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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

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The past is a foreign country - this is your guide. We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. 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 ag The past is a foreign country - this is your guide. We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. 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 reveals a country in which life expectancy 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, 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 past is a foreign country - this is your guide. We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. 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 ag The past is a foreign country - this is your guide. We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. 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 reveals a country in which life expectancy 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, 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.

30 review for The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X

    Fantastic book. It is everything-but-the-politics guide to Elizabethen England which was a paradise for the wealthy and a dreadful place for the urban poor. Just as in any other time. Food and feasting and fabulous hand-embroidered clothes for some, near-starvation and rags and an early death for others. Nothing really changes. The rich think they run things (they usually do). The middle classes have enough to do as they like, but not enough to not actually do something, and the poor are beholde Fantastic book. It is everything-but-the-politics guide to Elizabethen England which was a paradise for the wealthy and a dreadful place for the urban poor. Just as in any other time. Food and feasting and fabulous hand-embroidered clothes for some, near-starvation and rags and an early death for others. Nothing really changes. The rich think they run things (they usually do). The middle classes have enough to do as they like, but not enough to not actually do something, and the poor are beholden to both for work, food and lodging. Socialist governments have provided a thin sheet instead of a security blanket for those who cannot help themselves. But, as someone deep in antiquity once said (and everyone else repeated over the millenia) the poor are always with us. Proper review to come. Next: The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain: Life in the Age of Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and The Great Fire of London

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    We all know why Elizabethan England fascinates us and Ian Mortimer is a wonderful guide. His sense of humor and level of detail bridges any gaps in understanding why Elizabethan England may not be a place we would want to live. Mortimer expects us to have pre-conceived notions and to develop questions as we read. We may, for instance, subscribe to the notion that Elizabethan England was a period of the flowering of art and language, and it was…to a point. By carefully going through all the conti We all know why Elizabethan England fascinates us and Ian Mortimer is a wonderful guide. His sense of humor and level of detail bridges any gaps in understanding why Elizabethan England may not be a place we would want to live. Mortimer expects us to have pre-conceived notions and to develop questions as we read. We may, for instance, subscribe to the notion that Elizabethan England was a period of the flowering of art and language, and it was…to a point. By carefully going through all the contingencies of leadership, life, and labor, he shows us that life was difficult at best—the early, and not quite thought-out beginning of city living. Cleanliness and sanitation were two of the most off-putting descriptions Mortimer shares, but we also shrink at “medical care” and the somewhat arbitrary nature of punishment and death. On the pro side, world-wide exploration was in its infancy, and it must have been thrilling to discover new products coming in from overseas, changing the way people thought about their own culture. People were reading—even women—and while much of what was available to them were religious tracts, there began to be something more as the period (1550-1600) wore on. Mortimer gives us statistics on how many books were being published and the results are startling. My greatest interest in the period had been language: there are so many words no longer in use which seem to capture something unique in the lives of people: Mortimer spends some time explaining words, even words we use now for their meanings might well have changed since the sixteenth century. Just the list of tradesmen and merchants brings on a long period of daydreaming: tucker, tailor, baker, victualer, cutler, draper, cooper, currier, glover, hatter, hosier, cordwainer, costermonger, needlemaker, ostler, scrivener…the list goes on. Mortimer tells us “you won’t find the answers to [how to behave at table or how to tell the time] in traditional history books” so he attempts to address those gaps in our knowledge about everyday life. One of things I liked most about this non-traditional history was Mortimer directly addressing his readers: in the section on religion, he explains how Queen Elizabeth established a Protestant state and outlawed Catholicism. There was a long period of debate and discussion in the parliament before each infringement on the rights of Catholics to practice is enacted. The punishments for those found violating the strictures is profound and ugly, and Mortimer does not allow us to turn away. At the end of the chapter he exclaims in a one-sentence paragraph, “For the love of God.” Nearing the end of the book, Mortimer indulges us with a discussion of the theatre—who was writing, who was acting, who was watching. In other books (Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer), it is suggested that Shakespeare reached the height of skill and brilliance that he did because he had competitors for the affections of theatre-goers. Mortimer tells of the other great playwrights of the time and their successes, pushing Shakespeare to craft the most daring and innovative scripts for the greatest stage actors. He suggests that part of the thrill of watching a Shakespearean drama was the mirror-like action that reflected the lives of watchers…something that was new and innovative. Passion plays, or morality plays common at the time had morphed into theatre that showed human endeavor and failings and did not just teach but explained. No, perhaps I do not want to live there, but I am better prepared now for a visit. This is a great read for high school or college students because Mortimer does not neglect details and reminds us to think in a wholistic way about the life Shakespeare must have led. Mortimer anticipates questions we generate as we read and answers them thoroughly. It is a wonderful, absorbing history and if you don’t come out with a few new deliciously barbed and pointed swear words, I’ll be surprised.

