"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.
A fantastically informative book read in an animated and enthusiastic way. Doesn't feel like a 'history' book at all. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone with an interest in medieval England.
"a must for me"
As a middle age enthusiastic this was a must for me as soon as it was possible to buy on Finland. Not as good as actually being in the age and place myself, but almost.
"Will be listening to this again in the future"
I will be listening to this again in the future as it was very enjoyable, I felt a bit sad when it finished :)
"Completely fascinating book"
Completely fascinating book. I learnt something every minute. Loved it. If you've ever wondered what it was like living in the middle ages - this is the book for you.
"Glorious writing and performance"
This is one of the most enthralling books I've read for a while, and the best non-fiction book I have ever listened to. With topics as wide ranging as hygiene, justice, poetry, entertainment, personal relationships and even units of measurement this is a truly detailed look at C14th England.
Jonathan Keeble's performance adds an extra level of fascination by bringing the people to life with fantastic accents - French cleric was a particular favourite! He is able to switch from narration to the court records or comic poetry just right every time. I wouldn't hesitate putting him in the category of "vocal artist".
The only fault I have with this book is that it ended. I can only hope Ian Mortimer turns his hand to other centuries. I would love to see this made into a series.