Medieval Intrigue Paperback – 15 Oct 2008
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[Mortimer] revisits the methodology of medieval history, analysing numerous key historical texts in a new way to shed a refreshing light on the facts.' --Your Family Tree
About the Author
Ian Mortimer is the author of the bestselling The Time-Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, a series of four medieval historical biographies and a revolutionary study of medicine in early modern England. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (by whom he was awarded the Alexander Prize in 2004) and a qualified archivist.
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Top Customer Reviews
It has to be admitted that this is not going to appeal to the casual reader because it assumes too much prior knowledge. The author expects that the reader will already know the background to e.g. the death/murder of Edward II to appreciate his reasons why alternative readings of events can be outlined. The first chapter outlines the Information based approach that Dr Mortimer is using and I found that once I had fully taken this in, then the individual chapters became really exciting and thought provoking.
I cannot however recommend this book to readers of his other studies of the period for the following reason. I agree with the reviewer who has pointed out that the cover is rather misleading because it does tend to obscure the serious nature of the study: one chapter actually being devoted to arguing with specific critiques of the author's view that Edward II was not murdered in Berkeley Castle. After much thought I am still concerned by its marketing and am taking a star off the review for this reason. It is fair to say that this very serious study is being marketed in a way that will attract all the readers that were entranced by Dr Mortimers' other books on the period and that is unreasonable because it is not going to appeal in such a general way - in my opinion.
It is absolutely fascinating stuff but extremely hard going because it falls into the serious history arena. This is without doubt a tour de force as a study but again, the publishers are misleading us.
This book contains ground-breaking research. On some things, Mortimer goes back to touch on again (for example the Death of Edward II). On others, he is presenting new evidence and histories of various topics (one being the concept of the pretender. I found all of this very intersting. I won't say its all easy to comprehend-you might have to reread the first chapter to take it all in, but nonetheless you will fing many thought provoking histories in this book. Central is Mortimer's scientific theory that helps determine what can be considered fact and what can't
This book, for all its scholarship, is a great tool for historians and for history buffs. It's not an easy read-on the contrary, Mortimer himself has stated it is very hard-core history. However, that does nothing to jeperdise Mortimer's historiacl reputation. If anything, this book enriches it, for here is Ian Mortimer's answers to the scholars and academics who have questioned him for so long.
Mortimer has argued this case in a series of remarkable books, and he now re-states it, in the context of an explanation of his methodology. He makes large claims for his general theory: he claims that his approach constitutes a `revolution' (indeed a `double revolution') in historical technique' [p 38]; and appears to believe that his theories have something in common with those used by scientists. Yet he shares nothing of the scepticism of the scientist and, at times, openly declares a faith. One day he will be proved right, and what he has been saying for years about Edward II will be shown to be the truth [p 146].
Many would regard the writing of history as part of literature - an art, and not a science at all, in the same sense as maths, physics and chemistry. Whilst it is important to be as accurate as possible in finding and selecting the facts, we should not fool ourselves into thinking that we are re-creating the past, or even that we can be certain about it, or accurate in the way that mathematics and `hard' science are capable of being. We cannot construct theorems which use exact algebraic formulae; and we cannot conduct experiments, so as to falsify or confirm our theories. Ian Mortimer is not content with this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book,excellent edition and more than fast delivery.only 3 or 4 working daysPublished 12 months ago by Costas Eleftheriou
Ian Mortimer, whilst poor on tv, is a most interesting and talented writer. Possibly one of our very best non-fiction, historical writers at the moment. Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2014 by Rev Tony Norton
Not a book for the casual reader, you really have to know the topics tackled to appreciate Ian Mortimer's work. Read more
Ian Mortimer has developed and interesting new approach to historical reconstruction, based on information streams rather than on weight of evidence. Read morePublished on 4 April 2013 by Jonathan Barber
Ideas arising from Ian Mortimer's "Medieval Intrigue", 2010
-did Edward II die in Berkeley Castle on September 21st 1327? Read more
While I see that some reviewers of this book seem disappointed that Mortimer does not follow his typical pattern, this is a fantastic book! Read morePublished on 14 Jan. 2013 by SB
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