  3. 4 out of 5

    NAT.orious reads ☽

    3.75 medieval ★★★✬✩ This book is for you if… you are a fan of historical fiction and do not possess too much advanced knowledge. (You might get bored quickly otherwise.) This book could be suited for very determined beginners. ⇝Overall. I've already read The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and enjoyed it very much. Admittedly, these books seem to be for you only if you're not possessing a lot of advanced knowledge of the history 3.75 medieval ★★★✬✩ This book is for you if… you are a fan of historical fiction and do not possess too much advanced knowledge. (You might get bored quickly otherwise.) This book could be suited for very determined beginners. ⇝Overall. I've already read The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and enjoyed it very much. Admittedly, these books seem to be for you only if you're not possessing a lot of advanced knowledge of the history topics at hand. Perfect for me, then. They give a clear impression of what life in medieval or Elizabethan times must have been like actually. Ian smartly splits his vast knowledge up into the following chapters. 1. The Landscape 2. The People 3. Religion 4. Character 5. Basic Essentials 6. What to Wear 7. Travelling 8. Where to Stay 9. What to Eat and Drink 10. Hygiene, Illness and Medicine 11. Law and Disorder 12. Entertainment These categories and their order make it feel like you're zooming in on the topic and England in the 16th Century until you feel like you've got a good grasp of everything that matters. Still, if I were to enter the Tardis to go on an Elizabethan adventure with The Doctor I would still very much want to carry this book with me, because there is a fucking lot to now about Elizabethan England. Maybe this was also the reason I felt pretty exhausted with the book around 75%. Through some points, Ian seemed to rush through and other topics practically dragged them out. I pushed through it though and felt very happy I did. ________________ Writing Quality + ease of reading = 3.5* pace = 3* enjoyability = 3.5* insightfulness = 5*

