Chaucer. He offers us views of how people livied, worked,(even wages),, ettiquete,
etc as if everything was in its place and all was well. yeet the Black Deatn was upon innocents, inhuman tortures, wars, all came about under these nice circumstances. This is a good read, for two reasons, one, it gives a time frame perspective of a privileged, secure from invasion, people; and two it shows historians can write anything they want and ignore cause and effect with abandon.

h
HELEN M. ZSUTTY
Jul 27, 2012

Fascinating read about living in Medieval England in the 14th century. Chapters on the people of that time and how their beliefs were different from modern times yet in some ways very similar to us in that they loved music, storytelling, games, etc. Also covered is what to wear, where to stay, how to travel from town to town, what to eat and drink. The only chapter that I found difficult to get into was about the law at that time. It was during the 1300's that the Black Pague wiped out so many people in England and Europe; was a hard life for most of the population yet they were able to see the humor in life. An interesting footnote: the author met his wife while researching this book and they are now married with 3 children; how romantic!

j
jennybeast
Jul 18, 2012

Entertaining take on history: what you'll see, what you'd do if suddenly transported in time.

d
delfon
Jul 13, 2012

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/historian-ian-mortimer-describes-everyday-life-in-the-middle-ages-a-842820.html

l
lunatucker
Jun 29, 2012

absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in this time period!

a
ABluestocking
Jul 05, 2011

Ian Mortimer had me literally smelling the stink of Medieval England. Fascinating journey!

g
gmwil50n
Apr 15, 2011

Interesting and factual, but never dry or boring.

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