Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A H...” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 40% off the $16.99 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century Paperback – October 25, 2011
Featured GRE prep guides. Sponsored by McGraw-Hill.Learn more.
Frequently Bought Together
Special Offers and Product Promotions
From Publishers Weekly
In this compelling volume, Medieval history expert Mortimer (The Fears of Henry IV) transports readers to jolly, squalid old England for a thorough survey of everyday 14th century life. Going beyond the "nasty, brutish and short" of it, Mortimer's immersive visitor's-guide approach to popular history gives readers a seamless sense of being there. The population is young-"Half of the population is aged twenty-one or less"-but incredibly diverse. The idea that social classes were distinct and few-fighters, prayers, and farmers-gets exploded in Mortimer's examination society and the Medieval character, including everything from humor and juggling to mariners to doctors. Mortimer even argues, convincingly, over relative standards of hygiene ("to regard a medieval kitchen as 'dirty' because it has not been wiped down with modern detergent is to apply our own standards inappropriately"). He also looks at the role of period's four greatest writers of the time , and reveals the horrors of contemporary medicine (with terrifying descriptions of the plague) and law (the outskirts of every town were decorated with the hanged corpses of minor criminals). Mortimer's toungue-in-cheek vistor's guide is an impressive accomplishment, turning 600 years of history transparent to give 21st century audiences a clear view on Medieval life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“In this compelling volume, Mortimer transports his readers. . . . Gives readers a seamless sense of being there. . . . An impressive accomplishment, turning 600 years of history transparent to give 21st-century readers a clear view of medieval life.” –Publishers Weekly
“Mortimer addresses every aspect of medieval life, from the mundane to the bizarre. . . . Travel guides are designed to deliver helpful information about faraway places, but this one gets to the heart of a different time zone.” –The Washington Post
“Chock-full of surprises, this is exceptional social history, compellingly told; there should be ‘travel books’ like this for every century. Start reading, and you won't want to stop.” –Library Journal
"The endlessly inventive Ian Mortimer is the most remarkable medieval historian of our time." --The Times (UK)
Top Customer Reviews
The book covers virtually every aspect of life and death in Fourteenth century England, from the highest royalty to the lowest peasant (peasants, Mortimer explains, did not call themselves "peasants", but instead would have conceived themselves as members of some subset of society as "rustici" -- countrymen -- or "villani" -- villeins). Social hierarchies, food, clothing, housing, law and order, medicine, travel ... Mortimer seemingly touches upon and describes every aspect of life. He deliberately limits himself to a single century as "medieval" actually covers too extensive a slice of time for accurate summary and even so the author frequently addresses changing behavior over the course of that single century.
A vast amount of information is conveyed in an engaging, lively style. In the very first chapter Mortimer emphasizes his approach to social history by submerging the reader in an ocean of sensory imaginings, descrbing sights and sounds and especially smells of a visit to a medieval English city. And repeatedly thereafter the author reinforces this "you are there" experience. All in all, this is an excellent and highly vivid look at a past era.
There's a lot here I already knew, but a lot I didn't--for example, that pockets were introduced during this century, as were differentiated shoes (left foot versus right, in other words). It's details like this, that you wouldn't normally think are important, that really are important in daily life. At first, the present-tense writing threw me off; but, as Mortimer says in his introduction, once you begin understanding history as happening rather than as has happened, then you'll better understand the complexities of fourteenth-century life.
As the back of the book paraphrases LP Hartley, "the past is a foreign country, they did things differently there..." It's not that things were bad or wrong with the way that people lived six hundred years ago; it's just that people back then had different ways of seeing the world. Take, for example, the chapter on health and medical practices. It's not that medical physicians and surgeons (two different things, up until the 17th century) were ignorant in the sense that we mean it; it's just that they used different areas of knowledge to make a diagnosis and treat a patient. Doctors and surgeons in the fourteenth century probably had as much knowledge as doctors do today--they just used things such as astronomy, religion, and blind faith in their practice. I wish the author had focused a little more on religion and education, however.Read more ›
There were a few glaring omissions: maps!!! There should have been a general English one, as well as a map of London and other places mentioned, as well as drawings of the houses and such that he describes. There was also nothing about child rearing or discipline, schooling or apprentiship. I was very surprised to see that he left out midwives and herbalists from the section on medical practitioners. Otherwise, this is a very written book that I would recommend to others.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This writer makes reading about medieval England enjoyable. I would recommend this book, especially if you don't already know a lot about this topic.Published 5 days ago by Mary Milner
Great book, so full of little details. Fun to read, not dry at all.Published 2 months ago by Mariana P Martin
This is Ian Mortimer at his best. In using the trope of a traveler's guide, he is able to give the reader a very lively and informative tour of Medieval England, getting into... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Craig D. Newhouse
I picked this up on a whim at a charity shop in London after the Medieval History bug caught me. It's a fun, quick read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jonathan Breese
This book is well written and engaging. It has a very solid over view of its time period which allows the reader to find topics of personal interest tp pursue more fully. Read morePublished 2 months ago by michael
Close to 300 pages and not a word about religion?
Otherwise, ok, but these folks were seeped in religion you have to cover it, even if your intellectual self scorns... Read more
A wonderful book. My daughter used it for a school project. Her work stood head and shoulders above the rest because of the human feel she attained.Published 4 months ago by Matthew R. Picone
A rollicking fun ride through the Middle Ages! Fascinating, detailed, and incredibly entertaining.Published 4 months ago by Libros1956