  4. 5 out of 5

    First Second Books

    We hereby conclude that people from the past were very strange.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This non-fiction work, much like it’s medieval counterpart, was super-informative and a great look back at the late 1500’s during Elizabeth I’s rule in England. There are so many details of life back then that were absolutely fascinating to read about. I loved the details the author presented on the people, religion, what a typical town looked like, what sort of social rules you should expect to follow for the times, what period dress was like, etc. Everything was so incredibly well-researched a This non-fiction work, much like it’s medieval counterpart, was super-informative and a great look back at the late 1500’s during Elizabeth I’s rule in England. There are so many details of life back then that were absolutely fascinating to read about. I loved the details the author presented on the people, religion, what a typical town looked like, what sort of social rules you should expect to follow for the times, what period dress was like, etc. Everything was so incredibly well-researched and a truly fascinating read. Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    If there is one modern historian whose works I am immediately drawn to, then it is Ian Mortimer. I can strongly recommend his earlier publications 'The Greatest Traitor-The life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Ruler of England 1327-1330', 'The Perfect King:The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation', 'The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England's Self-Made King' and '1415: Henry V's Year of Glory'. There appears to be a plethora of historical time travelling books appearing, su If there is one modern historian whose works I am immediately drawn to, then it is Ian Mortimer. I can strongly recommend his earlier publications 'The Greatest Traitor-The life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Ruler of England 1327-1330', 'The Perfect King:The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation', 'The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England's Self-Made King' and '1415: Henry V's Year of Glory'. There appears to be a plethora of historical time travelling books appearing, such as Matyszak's 'Ancient Rome on 5 denarii a day' and 'Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day'. Mortimer's 'The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: a Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century' was published in 2008 and is a book that has received great reviews, but I have yet to read. 'The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England', published 2012, is better than the Doctor's tardis. I feel after reading this excellent book that I have been back in time over four hundred years. The exquisite detail is typical of Mortimer's work. When explaining how cloth is dyed we get... "A brighter red, used to dye the broadcloth called scarlet, comes from kermes:a parasitic insect that lives on evergreen oaks in the Mediterranean and which, when pregnant, is killed with vinegar, dried in the sun and opened to extract its wormlike larvae. When rolled into little balls called 'grains' and soaked in water, these produce a bright red dye called 'grain'- hence the words 'ingrained' and, in connection with the worms, 'vermilion'." Ian Mortimer's writing is best summed up in his own words when he says "history is not really about the past, it is about understanding mankind over time. Indeed, it is only through history that we can see ourselves as we really are. It is not enough to study the past for its own sake, to work out the facts; it is necessary to see the past in relation to ourselves. Otherwise studying the past is merely an academic exercise. Don't get me wrong: such exercises are important-without them we would be lost in a haze of uncertainty, vulnerable to the vagaries of well meaning amateurs and prejudicial readings of historical evidence- but sorting out the facts is just a first step towards understanding humanity over time. If we wish to follow the old Delphic command, 'Mankind, know thyself', then we need to look at ourselves over the course of history."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    History lovers always debate which authors truly allow readers to “live” history (as much as one can from a modern soda). Most will agree that Ian Mortimer is a force to be reckoned with in this genre. Riding on the successful format of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”; Mortimer presents, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England”. “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” follows the form of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” of addressing the reader History lovers always debate which authors truly allow readers to “live” history (as much as one can from a modern soda). Most will agree that Ian Mortimer is a force to be reckoned with in this genre. Riding on the successful format of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”; Mortimer presents, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England”. “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” follows the form of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” of addressing the reader as an actual traveler through Elizabethan England and visualizing everything one would see, eat, wear, play, work as, etc; during the reign of Elizabeth I. The charm of Mortimer is the ability to bring all of these factors to life in a “fun” yet scholarly way. In fact, Mortimer’s knowledge, research, and details on the subject is impressive (and slightly overwhelming, at times). This detail can lead to some slower, bland spots. The structure of the topics covered makes sense and is cohesive while Mortimer has the uncanny writing strength of combining history with sociology, allowing one to understand the era more clearly and from different angles than previously considered. Mortimer reveals some new information concerning the era and also makes comparisons to both Medieval England and modern sensibilities in order to truly grasp and comprehend the relevance and impact of the information. On the other hand, Mortimer is also able to leave modern hindsight out of the equation when needed, in order to view Elizabethan England from the view of one actually living during the era. “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” does, unfortunately, display some choppiness as the narrative often switches from living history to the re-telling of events. These points are noticeably slower with a more macro view and traditional history style than that of the other sections of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” or of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”. At the same time, Mortimer does include the wit and humor he is known for which helps to break up the tedium. Also intriguing, is Mortimer’s use of unknown “everyday people” to describe the way of life; making the teachings relatable. The pace of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England picks up speed on page 110 when Mortimer follows the style of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” and focuses more on interesting facts (how “ye” was added to vocabulary, the origin of a penknife, what parchment to write on), what to wear, eat, who to talk to, etc; versus covering historical facts/events. The unique style of Mortimer is revealed at this point. A quip with “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” is Mortimer’s constant references to Shakespeare which is comparable to his many references of Chaucer in “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”. Neither are authorities in history and the quotes are overused. Also, although Mortimer includes some diagrams; more of them plus some photos would supplement the work well. The ending of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” is a suitable-enough summary (although, once again, focusing on Shakespeare). For academics, Mortimer offers ample notes and sources. Although “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” has a slow and shaky start, it eventually finds its groove and picks up pace. Offering insightful information for both those new and old to the topic; Mortimer entertains and educates. Sadly though, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” is not comparable to the strength of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”. However, don’t be discouraged: it is still creative and a great book for history, Elizabeth, Tudor, or England-lovers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Written in a manner similar to a travel guide (think an historical Lonely Planet), this book is a very interesting read. If you are interested in the minutiae of the period, rather than the sweeping acts of history we are all familiar with, such as the Spanish Armada and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, then this is an incredibly fascinating book. I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Elizabethan period. It will challenge what you think you know about the time perio Written in a manner similar to a travel guide (think an historical Lonely Planet), this book is a very interesting read. If you are interested in the minutiae of the period, rather than the sweeping acts of history we are all familiar with, such as the Spanish Armada and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, then this is an incredibly fascinating book. I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Elizabethan period. It will challenge what you think you know about the time period and the people.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    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 aris 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Brandes

