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on 25 December 2016
I think that I can safely speak for many of us in the historical community (both writers and readers) when I say that we are - in the nicest way of course - rather nosy. That is, we want to know all about people from different times: what they looked like; what they did; how they did it. For instance, have you ever wondered whether people in the fourteenth century wore nightdresses or what the well off used to wipe their behinds with (I have!)? How about their pastimes, sense of humour or the difficulties of travelling?

Ian Mortimer's latest book: The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England - A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century certainly satisfies that craving for knowledge of the minutiae of daily life in the Middle Ages. The book is lovingly researched and well written with a light sprinkling of humour that makes it very easy to read. The style in itself is very original for a non-fiction historical book, using a `guidebook' approach that is a million miles away from the stuffiness of many `academic' books. Yet, happily, the book does not suffer from a lack of sincerity or historical integrity in any way.

The topics cover a broad range of subjects for the `traveller' from what the landscape will look like to what to wear, where to stay when travelling, and how to address different kinds of people that you will meet along the way. And then, of course, when they invite you to eat with them, you will know what food to expect. And then, of course, there is always the danger of falling ill. The Time Traveller's Guide is once again at hand to tell you not only what may be wrong with you (hopefully not the plague, or leprosy!) and what medicine is available to help cure it.
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on 7 February 2017
An unusual peek into the minutiae of the 14th Century. Generally hugely entertaining but sometimes dips into too much detail, for me, like lists of people's possessions.
If you are interested in the period an excellent read which provides a lot of good background for the more usual historical perspective.
Recommended.
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on 16 June 2017
This is a Great book for all ages and is the perfect introduction to Medieval life.

I’ve tried to read other History books and they’re usually a blur of dates, names & places and though important, they’re usually a hard read requiring a certain amount of background knowledge. This book doesn’t.
You learn about their dwellings, their clothes, what they eat and drink & about their health and hygiene amongst many other things. It really is fascinating and paints a brilliant visual picture of what life must have been like.

There is one grumble that other reviewers have picked up on. Lists are often supplied describing people’s possessions (for example), but one or two examples would suffice but too many are provided at times. I skipped through most of them in the end.

There are some nice picture pages in the middle of the book which are appreciated but I’d really like to have seen more illustrations throughout. The occasional little black and white illustration would have really capped things off.

Still, a brilliant little book and I will be buying more from the range.
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on 1 May 2017
Well written and researched. I read it in preparation for a tour of mediaeval English Cathedrals recently. Having read this book I had a better appreciation of the mediaeval buildings surrounding these great buildings, and an appreciation of the layout of the old parts of the cities remaining.
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on 27 May 2017
Very well researched but not all parts were of interest,so I skipped ,for example,the part about ships.
I would have appreciated more pictures to bring alive the descriptions.I discovered black and white pictures at the end of the Kindle edition but it was interesting that they were in colour in the print edition.The pictures were of poor quality and in effect hidden till I reached the end as were the footnotes.
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on 7 May 2017
Really interesting book but some chapters are bogged down in the details a bit too much which disrupts the flow of the reading. Some fascinating insights into medieval life though. I enjoyed the medicine/illness and literature chapters.
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on 11 June 2017
I knew nothing about medieval England. This book suggests what everyday life would haver been like. Very accessible style of writing yet still manages to provide plenty of information with footnotes. This has kindled a desire in me to learn more about this period - particularly its literature - as the section on this was very well explained by the author.
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on 26 May 2017
The author explains in much detail life in the 14th century. It can be a bit dry at times but nevertheless is interesting. If I retain a third of the facts I have read,v I will be very pleased. It would have been good to have had the illustrations embedded within the relevant text (I didn't know they were at the end of the book so the section on fashion and shipping were difficult) but it may be a technical issue.
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on 26 April 2017
An excellent book for those interested in how life used to be, free from Hollywood interpretations. The style of bringing the reader into scenes works well, making it easier to read without becoming silly. I particularly liked its focus on ordinary people as opposed to knights and battles which feature but less so.
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on 4 June 2017
I liked this book, as a re-enactor you can never read or watch a period film without tearing it to shreds.(machine, not hand-stitched etc)
I learnt from it, with only some repartition in the latter half.
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