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Publisher's Summary

Imagine you could see the smiles of the people mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary, hear the shouts of market traders, and touch their wares. How would you find your way around? Where would you stay? What would you wear? Where might you be suspected of witchcraft? Where would you be welcome?

This is an up-close-and-personal look at Britain between the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and the end of the century. The last witch is sentenced to death just two years before Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica, the bedrock of modern science, is published. Religion still has a severe grip on society and yet some - including the king - flout every moral convention they can find. There are great fires in London and Edinburgh; the plague disappears; a global trading empire develops.

Over these four dynamic decades, the last vestiges of medievalism are swept away and replaced by a tremendous cultural flowering. Why are half the people you meet under the age of 21? What is considered rude? And why is dueling so popular? Ian Mortimer delves into the nuances of daily life to paint a vibrant and detailed picture of society at the dawn of the modern world as only he can.

©2017 Ian Mortimer (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Social historian Mortimer is on to a good thing. His previous, similarly structured books, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England and The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England, charmed readers, and this latest will do the same." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Indi Rock
  • San Francisco, California United States
  • 02-15-18

A Very lot of statistics

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Far from being what it claims; a journey through the intimate lives of Restoration era Britains. This is a rather (or should I say "very") tiresome collection of statistics, heaps of them, mountains of them. Between massive groups of statistics there will be a sentence or two about what it all means, but not enough. As it is an audiobook it is possible to sort of zone out while the reader lists 15 to 30 stats in a row. I can not even imagine having the fortitude to actually read a physical copy of this book. I can hardly imagine having the fortitude to listen to the whole 20 hours. I have made it about half of the way through but every half hour I consider simply stopping and choosing something less tedious to listen to. Were it not for a very extreme interest in the 17th century I would not have made it as far as I have. What could have made this a 4 or 5 star experience would be quite simple. It would begin by discarding this entire book and starting on a different one.

What does Roger Clark bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Roger Clark does a hero's work reading this endless collection of statistics as though it were an actual story. It could not have been a pleasure for him.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Terrible narration. Stars for content.

Would you try another book from Ian Mortimer and/or Roger Clark?

I’ve read (listened to) the two previous Time Traveller books and loved them. Listened to them both at least twice.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Restoration Britain?

The narrator! And not in a good way!

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I found the voice extremely distracting. The narrator seems to have concentrated so hard on marshaling his broad vowels (to a ridiculous extent) and clipping his words to create this stagey upper class English accent that he was unable to effectively tell the story. It sounded as if he was sitting bolt upright in a hard back wooden chair determined to get those vowels correct, and afraid to relax for a moment. And the really sad part of it is that he constantly “mispronounced” words like: “Juke of Nucastle,” (there are only “Jukes” in this book), the “sixteen ninedies,” (they were all ninedies) ” “Nuuspapers,” ‘Stooart.” I’d rather the book was narrated by a native English speaker like Jonathan Keeble, or Mike Grady (at least they sound like native speakers in the Medieval and Elizabethan books in the series), or that Roger Clark read in a voice he’s more comfortable using. Maybe it’s the producer/director responsible? Either way, I’m so disappointed because I was looking forward to this book so much.Perhaps most people listening to this title won’t find anything wrong with the choice of narrator, but for me it was ruinous to the story. I tried adjusting the speed and the volume and nothing helped to make it better. And that is a shame because Ian Mortimer is a genius at bringing these periods in history to life in a way no one else can.

Could you see The Time Traveler’s Guide to Restoration Britain being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It and the other books would make for a wonderful documentary series.

Any additional comments?

I hope Ian Mortimer is working on another time traveller book. I would love Tudor, Victorian and Edwardian editions. Truly gifted writer. Should be on school/college curriculums.