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Masters and Servants in Tudor England [Kindle Edition]

Alison Sim
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Although life in Tudor times was ordered in a strict hierarchy, service was common for all classes, and servants were not necessarily the lowest stratum of society. This book looks at the servant life in the Tudor period. It examines relations between servants and their masters, peering into bedrooms, kitchesn and parlours of the ordinary folk.

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Product Description

About the Author

Alison Sim is a specialist in medieval and Tudor history who has worked as a guide and education officer at a variety of locations, including the Tower of London, Kew Palace, Hampton Court and the Imperial War Museum. Her previous books for Sutton include The Tudor Housewife, Food and Feast in Tudor England and Pleasures and Pastimes in Tudor England.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 339 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (23 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C8X73BQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,024,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upstairs downstairs Tudor style 29 Oct. 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A fascinating look at the lives of servants in Tudor England, what they did, how they lived, what relations with their employers were like, etc. It covers servants in all different kinds of households, from the mightiest to the humblest (almost everyone employed servants in Tudor england). Like all Alison Sim's books, this one is full of interesting information about the period. Anyone interested in the Tudor era should find this book extremely interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for Tudor Period Buffs 10 Sept. 2011
Wonderful book by Alison Sims written in a delightfully lively fashion. The chapters are kept relatively short and yet they are full of all sorts of fascinating information and in-depth details. Many surprising facts in this book; it is well written, scholarly, approachable, and contains a good bibliography. Quite successful at capturing the gist of what life was like for masters and their servants in the Tudor period.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book that made me buy two more. 28 Jan. 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am researching the period for a novel, but have enjoyed this as a straight read. Alison Sim has an excellent style giving detail and snippets of Tutor life without bogging down in wordiness. I discovered John Blank a black trumpeter to Henrys VII and VIII. Not a slave, but a paid musician. I learnt about the Goldsmiths guild fining guild members for their wives quarrelling in public. As I read the work it reminds me of the famous quote: "The past in another country."
I have searched out and bought two more of her books immediately.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too often wrong to be of use to even an amateur historian. 1 April 2009
By Jack Cade - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Though reasonably well written stylistically, with an authoritative voice, this book is deeply flawed.
The list of things wrong with this book are too numerous to delineate here. The book, published in 2006, comes a year after three different scholarly works which dealt with this same subject. _Master's and Servants_ however is not a scholarly book.
The first sentence of the second paragraph for instance is clearly wrong. "The idea that working as a servant was in itself somehow demeaning simply didn't exist." Indeed, the exact opposite has long been considered to be true. Servants and service WERE looked down upon according to everything from court records to historical documents (for instance the sentence is directly contradicted by William Harrison's 1577 description of England and servants as useless to themselves and the commonwealth) to the popular fiction of the time (repeatedly in popular drama servants are shamed, embarrassed, and yearning to be free, etc.). Historically, from medieval commoners refusal to enter traditional forms of service once plague produced demographic shrinkage opened up new economic possibilities to Shakespeare's 1611 Ariel and Caliban, service was is often frequently down upon and for many considered a temporary position that became doubly negative for adult men and women throughout the period. This is as has been well documented by social and literary historians like Kieth Wrightson, Michael Thorton Burnett, Lawrence Stone, et al. Indeed it is far from clear what promotes Sim to her conclusion in the face of the overwhelming historical data and historiography that produces the opposite conclusion. One is forced to suspect that it is the product of some dogmatic presentist agenda.
Alison Sim is not a scholar of the period. Admittedly, there is a part of her argument that might be adapted from the better of the scholarly monographs published the year before--although she does not site it, perhaps it is coincidence. However, for the most part her description of masters and servants in early modern England is helplessly outdated and consequently largely inaccurate.
So much so that I felt the need to rebut it here.
I recognize the uses of lay texts for the general public, however a publisher should require that they be at least somewhat accurate upon key questions. Not to be an elitist education snob, or slip into ad hominem, but works like this should be written by professional scholars not museum guides, however fantastic they may be--and a sideline as the "education officer" does not a scholar make.
In short, I do not find the book particularly useful for even the most casual historian. The text would have been immensely improved had Alison Sim taken the time to read the three texts on service written in 2005, and investigated the nuances of the academic debate upon the subject.
All in all the main critique of Sim's book is that she time and again misuses her sources and cherry picks information for convenience to her argument, while consistently demonstrating a sophomoric comprehension of the larger cultural contexts of the sixteenth century.
Although all three of the 2005 works I have mentioned are literary focused, they all draw heavily on archival documents.
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