Book Review : The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: a Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderfully evocative, informative, smooth prose from an expert on Medieval history.

He paints pictures that will inform, impress and stay with you. An example from the opening chapter…

A Summer morning … a servant opens an upstairs shutter and starts beating a blanket. A dog guarding a traveller’s packhorses starts barking. Nearby traders call out from their market stalls while two women stand chatting, one shielding her eyes from the sun, the other with a basket in her arms. The wooden beams of houses project out over the street. Painted signs above the doors show what is on sale in the shops beneath. Suddenly a thief grabs a merchant’s purse near the traders’ stalls, and the merchant runs after him, shouting. Everyone turns to watch. And you, in the middle of all this…

Topics covered include …
Landscape : City; Town; Countryside; Population Statistics
People : social classes (the 3 estates) ; characteristics;
Medieval Character: mindset; world view;
Essentials: Language; Telling the Time; Wages & Income by various tradesmen & classes ; Shopping; Manners;
What to Wear :
Travelling : Roads, Sea, Ships
Where to Stay :
What to eat & Drink :
Health & Hygiene :
The Law :
What to Do :

View all my reviews

Book Synopsis

‘Official’ Book Description

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.