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)
I keep going back and try to listen and finish this. It is very interesting but I enjoy it more in bits and pieces and not all in one "listen." Eventually I am sure that I will finish it, a little at a time.
This is the history book it should be.
I can't find enough good words to compliment Mr Ian Mortimer.
It's read in good and live language, it has just enough details about every aspect of late medieval life in England. It's not too wide in it's subject and it's not too narrow. Yet it has some new information for every one.
The reader would especially appreciate that no descriptions of scotts are given, Since no one book can adequately paint the life of both people. It's concentrated on subject and is good at it.
If you enjoy reading medieval and Tudor-era biographies or novels, this book is a wonderful complement. Mortimer provides a fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary people that lived during this time: their cuisine, clothing and many other aspects of daily life, some of which will seem truly bizarre from a modern perspective! This book really brings the era to life.
Got nothing better to do than to listen to 2 books a week
The narrator deftly balanced delicate humor with reflective amazement (to we 21st century dwellers) about this epochal century - plus his English accent made me feel he was talking about his ancestors!
The "Time Traveller" concept is unique - but the historical treatments of other Audible.com selections of Constantine and the French Revolution and Isaac Newton's England come close.
No - but I would download any Audible.com selection he reads solely on this recitation.
Time Travel to the 14th Century
I want more "Time Traveller" books to different centuries!
In getting ready for a trip to England, I wanted to know what Olde England was like. This book was enlightening, but a bit long and repetitive. I know many of the customs from times gone by, but hearing it 3 times was plenty, not 6-7 times in later chapters.
Overall, a good listen, just a bit tedious.
This book really takes you to the age, times and people of the times. everything is interesting great listen!!!
History, Sci-Fi, Fantasy nerd from St. Louis.
Fascinating. Insightful. Thorough.
It's like being taken on a guided tour of 14th Century England. Exactly as advertised.
If I were to go, I'd want Jonathan Keeble telling me about what I was seeing. The perfect companion.
I was sad when it was over. I want more!
I only hope Ian Mortimer takes us on other trips to other centuries and I hope when he does Jonathan Keeble tells us about it.
The medieval time period is my all time favourite so when I saw this audiobook I was very excited. The author has a crisp English accent which helps with the time transport. I felt like a fly on the wall of a time machine. However I could have done without some of the boring details.
Part of the fascination with medieval times is castles, maidens, knights, tales of sorcery and chivalry. The author lets you down with a giant thud covering these subjects. He gets into details of how medival times really were dispelling all of the glamour and myths that lure you into the time period in the first place. The truth was boring and dull. I learned more about being drawn and quartered than I would have liked.
I would have also liked the author to spend more time on interesting things like hygiene. What did they use for toothbrushes? Hair brushes? Women's cycles? Child birthing/midwifery procedures? How did they take baths? etc. The author touches on these subjects lightly with diets of nobility and peasants, houses, disposal of waste etc but the focus was more on social hierarchy, customs, artists, wars and politics. The things that are necessary to learn about but BORING.
I wanted to learn more about courtship. How did peasants and nobility court their prospective spouses? How common was it for peasants to become involved with nobility and vice versa? He touched on that frequently referencing Chauncer’s genius. I wanted more but it’s still a pretty good audiobook.
If you are not computer savy and have not downloaded books before, I would not recommend doing so, I could not download the audible device or the book...It kept saying it did not download, and of course they charged me for the book (and did they tell me why it didn't download) tried many times. It will not go straight to your I tunes or Windows Media Player...fustrating as all heck.
Angry might be a better word
A fantastic book read by an equally fantastic reader! Mr Keeble obviously really enjoyed reading this book, his enthusiasm is evident all the way through and it's so easy to get pulled along with him and laugh with him too.
It's so interesting finding out about how our ancestors lived, worked and died all those years ago and Ian Mortimer writes in such a way that you don't want the book to end. Highly recommended!
"Gripping and immediate!"
I found this book so fascinating that I listened to it twice in a row! Ian Mortimer gives an immediate and gripping account of Medieval England, described as though you are walking through its very streets. The enormity of the Black Death, the horror of leprosy, the din of the trumpets going into battle, the taste of potage and the merriment of dancing hand in hand - all are brought home to the listener in vivid colour, as though you are standing on the spot watching on. Its a great introduction to the period and the narration is excellent too.
"Very enlightening for the novice"
The is a brave attempt to bring the middle ages to life, and it mostly works. I say mostly partly because the narration is a bit, well, square! It’s all a bit monotone and not how the author probably intended. But if you can ignore this then it is a very good and enlightening introduction to this period.
The book is broken up into short chapters which concentrate on a particular subject such as dress, or houses, or social structure. And it contains enough entertaining little facts to make you smile from time to time, so it does not become too heavy. Enough to make you want to find out more, or just to make your next visit to a historic site more interesting.
However anybody expecting something as entertaining as Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything will be a bit disappointed. A worthy read all the same if you want to find out more about this period.
"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.
This book is so much fun..it brings history alive. I read the book first...this was better...I am waiting for the TV documentary because if no one picks this wonderful story up...then shame on them.
"A taste of a different world..."
Wow. A very interesting book, trying hard to take the reader back to the 14th century and appreciate to some extent what it might have been like to live then. In some ways, it seems familiar, and in so many others, it was a totally different world! At times very detailed and perhaps a little dry, but perhaps that's more my reaction to the level, matter-of-fact delivery by the narrator. Well-researched, extremely informative, well-organised and intriguing. If you're interested in medieval life, you'll almost certainly enjoy this.
"This is how History should be experience."
What a surprising and refreshing way to experienced history and a culture that is no more. I found this both entertaining and educational experience. With such excellent Audio Narration this is indeed an experience, and not some text you read in a history book.
All History should be written like this. Academic language used in traditional historic books dull the experience of the reader. Ian Mortimer has indeed set a benchmark to how History should be taught and experienced. Other History Writer could learn from the style of this Historic experience.
"Fab Frolic through Medieval England"
An excellent book!! I couldn't stop listening.
It is an excellent source of information about the medieval period. I have used it with my GCSE and A-Level History Students. They thoroughly enjoyed it as it made the past come alive and allowed them to get an in-depth look at life during that time.
"History Made Interesting & Accessible"
Typically, history books are pretty dry and unappealing reads at the best of times. However, the approach of this book was novel and original and therefore I thought I'd take a look.
I was not disappointed.
This is more like a guide book (as its title suggests) than a monologue on life in the 14th century and as such has a much wider appeal to those who might not consider this sort of work of interest.
The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
is nonetheless an informative and entertaining read and will give the listener a real sense of what it was like to really live in that century. It places the listener as if you were actually there and points out all sorts of things about life back then you may not have thought about.
For those students of history this title is well worth a look as it is extremely detailed and well researched and will offer insights from a different point of view some history buffs may not have encountered before.
What really brings this book to life is the excellent narration by Jonathan Keeble . It is so naturally delivered that you might well think it's being recited from memory and is full of inflections and accents that really make it come to life.
Educational, insightful, entertaining and above all fun. This will teach you a thing or two and is worthy of your time.
I can't think of a bad thing to say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would struggle to think of why anyone wouldn't be fascinated by it. History brought to life. Nice narration too.
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