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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England [Hardcover]

Ian Mortimer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
Price: 20.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?

In this book Ian Mortimer answers the key questions that a prospective traveller to late sixteenth-century England would ask. Applying the groundbreaking approach he pioneered in his bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, the Elizabethan world unfolds around the reader.

He shows a society making great discoveries and winning military victories and yet at the same time being troubled by its new-found awareness. It is a country in which life expectancy at birth is in the early thirties, people still starve to death and Catholics are persecuted for their faith. Yet it produces some of the finest writing in the English language and some of the most magnificent architecture, and sees Elizabeth's subjects settle in America and circumnavigate the globe. Welcome to a country that is, in all its contradictions, the very crucible of the modern world.


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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England + The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head; First Edition edition (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847921140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847921147
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 24.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Mortimer has BA, PhD and DLitt degrees in history from Exeter University and an MA in archive studies from University College London. From 1991 to 2003 he worked for several archival and research institutions, including Devon Record Office, the University of Reading, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts and the University of Exeter. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998, and was awarded the Alexander Prize (2004) by the Royal Historical Society for his work on the social history of medicine. His PhD was published by the Royal Historical Society in 2009 as 'The Dying and the Doctors: the Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England'. He is also the author of two volumes of early modern manuscripts and numerous articles in the scholarly press on subjects ranging from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries.

He is best known as the author of 'The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England', which was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2009 and 2010. He is also the author of a series of four sequential medieval biographies, 'The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer' (covering the years 1306-1330), 'The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III' (covering 1327-1377), 'The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England's Self-Made King' (covering 1377-1413) and '1415: Henry V's Year of Glory' (covering 1413-1415). A volume of scholarly essays, 'Medieval Intrigue: Decoding Royal Conspiracies' provides several of the in-depth pieces of research that support the more difficult and contentious aspects of these books, and includes his important essay on understanding historical evidence. He lives with his wife and three children on the edge of Dartmoor.

For more information, see www.ianmortimer.com

Product Description

Review

"It is a magnificent social history, rich and scholarly, but with the verve and intrigue of a great novel" (Rory Clements)

"As Mortimer puts it, 'sometimes the past will inspire you, sometimes it will make you weep'. What it won't do, thanks to this enthralling book, is leave you unmoved" (Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday)

"An astonishingly colourful portrait of an astonishingly colourful era, one sophisticated enough to include, and make sense of, all its contradictions. It is as if Mortimer has restored an old painting, stripping it of its cloaking layers of brown varnish to reveal its vitality and life afresh" (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph)

"Mortimer brings...depth and flair to the age of Shakespeare and the Virgin Queen. From dental hygiene to table manners, the findings fascinate - even if we don't wish that we were there" (Independent)

"Ian Mortimer triumphs. Using a heady mix of historical fact, original documents and intelligent guesswork, he pieces together not just how the Elizabethans lived but how they thought" (Nigel Nelson Tribune)

Book Description

From the author of one of the biggest-selling history books of recent years, the follow-up to The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. The past is a foreign country - this is your guide.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb book which brings the past alive 28 Feb 2012
By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a highly entertaining, fascinating and very readable book, which treats the reader to the closest thing we will ever get to an understanding of what it would have been like to live in the reign of Elizabeth 1, short of actual time travel to see for ourselves.

Mortimer covers all aspects of life for Elizabethans, through the creation of a guide book for the time traveller. He explains what the landscape would have looked and smelled like in the countryside and in the towns, and what life would have been like for people living in the numerous and often confusing social hierarchies. He gives advice to the time traveller on, amongst other things, how to educate your children, how to travel, how to follow your religious beliefs safely, what to eat, what to wear, and how to conduct yourself politely. Throughout, Mortimer provides fascinating accounts of life, with numerous anecdotes to bring the past alive.

This is every bit as good, and maybe even better, than The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, by the same author.

