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I Believe In Yesterday: My Adventures in Living History [Paperback]

Tim Moore
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 11.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Oct 2008

In 1989, Tim Moore moved into the last house in Chiswick with an outside toilet. Intrigued by a subsequent encounter with an elderly former resident, and shamed to confess the phobic haste with which he demolished this facility, he finds himself inspired to travel back to the land before now, experiencing the horny-handed hardships and homespun pleasures enjoyed and endured by Moores gone by.

The journey that follows takes him through the world of historical re-enactment, sitting at the bare and grubby feet of retromaniacs who have seen their future in the past, and learning their singular ways. Living on bramble leaves, Johnny cake and porridge, Moore travels from the Iron Age to the Steam Age, sharing straw beds and daft hats with period obsessives driven by socio-historical curiosity, disillusionment with the pampered fecklessness of the modern world, or a simple nostalgia for campfires, flatulence and brutality.

As a Roman legionary, Moore is put to the Gaulish sword twelve times a day for the entertainment of the Danish public; as master of a Tudor manor's domestic staff, he works his young charges to heatstroked collapse, and serves up moat-drowned hare to the sneering gentry. He crosses the snake-happy Kentucky wilderness with a Vietnam veteran and his ox-drawn wagon, gets arrested as a Yankee spy in the Louisiana no man's land, and lets a party of taunting French schoolchildren have it with a medieval bazooka. Along the way he meets living historians for whom authenticity means pulling their own teeth out and dyeing outfits in urine, and those who stride back through time with a Nokia and a packet of fags stuffed down their codpiece.

I Believe in Yesterday is an odyssey through 2,000 years of filth and fury, where men were men, the nights were black, the world was your outside toilet and everything tasted faintly of leeks.

Frequently Bought Together

I Believe In Yesterday: My Adventures in Living History + Nul Points + You Are Awful (But I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224077813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224077811
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 14.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Moore's writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, The Sunday Times and Esquire. He is the author of French Revolutions, Do Not Pass Go, Spanish Steps, Nul Points and I Believe In Yesterday. He lives in London.

Product Description


`A witty, inventive and engaging book' -- Waterstone's Books Quarterly

`Hugely enjoyable...Moore is always entertaining, and this book is laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely educational' -- The Gloss

`One of our most amiable writers makes the decision to live as his ancestors did' -- Times Magazine

his funniest book... Possibly the best book ever completed by a man covered in congealed animal fat, sweat and canon smoke -- Independent


`A witty, inventive and engaging book'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Observant and amusing 2 Jan 2009
Having never read a Tim Moore book before I was drawn to this title due to my own experiences in the 'nactors world. I can only assume that those who have given poor reviews to this book are not re-enactors as i found Moore's astute observations of the antics of those he met on his journey to be highly amusing. Indeed they often left me nodding in agreement as similar personal encounters of my own were brought to mind!
I really enjoyed this book and will probably try some more Tim Moore in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and Insightful 25 Nov 2008
I've never read any other Tim Moore, but I must say that this book did not keep me wanting from laughs... admittedly not the 'out-loud' kind, but each page kept me continuously and noticeably amused--it's calmly funny throughout, and extremely enjoyable to read.

As for the content itself--hilarious; I have never seen (or rather, read) such a tangle of living history. The narrative moves quickly along a long and mishap-strewn path, avoiding many conceits of living history but also conveying lots of useful history and insights into the world of its re-enactment. A huge range of stuff here, and interesting for anyone who has even a passing interest in what the world of re-creation is like.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read! 6 Nov 2008
One of Tim's best books to date.
Explores the odd world of historical re-enacting from the inside and manages to be truthful and funny without being to excessively look-at-the-weirdos-aren't-I-clever.
Loved it. Buy it.
PS If you're thinking of joining a re-enactment group this is definitely a must.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and fun 18 Oct 2008
I have read all of Tim's book and would rate this in the top quartile of his portfolio of writings (that's a good thing). Tim 'time travels' to a number or historical re-enactment groups who prefer the past to the current. Its funny and pleasingly short (248 pages) and each page has a laugh-out loud moment. There are a number of poignant moments and reflections which give the book greater depth than some of his earlier works. On par with Spanish Steps and French Revolutions and its difficult to say better than that. I wish he had done one of those dodgy Nazi groups though. They would have been ripe for the plucking by Tim's wit and cutting humour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for re-enactors & MOPs 31 Dec 2008
Tim Moore describes the obsessive yet self-conscious world of re-enactors perfectly. The juxtaposition of stitch counting authenticity with late night partying describes every group I know. A lot of the time we know we look like 'berks'.

As a bit of a time-tart I've done half the time periods in the book so could identify on many levels with what was going on. & any book that can get me to laugh out loud in the introduction is a rarity.

Tim balances his laughs, most of which are directed at himself not the re-enactors with short history lessons & insights into the motivations of living historians. Although it's a light book you can tell he has done his research and been won over by the people that he meets. Without being nostalgic he ponders the loss of skills in the modern western world - our inability to 'make do' or in a lot of cases make anything. Our lives are luxurious compared to those of our parents/grandparents and most people don't even know how to bake bread or light a fire...

It's a must read book for all re-enactors and anyone who wants to make the cross over from MOP to participant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining 1 Sep 2011
I wouldn't rate this as one of Tim Moore's best books but it still provides his unique style of humour and writing in large enough quantities to get you laughing and leave you entertained. The historical angle, as present in all of his books, adds depth to the book beyond the comedy and it is clear that Moore is knowledgable and has researched his subject well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Moore having fun yet? Mmm ... apparently not.
Author Tim Moore specializes in tales of self-inflicted travel misadventure which, however, are likely to amuse the reader as much as watching some unfortunate get dropped into a... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Joseph Haschka
4.0 out of 5 stars A massive improvement on Nul Points
After the horrible Nul Points I wasn't sure what to think. Would this master of the insightful travelogue come out with another 300 pages of dross? Not a bit of it. Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2009 by Mr. Niall Cooney
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate choice of subject matter,
The new, post-Bryson generation of humourous travel writers have carved a niche by creating journeys for themselves rather than engaging in mere reportage. Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2008 by A. Miles
3.0 out of 5 stars Photos would be nice
Certainly better than the aptly named 'Nul Points'. Seven historical recreations described in a generally amusing style, though the book does become a little repetitive. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2008 by G. Page
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad drop in form
I love early Tim Moore and I count French Revolutions as one of my favourite books of all time. However the last three volumes have all been progressively less and less funny. Read more
Published on 30 Oct 2008 by J. Brennan
1.0 out of 5 stars Not up to early Tim Moore standards
Each time Tim Moore brings a book out I buy it almost immediately as I will usually be guaranteed a good read. Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2008 by Bantam Dave
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