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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan…
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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Ian Mortimer (Author)

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7112022,738 (3.88)21
" ... this popular history explores daily life in Queen Elizabeth's England, taking us inside the homes and minds of ordinary citizens as well as luminaries of the period, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake. Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, Mortimer relates in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail everything from the sounds and smells of sixteenth-century England to the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion. Original enough to interest those with previous knowledge of Elizabethan England and accessible enough to entertain those without, The Time Traveler's Guide is a book for Elizabethan enthusiasts and history buffs alike."--… (more)
Member:Rurlander
Title:The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England
Authors:Ian Mortimer (Author)
Info:Vintage (2013), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer (2012)

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» See also 21 mentions

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7/10 (good): I enjoyed this less than the author's [b:The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century|4936457|The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century|Ian Mortimer|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1328167619s/4936457.jpg|5002120], despite a stronger interest in this time period. It continues the aims of the first volume, by focussing on everyday life (food, clothes, health, etc.), rather than the significant events and people. But the problem seems to be that the sixteenth century has significantly more written records available than the fourteenth. So at times, there's too much repetitive detail, or even small lists of statistics. This takes away from the aims of the series, and makes the book both longer and less interesting. Nonetheless, it remains a helpful guide to a fascinating period. ( )
  mark_read | Aug 13, 2020 |
Good historical information marred by its tone. The 'time traveller' concept, used effectively by Mortimer in his medieval volume, is a good one; it allows the author to present the past quite literally as if it were a foreign country. Mortimer's history is good, and his descriptions of the 16th-century landscape, apparel and day-to-day activities are quite vivid. Unfortunately he seems driven to debunk the notion that Elizabeth's reign was a golden age in English history. In doing so he allots a disproportionate amount of space to practices and attitudes that would be considered cruel or unjust in the contemporary western world, giving the book an unnecessarily judgemental tone. Terrible things happened in Elizabethan England, and many of them still go in in the world today, but in a work of history I would prefer more objectivity and less polemic. ( )
  Lirmac | Jul 15, 2020 |
This is slightly better than the same author's guide to medieval England. He tends to remember more that he is writing a guide book, even if the tidbits of information he offers wouldn't really help the time traveller. (A list of vaccinations to get before going would be more useful than a list of bad medical practices.) He is not as obviously writing just for men, although he never gives advice on how a woman should behave to avoid trouble. Like the other one, this goes onto the bag of discards.

p.215 Barbarian actually comes from Greek barbaros, latin barbarus. What the ancient Greeks called anyone who couldn't speak Greek, but just said 'bar bar bar.' The Barbary pirates are from the Barbar or Berber coast from an Arabic word that may also come from the Greek. The Barbar pirates may have influenced the usage in Elizabethan English, but they are hardly the 'original barbarians'. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jul 15, 2020 |
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 period, from the highest court in the lands to the grime and filth of the London metropolis.

He starts with the landscape of the time, different in many ways to today, but also familiar as landmarks that we see now are recent additions to the places that he visits. Then onto the people. The class system rules; the aristocracy and nobility are in charge and there are different layers from gentlemen, yeoman, and artificers and all the way down to the poor. He all carefully walks round the religions of the day, from the now official Protestant faith the the suppressed catholic faith.

Now equipped with the fundamentals he takes you thought the basic elements that you need to survive in that society, from writing to the language, shopping to measurements, the travel arrangements that you need to make and the clothes that you need to be seen wearing. When travelling you are advised how to avoid criminals and highwaymen, and details on the diseases of the time. Having reached your destination , then some entertainment will be on the cards, before knowing where to stay. You need to keep your wits about you, life is harsh for anyone in the age. Sealing anything with a value greater than 12d means that you could endue being hung!

Most of the time it is written as if you are accompanying the guide, but occasionally he takes a wider view. There is a wealth of information in this book. Almost too much to take in in one go. It is a book to be dipped into and savoured because every time you go back to it you will find something new. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Perhaps my expectations were set too high, but I have to say, this book just was not as good as I hoped, or expected it to be. The majority of the book feels like a list of things a reasonably well-off visitor to Elizabethan England may observe or experience. I suppose it does as its title suggests; the majority feels like a travel guide, rather than a history book.

This results, though, in altogether far too many lists. Tell me the value of property left by the average middle class farmer on their death, by all means: I don't however, need a detailed list of what farmer A left, what farmer B left, what farmer C left, and so on.

I was also disappointed that the book seemed to focus on the wealthier end of society, talking of the poorer element only in terms of their most likely being vagabonds etc. having finished the book, I know what a courtier would eat, drink and wear, but know much less about what day to day life was like in the over-crowded parts of town.

Had I not been reading this for a book club, I suspect I would have taking a break from reading it, as I did reach a point where I was reading because I felt I had to, not because I wanted to.

But then I got to the last section, about the theatre. It may be that I found this section interesting because I have a latent interest in theatre, but I found this section of the book by far the most engaging. The description of the theatre, the playwrights, and in particular of Shakespeare, strikes me as being written by someone with a huge interest themselves on the theatre. The last 20 pages of the book are by far the most captivating. ( )
  TheEllieMo | Jan 18, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Mortimerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grady, MikeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
But when memory embraces the night
I see those days, long since gone,
like the ancient light of extinguished stars
traveling still, and shining on.

from "Ghosts," Acumen 24 (1996), p. 17
Dedication
This book is dedicated to my daughter,
Elizabeth Rose Mortimer
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Introduction
It is a normal morning in London, on Friday 16 July 1591. In the wide street known as Cheapside the people are about their business, going between the timber-covered market stalls. Traders are calling out, hoping to attract the attention of merchants' wives.
I
The Landscape
Different societies see landscapes differently. You may look at Elizabethan England and see a predominantly green land, characterised by large open fields and woodlands, but an Elizabethan yeoman will describe his homeland to you in terms of cities, towns, ports, great houses, bridges and roads. In your eyes it may be a sparsely populated land–the average density being less than sixty people per square mile in 1561 (compared to well over a thousand today)–but a contemporary description will mention overcrowding and the problems of population expansion.¹ Describing a landscape is thus a matter of perspective: your priorities affect what you see.
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" ... this popular history explores daily life in Queen Elizabeth's England, taking us inside the homes and minds of ordinary citizens as well as luminaries of the period, including Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir Francis Drake. Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, Mortimer relates in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail everything from the sounds and smells of sixteenth-century England to the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion. Original enough to interest those with previous knowledge of Elizabethan England and accessible enough to entertain those without, The Time Traveler's Guide is a book for Elizabethan enthusiasts and history buffs alike."--

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