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The Year 1000: An Englishman's Year Paperback – 25 Sep 2003

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The Year 1000: An Englishman's Year + Great Tales From English History: Cheddar Man to DNA: A Treasury of True Stories of the Extraordinary People Who Made Britain Great
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (25 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349113068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349113067
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A Brief life of the Queen.

I have been writing about the Queen now for nearly forty years, and this little book is intended to distil and re-shape what I've learned into one pleasant afternoon's reading - a summary of its predecessors Majesty (1977) and Monarch (2002, Royal in the UK), with further research and thoughts on Elizabeth II in the year of her Diamond Jubilee.

'Lege feliciter', as the Venerable Bede used to say - May you read happily!

- Robert Lacey, January 2012 - http://robertlacey.com

Robert Lacey is an historian and biographer whose research has taken him from the Middle East ("The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Saud") to America's Mid-West ("Ford: the Men and the Machine"). "Majesty", his pioneering biography of Queen Elizabeth II, is the definitive study of British monarchy - a subject on which Robert lectures around the world, appearing regularly on ABC's Good Morning America and on CNN's Larry King Live.

Product Description


Thoroughly enjoyable ... a superb insight into life as it was lived a thousand years ago (INDEPENDENT)

A brilliant little book, well-written, knowledgeable, insightful, accessible, a model of how popular social history should be written (GLASGOW HERALD)

A series of deftly-turned vignettes of what it was like to live in England at the turn of the last millennium ... a quirky and engaging book (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

A beautiful window on past history. My book of the year (Simon Schama)

Book Description

* Vivid recreation of how English people lived a thousand years ago.

* What life was like at the turn of the first Millennium.

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First Sentence
IT WAS AN OAK TREE THAT PROVIDED THE ink, from a boil-like pimple growing out of its bark. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
Readable, entertaining, informative, surprising and lively. This book is like no other I have read on pre-Conquest England. While most books deal rather dryly with thegns and eaoldermen and the coming of Christianity, this book focuses on what life would have been like for the ordinary man and woman of the time. It is full of illumnating anecdotes about such things as the various types of worm people might have in their guts and the process of minting a silver penny - and what happened to you if you were found to be forging them - not a happy fate. It offers insights into the life of the monk and nun - and tells you where their ink came from to copy their devotional texts. It gives a powerful impression of how life could be very rich, or almost unbearable in times of famine. It deals with diet, religious beliefs, work and labour, slavery and bondage, the legal system, women, the class system, the economy, medicine, paganism, town and country life, battle and war, and all this in a fresh and lively manner. The authors make liberal use of sources to illustrate their topic, to great effect. This text is not written by academics, but it is a very useful insight into the world of 'real' men and women. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 21 Mar 2006
Format: Audio Cassette
The turn of the millennium (the last millennium, that is) in England was an interesting world to behold -- the country was struggling toward unity, but still wary of invaders from across the various seas (an invasion trend that would stop less than 100 years after the turn of the millennium). The typical Englishman was well-fed, but the kinds of food might astound modern readers; when the people got indigestion back then, medical treatments were even more bizarre.
Into the world, Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger venture with humour and insight. Lacey and Danziger, established writers in related topics, have traced a journey through history by tracing the typical life during a year at the turn of the year 1000, through the Julius Work Calendar, on reserve at the British Library, lost for a time due to miscategorisation. The authors (Lacey and Danziger) makes use of this interesting framework of month-by-month chronicling to develop the details of daily life and work in England in the year 1000.
The different months take the paradigm for different topics -- February looks at geography; August looks at medicine (and the frequency of flies); November looks at the issues of gender relationships. Among the fascinating facts that come out in the analysis are the kinds of cyclical patterns that occur in history --Lacey and Danziger point out that under Canute, an unfaithful wife would meet with a horrible fate, but that legislation died with him, until the Commonwealth period several hundred years later, when it would be revived.
The authors do not stick exclusively to English shores -- they discuss the general world situation, as it would impact English development.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris J. Newman on 31 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If dull History books can be described as "dry", then "The Year 1000" should be described as "wet". However, I would choose "warm" or "charming" as more descriptive adjectives.
This is a delightful book written by two journalists who make no pretense at being historians. They are, however, good writers and it is quite obvious that they enjoyed writing the book as much as I enjoyed reading it. They make up for their own historical limitations by calling on the services of over 50 professional historians (mostly professors and PhDs) who are listed and credited in the "Acknowledgement" that concludes the book. Certainly, in this short volume, they have amassed a huge amount of fascinating information and anecdotes that more than warrants their diverse approach to writing the book.
It is no slight to call this book a "light" read. Lightness of touch is what characterizes its pages. But don't be deceived into thinking that it has nothing to tell. Its pages are crammed with interesting and often fascinating details, which allow the reader a vivid glimpse into the political and the social world of 1000 years ago.
Nevertheless, "warmth" is the defining feature of this book, and which makes it so very different to any other history book that I have read. The authors make no secret of the deep affection and respect that they hold (and presumably developed) for their subject - the people who lived 1000 years ago. There is no condescension or disdain in their stories and anecdotes; no implied judgments or criticisms that one expects from those who write with the benefit of hindsight. This book is a cheerful celebration of the end of the first millennium, written to celebrate the end of the second.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J Gerrard on 20 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
Monty Python have a lot to answer for. When it comes to life in the dark ages, their comic depiction of mud-splattered, sack-wearing, shrubbery-obsessed peasants has probably influenced more minds than any musty textbook ever could. Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger have clearly taken a leaf out of the Pythons' book, and opted for a similarly irreverent portrait of English life at the end of the first millennium.
The Year 1000 is packed full of details and anecdotes that are designed to entertain first and educate second. For instance, did you know that monks wore underpants, communicated by sign language so as not to break their vow of silence and (rather bashfully) called their toilet a necessarium? Before our very eyes, history is cut into tasty, easy-to-swallow pieces. As a result, the book is accessible and enormously enjoyable, assisted by the light-hearted and direct style.
As an introduction to the era, it's a roaring success, but if you're looking for serious historical analysis, then steer well clear as it will most likely cause you to spontaneously combust. The authors occasionally try too hard to link the past with the present, which, whilst providing much of the amusement, does not always provide sound judgement. One priceless, if ultimately unconvincing theory suggests that a natural form of the drug L.S.D. was responsible for driving the peasants wild during the winter famine. Maybe they were getting into practice for Woodstock.
The Year 1000 can be summed up thus: perfect entertainment, imperfect history. But when it's this much fun, it doesn't really matter does it? And it's nice to think that maybe Monty Python got it right after all...
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