Monday, December 26, 2011

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century. Ian Mortimer. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 345 pages.

It is the cathedral that you will see first.

Is this book as promising as it sounds? Is it dry and boring? OR is it actually FUN?

I found The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England a fun and delightful read. It was written in a way that I wish all history books could be written. If history textbooks read like this one, perhaps more people would like studying it!

The text was very engaging. The author is speaking directly to readers as if they were actually going to be visiting the past. The past feels very real, very much alive.

The premise is fun and unique. As the jacket flap says, "The past is a foreign country. This is your guidebook." And..."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?"

It is divided essentially into eleven chapters:
  • The Landscape
  • The People
  • The Medieval Character
  • Basic Essentials
  • What to Wear
  • Traveling
  • Where To Stay
  • What to Eat and Drink
  • Health and Hygeine
  • The Law
  • What to Do
My favorite chapter was "Health and Hygiene." "What to Wear," "The People," and "Traveling" were also quite interesting. (My least favorite chapter was "The Law.")

Overall, I found the book fascinating. I did. I think it's a great companion read for those who love historical fiction. There are so many great books set during this time period, and reading this book can help you appreciate the time period even more, I think.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


CharmedLassie 9:24 AM  

One of the periods that fascinates me but which I know very little about. I'll certainly take a peek some day.

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