Ian Mortimer shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. He sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you to the Middle Ages.
The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: evolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.
©2008 Ian Mortimer; (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd
"A jaunty journey through the 14th century, one that wriggles with the stuff of everyday life." (Guardian)
My favorite in the history category to be sure! I hope the writers continue exploring the past with this format.
I was quite surprised at how effectively this book immersed me in 14th century England, largely by simply changing the tense of verbs and writing in the second person. I've heard this book described as a 'gimmick', apparently unbecoming of a professional historian, but it turns what could otherwise be a rather dry history of tax ledgers, merchant inventories, archaeological insights, city codes, and business regulations into a fascinating picture of the world our ancestors lived in 700 years ago. Make no mistake, this is a professionally researched and highly accurate social history of the 14th century, the amount of research that must have gone into it is astounding in its own right. But it is presented in such a way as to be both useful to the professional historian and quite entertaining to the average reader. You will learn a lot from this book, though it is never a chore; but more than simply learning about the period, you will come to understand the hopes, fears, and concerns that motivated the people who lived through it.
Mortimer brings Medieval England to life with his time traveller's guide. This book is rich in fascinating details of medieval life, many of which I heard for the first time despite having a degree in European history. Mortimer's approach to writing this book as though a travel guide really made me rethink the way I read, understand and analyze history. The stories and details take place in familiar places and in a history we all know well but it was not until I listened to this book that I felt I began to have a real understanding of the culture of the past and the people who lived in it.
Chapters are divided into sections such as law, food, travel, entertainment, etc. and explains to the would be traveller what he/she would be likely to encounter in Medieval England and dangers to look out for along the way.
My only complaint is that, at times, in the interest of providing more scholarly detail, the book slips away from its travel guide style that is so enjoyable.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in British history.
history, medieval, england
Description of the elaborate outfits worn by the nobility.
His accent fit the theme of the book, but was not overpowering. A peppering of music examples where appropriate would have been a nice touch.
The producers of this recording should have included a couple examples of the songs and instruments played during the period.
I have a primary love of music and pretty much an insatiable curiosity of history, art, science, current affairs, and all things bicycling.
A unique approach to telling the every day lives of the peoples that lived during this period in world history. Most books that give over views of a large historical period usually get lost in the names and dates of this and that, by using a travel log approach Mr Mortimer puts you into the period.
This is one of the first non-fiction titles I've ever listened to, and I'm glad to say that I really enjoyed it! It was well put together and presented, and very well read.
There was a lot of humour in Keeble's performance, which was very appropriate to the style of the book. A "travel guide" to a particular time in history is an amusing idea, and Keeble presented the subject matter in an upbeat and appealing manner, all without discounting the seriousness of current issues of the day nor diminishing the daily reality of people living at the time.
I would have liked to hear more about the Peasant's Revolt near the end of the century.
Written in an engaging style - definitely not dry or 'text-book' style - very much like a travel guide to a location. It connected activities, events, and customs to present day. Jonathan Keeble's performance was so fluid, it was as though you could've been sitting across from him in a pub just having a chat. I just came back from a trip to England and had a marvelous time - wished I had listened to this before! Having visited some of the locales mentioned really fleshed out the imagery for me.
My goal is to be one of the greatest literary giants in writing. Though my books do not sell, my goal now is to help those who are successful in writing, to become even greater.
Mortier brings the reader face to face with the conditions of real life, real smells, and real emotions of this turbulent era of Medieval History. I believe all A.P. World History Teachers should recommend their students buy this audio version. We are in a digital age, and print is now heard more than read or will be within 20 years. Mortier could bring this arte (art in Greek) effort to the Renaissance or the Byzantine Empire.
The Opening where he states: "Imagine you are in..." To be honest I have yet to finish this work, but it is so engaging the listener or reader is immersed in the time traveler narrative device Mortier places in our ears.
It is the pace Keeble brings to the peace which fits the historical context of the Opus. Jonathan Keeble does not try to be something he is not. He is, to be sure, a noted historian of us own right.
Yes this book is of great repeating value.
Although before listening, I was on the fence with this book... I found myself ranking it among my top reads/listens lately.
Mortimer presents the facts of the period alongside the concerns and questions one might ask in various situations. This approach to history truly puts you in the middle of Medieval England. A retelling of history that is as entertaining as any great historical fiction.
In daydreaming one thinks "how wonderful to nip back in time"....but would it be wonderful"....this excellent book covers every bit of your journey ,all the. Bits you hadn't quite thought through ,like is it safe to travel to the next town ,how do I find it ,what is the state if the road,how do I wash ,where do I go to the loo....and of course "does my bum look big in this".....well perhaps not in those words but what do I wear.....questions I never knew I would need to know and all well narrated......I enjoyed it so much I bought the other book and enjoyed it just as much
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.
Absolutely fascinating, interesting and fixes you way back in the 1400's, so much so you can almost taste it, touch it and smell it, it's been a pleasure and then some.
"interesting concept and enjoyable informative list"
For anyone interested in history and likes something a little different every now and then, then this book is for you.
I haven't listened to an audio book quite like this before
This book was amusing but thought provoking at the same time
"Accessible and vivid descriptions of life then"
One of the best!
Excellent - it engages one from the very beginning, and continues to fascinate with vivid descriptions of life in those times.
I had never enjoyed history at school, but this audiobook painted a fascinating and enthralling picture of life in Medieval England.
Probably Time Travellers Guide to Tudor England, because it approaches the subject in a similar way - ie it gets you to imagine you are living in that period, then builds and informs on a wide tprange of observations.
His authoritative narration is what held my attention.
Yes - it made me feel reassured! Because it provided a true sense of our history, which was quite different from any reaction I had from the history I was taught at school.
Thank you for opening up my understanding of our history through listening!
"Very Interesting Read"
It is a very clear account of this period in our history and so easy to digest the facts.
I was so interested in the friar who predicted vehicles that would travel without horses, vehicles that would travel under water and in the sky. Perhaps time travellers do really exist.
There are no characters in the book, it is a narration of history.
A fascinating glimpse into a past century.
A very interesting and comprehensive book, very easy to listen to and in no way boring if one is interested in history. Excellent narration.
"I loved it"
It is probably best listened to in chunks and you will almost certainly need to listen to this book more than once because there is so much information to take in. I love it because you really got a feeling of the sights, smells, sounds and the whole atmosphere of the time. This is one of those books I will keep coming back to.
"Hitchhikers Guide + Lonely Planet for Dr Who!"
I's recommend this book for anyone with an interest in medieval social history.
Its not a story and so it puzzles me why Audible ask this stupid bloody question about factual books, especially when it goes on to ask who your favourite character is!!! Book up your ideas Audible you sell the books, sort out a review system tailored to the specific book. As the world's largest online retailer you shouldn't find it hard. Pay some tax whilst your at it....
Good informative reading. I couldn't help but be reminded of the calm, authoritative tones of the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy on the BBC excellent adaptation of Douglas Adam's classics.
Found a TARDIS? Going to medieval times? You need this book in your life!
A great way to garner an understanding of life in medieval England. It deals with a myriad of different subjects from latrine cleaners to Kings, food, medicine, agricultural in a warm, witty educational way!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.