    FAWKES would be totally lame and boring without the help of this book. FAWKES would be totally lame and boring without the help of this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Simmonds

    Not everyone can be interested in all aspects of Elizabethan life (not the casual reader anyway). Mortimer obviously is, and covers all topics, from chopping off hands to Shakespeare's sonnets, in detail. Detail is often a very good thing, and some little fascinating nuggets of information are what make this book enjoyable. However, there are some instances where we find out (in seemingly endless lists) exactly what Mr. and Mrs Elizabethan had in their house at the time of their deaths, or exact Not everyone can be interested in all aspects of Elizabethan life (not the casual reader anyway). Mortimer obviously is, and covers all topics, from chopping off hands to Shakespeare's sonnets, in detail. Detail is often a very good thing, and some little fascinating nuggets of information are what make this book enjoyable. However, there are some instances where we find out (in seemingly endless lists) exactly what Mr. and Mrs Elizabethan had in their house at the time of their deaths, or exactly how many eggs, quails, eels etc were stored in a kitchen. I am interested in social history, and enjoy learning about day to day life for the 'normal' people of the time, but I found myself skimming the long, long lists of how many pewter jugs they had, how many sheets etc. There are just too many of these - lines and lines of every single household object, which we've already learnt about as the person mentioned in the paragraph before had exactly the same things. So I knocked a star off my rating for that, sorry if that's a bit harsh. I didn't enjoy this book as much as Mortimers previous 'Medieval' offering, maybe because I knew more about the Elizabethan period initially. It was repetitive, and not as descriptive - because of the religious turmoil at the time, almost every chapter included some mention of faith, which I'd already read about in the chapter 'Religion'. I'm sounding a lot more disgruntled about this book than I actually am. I think because I enjoyed the medieval guide so much more that I was expecting a great deal from this one. It is actually a very good, enjoyable, informative read. It just dragged sometimes - but everyones view is going to be entirely personal to them as no-one is interested in the same things. Unfortunately for me all the topics I wasn't so excited about were all put next to each other in order of chapters - I enjoyed the latter half of the book much more. I loved the chapter on poetry and the theatre (being an actress) - some lovely choices of quotations and examples. Finally, a note for Kindle users. The pictures included with the book are all shoved at the end, are all black and white and teeny tiny. I've said this before about other Kindle books, and I hope one day they'll update their software so that Kindle users can view any illustrations or visual material how it was supposed to be shown, on a full page!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maricarmen Estrada M

