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)
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My review of this book is the same as the other book in the series that covers Elizabethan England, except I am less wowed this time around since the novelty of the style has worn off a bit.
This book was so full of interesting facts it makes me wish I had a better memory!
I enjoy learning new things; it's such a shame to think I'll only retain a fraction of this knowledge. I was riveted throughout most of it, although some topics interested me less than others so I can't say I hung on EVERY word - some passages were a little dry.
The overall concept is fantastic and it's a brilliant way to educate one's self about this time in history.
As good as it was. I wish it would have been yet even MORE descriptive; with the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes. Even though it's historical, maybe a tiny bit of pure fiction as a demonstration of how things would've been like back then. Now that would have held my interest and excited me to learn more!
I liked the perspective of the book. It is important to understand as much as possible from the periods point of view rather than judging it only from our current perspective.
On occasion, there was a bit of condescension in the narrators presentation which defeats the purpose of looking at the period through its own eyes.
This book was a feast! the various courses were well prepared and a joy to consume. Overall the meal was completely free of the normal cardboard quality and lack luster taste one frequently finds in history books.
Johnathan Keeble's delivery of this meal was excellent and greatly added to the overall experience.
This was absolutely the most informative work on this time period I have EVER encountered. Jam packed with historical tidbits I have never come across before. And given to you in such a captivating manner...
for anyone who's interested in medieval England, I would absolutely recommend this book is a must listen. It was so much fun to listen to.
I have been a teacher of history of England and France for over 40 years and found the flow and anecdotal information to be interesting, enlightening, and even more fun to listen.
"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!
"Fascinating social history"
A treat. I expected to be entertained and informed by this book but was ill prepared for just how fascinating the detail it included was. Just as good a listen as all the Liza Picard's social histories. Full of absorbing and interesting detail, this is a really good listen that you just don't want to end.
The narrator was great, when he was describing the streets what the butchers shop would look like, smell like, and sound like. I could imagine myself standing there.
"Signposts would have been helpful to find the way"
This is certainly a very worthy listen and I know that I have learned a lot of facts but it was not what I had expected. I had anticipated a more experiential journey through the homes and lives of the people, both rich and poor. And this book does give glimpse, but so stuffed with dates, names, place and time changes that the text became, for me, incoherent. I would far rather, for example, have visited a fairly typical small village , for example, and been shown the homes the food, the daily routines, customs, health, religious feelings etc of the villagers there before moving into the towns or talking about the more wealthy and the aristocracy. But all tended to segue into each other. This was not helped by the lack of chapter titles and even the numbered sections didn't seem to conform to any specific subject area.
Overall, Jonathan Keeble did well as a narrator but even he seemed to tire beneath the relentless lists of dates and titles at times. His finest reading also coincided with my favourite part of the book : the last 15 minutes - not because of relief that it was almost at an end but because, at last the author started to talk freely about the meaning of the past. Would that the rest of the book had flowed as easily.
Possibly the fault lies in this being an audio book and a written version would be more accessible.
"Essential background for amateur historians"
Thoroughly enjoyable and quite different from other history books that I have read. The author aims to immerse the reader in the 14th century and so he does.
I enjoyed most the chapter on contemporary literature.
Very fascinating approach to an interesting subject. The narrator was engaging in style and really helped bring it to life.
I don't know.
History jumping out at you. Amazing.
If History had been taught like this at my school we'd have all gone on to study it at Uni. The way this has been written makes it real. You can picture yourself back in time. I listen to audiobooks in bed and it is magical way to get off to sleep. I don't usually recommend books to people for fear of the 'let down' but this is different. Buy it and life a little. Roger.
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