Quite superb - highly recommended

.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER GREAT BOOK. 8 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I love all Ian Mortimers books be they fact or fiction. This book gives a true & interesting account of life in Elizabethan England. Ian Mortimer writes in such a way that history comes to life & you really feel that you are standing on which ever street that you are reading about. Even the smells drift out of the pages & he paints such a vivid picture that you see every detail in your minds eye.
Ian Mortimer makes history fun to read & his books get better with each new publication. Buy this book, read it & most of all enjoy every word.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 25 Mar 2012
By SAP VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Really describes things vividly. The time-traveller angle could be seen as just a gimmick or gambit, but it really acts as a convenient pretext/excuse to explain all the things that other narrative history books don't find time to. How did people greet each other? What did they wear? How much was a beer? Etc. This book is first class and I didn't hesitate for even one second to give it five stars.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 28 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Ian Mortimer's previous Time Traveller's Guide a lot, and this sequel didn't disappoint. It brings Tudor England to robust life. I found the chapters on food and clothing particularly vivid. It's well-organised and flows easily from topic to topic, and I'd recommend it just as much for a beginner as for someone who's already steeped in the period. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forsooth, a Good one! 21 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another of Ian Mortimer's guides to English history. He brings it alive, and tells it as it really was, how the 'ordinary' people lived, rather than the Queen's Court and the privileged classes. It is a beautifully written social history, and shows vividly how difficult life was. Forget the pageant and pomposity, this is life in the raw, uncomfortable, unhealthy, hard, boring, little education, no real democracy, no welfare, much poverty. Yet Mr. Mortimer does have a light touch; he can be amusing as well as informative.
A great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time well travelled 11 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a fascinating and instructive work. Anyone would expect something dry and boring and very academic but, while being,of course, academic, this book is far from dry and boring. The author tantalisingly leads the reader through the unfamiliar world of Elizabethan England giving clear examples of the way of life he is describing and conjuring up a fascinating world long gone. I was worried that the book would be queen and court centered, but he takes us out into the country and teaches us about a world of every-day life far from the heady world of the court, while at the same time not losing sight of Elizabeth's world. I am researching this period myself for another topic (The Devils of Denham) and did find one small mistake in the text. I contacted Mr. Mortimer through his agent about this and received immediately a very charming reply from him. I haven't yet read his guide to mediaeval England but intend to read it shortly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtual Time Travel - this is it! 4 May 2012
By Jen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ian Mortimer's "A Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England" is an absolute joy. If you wanted to know what it felt like to live in our fair land at the end of the 16th/early 17th century then look no further than by reading Ian's detailed descriptions by one who seems to have already lived there. Everything is accounted for - so if you're preparing for a trip back in time you will not be caught unawares as to what to eat, what to wear, how to travel, how to behave and what to say plus you won't be thrown off guard when challenged for your money or you life! A thoroughly enjoyable journey into Shakespeare's time and that of good Queen Bess.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RJS 21 April 2012
By RJS
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I think I must have read everything on the Tudors I can get my hands on so I was a bit sceptical that this book could tell me something I didn't already know. This book is fantastic and presents information about everyday life in Elizabethan England in a very clear, interesting and accessible manner. It is split into shorter subject areas and 'guides' you around Elizabethan England and explains what you will see and why. It is well-sourced with original accounts. Excellent book - a new take on a very saturated subject-area.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 4 hours ago by steph
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Fascinating
Published 17 days ago by S. Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars History made easy
You can really feel what life in those days must have been like both for ordinary people and the rich or elite. An entertaining way to obtain knowledge.
Published 1 month ago by Cordelia Crumb
5.0 out of 5 stars Mortimer is on a winner
Ian Mortimer is on a winner with this format. How many of us have read history books and wondered what people ate and wore, what their houses were like, and what life was like for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Derek Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Travellers Guide
I find this book enthralling,if you have an interest in history,this author makes the subject come alive,and you feel as though you have actually lived in the Elizabethan Era.
Published 2 months ago by d g green
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st class
Ideal for filling in the gaps of basic history especially of the period. If this is anything to go by I'll be looking out for the other books in this series written by this author
Published 2 months ago by Vic Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History book
To borrow the phrase from the famous advert, this does what is says on the cover. Mortimer whisks you back in time to Elizabethan England and takes you on a journey throughout that... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Very good book. My mother-in-law was very happy with it, apparently very well written too.
If interested in Elizabethan England, definitely recommended!
Published 4 months ago by Liz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insight
I have enjoyed studying the Elizabethan era, but much information is based on Court and wealthy individuals so this book gives details of normal people in every day activities and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by June57
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Like all other books by Ian Mortimer, a really good and fascinating read: the sixteenth century comes alive, smells and all.
Published 6 months ago by J Gozzi
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