"Two stars off for the lack of proper chapters!"
A very interesting if rather over-long 'rough guide' to medieval England, going into immense detail about every aspect of life in the 1300s. It certainly gave me a very good flavour of how life would have been and in particular made me more aware of Edward III and his achievements (such as introducing English as the official language at court). Some sections were much more interesting than others, but generally it kept its grip throughout.
I thought the narrator was OK - at times his delivery was a little too fast when dealing with quite detailed information so I had to scroll back to hear it again; at other times it was just teetering on 'dry as dust'. I'm not sure, though, whether a more dramatic narrator would have fared better with reeling off such a wealth of detail.
At almost 12 hours' running time this is an immensely long and generally enjoyable listen, but it was almost wrecked for me because it's been lazily chopped up into arbitrary 35-40 minute segments, making it almost impossible to find a particular section again or relocate my latest listening point. Usually I'd only deduct one star for this failing, but in such a long audiobook it makes it very hard work when every 'chapter' starts somewhere in the middle of a section.
I found this quite an interesting book. I do wonder if I might have taken it in a bit more reading it rather than listening to it but it was still good and you'll find yourself coming out with various nuggets out of it either with friends or colleagues. Narration was fine.
"A real journey into the past"
If only the authorities made this style of presenting history mandatory in our schools.....Ian Mortimer really brings out the way in which England worked in the 14th Century. Interestingly, and unusually, this book covers not only the gentry, but the lives of the everyday man, woman and child, whose stories are often untold.
I am not a monster of history, so can commend this book to anyone who has a modicum of interest in learning a bit about how we got to where we are.
"TIME TRAVELLERS GUIDE"
IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP READING.I REFER BACK TO IT ALL THE TIME AND CONSTANTLY FIND PASSAGES THAT HOLD MY INTEREST AND EXPAND MY KNOWLEDGE.DON'T MISS THE CHANCE TO ENJOY THIS WELL WRITTEN AND EYE OPENING TREATISE.
"A stroll through history"
This is an excellent book, and the narrator remains engaging and informative throughout.
What is striking is how very similar life in the medaevil time was to life today. People still worked for bosses who kept the lion's share of any profit, took trips to see famous sights where they bought souvenirs, saw doctors who were basically making it up as they went along, and if accused of a crime, found the burden of proof to be upon themselves to prove their innocence.
I especially enjoyed the chapters on travelling around the country and the sights and people you were likely to meet, and the way the book explodes many long-held myths about life in the 14th Century.
So informative and fun at the same time. Very well read. I'm hoping for more of the same in the future
"Time travel at it's best!"
I love the Time Traveller guides and have read and listened to most of them. a great book!
"Entertaining insight into an era of history"
Enjoyed this in terms of learning more about what life was like then. Interesting overview
"Well-narrated, but painfully limited in scope."
If you're a white male wanting to know what life might have been like for you if you travelled back in time to the 14th century, this book is probably great and you're likely to enjoy it as it immerses you in a life you *might* have lived. Even if you're a male of another skin colour, you still might.
If you're a woman? Not so much. Mortimer has a very formal focus in his book, which means he looks at the world from the point of view of the biggest and best-known historical sources of the time. As is typical with the "best-known" historical sources - at least in terms of diarists and the like - prior to the late Victorian/early Edwardian era of the late 19th and early 20th century, most are from the viewpoint of a man, or at least published under the name of one. Admittedly, women's works were not published widely under female names before the late 17th century, with rare exceptions mostly being limited to religieuses.
This does not, however, excuse Mortimer's lack of resource and/or content in finding or including detail about life as a woman in the 14th century to accompany the overwhelming mass of data, anecdata and detail that he includes about life as a man in that era. The book is far too heavily weighted in gender terms, and that makes it substantially less interesting to me. I have heard this is a flaw with his historical time-travel series in general, and witnessed it personally in his Elizabethan-era instalment. Where women's lives *are* mentioned, it is almost always in terms of their relationships to men or how they were treated or named by men of the time (and ways men of today should behave or are expected to behave when interacting with 14th century women!)
The narration is the best thing about this book; though it's a little more formal than I should have expected for the approach taken by the author, it's still done very well indeed, and is quite appropriate to the material herein. I would rate the narration four stars, but the book itself only two. I am so disappointed in the book (and the author especially) that I plan to return it if I am permitted to do so.
Very interesting listening. The narrator is easy to listen to and the book is informative but not stuffy.
The various topics are well laid out with each chapter dealing with a different aspect of mediaeval life.
I found that I could quite easily imagine myself back in the Middle Ages and I enjoyed comparing the facts learned from this book with various fictional books that I have read eg. Follett's Pillars of the Earth which I think was actually a very accurate portrayal of mediaeval England according to this book.