The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

Book - 2008
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The past is a foreign country. This is your guidebook.

A time machine has just transported you back to the fourteenth century. What do you see? How do you dress? How do you earn a living and how much are you paid? What sort of food will you be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? And more important, where will you stay?

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England is not your typical look at a historical period. This radical new approach shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. All facets of everyday life in this fascinating period are revealed, from the horrors of the plague and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and medieval haute couture.

Through the use of daily chronicles, letters, household accounts, and poems of the day, Mortimer transports you back in time, providing answers to questions typically ignored by traditional historians. You will learn how to greet people on the street, what to use as toilet paper, why a physician might want to taste your blood, and how to know whether you are coming down with leprosy.

From the first step on the road to the medieval city of Exeter, through meals of roast beaver and puffin, Mortimer re-creates this strange and complex period of history. Here, the lives of serf, merchant, and aristocrat are illuminated with re-markable detail in this engaging literary journey. The result is the most astonishing social history book you're 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: New York, NY : Touchstone, 2008
ISBN: 9781439112892
Branch Call Number: 942.03 M844t
Characteristics: 342p. : ill


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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.

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.

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.

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!

Jul 18, 2012

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

Jul 13, 2012

Jun 29, 2012

absolutely fascinating for anyone interested in this time period!

Jul 05, 2011

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

Apr 15, 2011

Interesting and factual, but never dry or boring.

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