    Really fun and interesting book. I read the Sensory Guide that Ian Mortimer wrote -and produced- which is an interactive ebook. With this book you may learn about the Elizabethan time and really enhance your reading experience through the audios and videos that are part of this amazing work. Books and movies do give us an idea of how life was like in different times of history, but Mortimer gives you a real trip through the senses, so you travel through time and have a close feeling of what you w Really fun and interesting book. I read the Sensory Guide that Ian Mortimer wrote -and produced- which is an interactive ebook. With this book you may learn about the Elizabethan time and really enhance your reading experience through the audios and videos that are part of this amazing work. Books and movies do give us an idea of how life was like in different times of history, but Mortimer gives you a real trip through the senses, so you travel through time and have a close feeling of what you would see, what you would listen. For instance, how life would be with all that silence and the actual sounds of just people and a few animals. Also, I almost experienced what people would likely eat and the flavors and a few recipes from that time. The section that probably struck me the most was the fear people had to live with. These were such violent times. Safety was out of the question. Health conditions and the treatment of illness and disease were so different from ours that people used to live in fear when facing them, not to mention how they intertwined these with religion and superstitions. I truly appreciate living in this time of so much access to information, health, safety, and more equality despite all the convulsions of our own time which allow us to have a quality of life and appreciation far bigger than those generations of a few centuries ago. Thank you for the great perspective of this book to Ian Mortimer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Not that I'd actually want to go back to Elizabethan England, 'cause on the whole, it sounds pretty freakin' awful, BUT if I did, I would be able to walk the walk and talk the talk thanks to this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susanna - Censored by GoodReads

    Perhaps not quite as good as Mortimer's guide to 14th-century England, but still an interesting and enjoyable read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    happy

    I found this book to be an excellent companion to the authors “The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.” Dr. Mortimer uses the same style, a traveler’s guide book, to tell the reader what life was like in Queen Elizabeth’s England of the mid-16th century. The Author divides the book into twelve sections and tells the story of how life was lived from the lowest of the low to Elizabeth herself. Having said that, much of the book is focused I found this book to be an excellent companion to the authors “The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.” Dr. Mortimer uses the same style, a traveler’s guide book, to tell the reader what life was like in Queen Elizabeth’s England of the mid-16th century. The Author divides the book into twelve sections and tells the story of how life was lived from the lowest of the low to Elizabeth herself. Having said that, much of the book is focused on how the upper classes lived there lives. Some of the areas that are explored include food and drink, housing, fashion and clothing, medical theory and how heath care was delivered, working lives, travel, the importance of religion and last but not least entertainment. This narrative is well researched and full of historical tidbits that I found fascinating. In addition to telling of the lives of the inhabitants, Dr. Mortimer also includes interesting, to me at least, facts about England of the 16th century. For example when he is discussing London, he states that at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign, its population was 70,000 and it was the 6th largest city in Europe. By the time she died London had grown to 200,000 people and was Europe’s 3rd largest city. Another example is that the average sheep weighed only 45 lbs. Some other topics that I found interesting were the development of the iconic Elizabethan ruff collar, a step by step tour of Shakespeare’s Stratford and the changing English language. The author cites several words that are still in common use, but whose meanings have completed changed over the centuries. I found this a thoroughly enjoyable read and would recommend to anyone interested in English History 4+ stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    L.K. Jay

    I really enjoyed Ian Mortimer's previous book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and this was a welcome sequel. We all know who Queen Elizabeth was, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh but this goes much deeper into ordinary life. Such as, what would someone have had for dinner, what underwear would they have worn and how much would they have earned? It's these little details that make history so interesting and there are lots of them I really enjoyed Ian Mortimer's previous book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and this was a welcome sequel. We all know who Queen Elizabeth was, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh but this goes much deeper into ordinary life. Such as, what would someone have had for dinner, what underwear would they have worn and how much would they have earned? It's these little details that make history so interesting and there are lots of them here. There are some really entertaining bits here, such as the chapter on how to dress and the fact that Elizabethans thought mushrooms for for elves to sit under. It is also very dramatic and human as well, there is great pity for the poor people and the section on justice is quite gruesome in places. Ian Mortimer paints a really vivid picture of life in Elizabethan times and this is essential reading for anyone interested in history and especially for those needing to do some research for that time. I hope there will be another, the eighteenth century or Victorian perhaps?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    A Goodreads Giveaway Book Ian Mortimer's book is perfect for students and adults alike being introduced to Elizabethan England for the first time. As he takes us through the daily ins and outs of peasants, journeymen, and courtiers,we get a taste of what it might have been like to walk on the streets of England under Elizabeth's reign. Great non-fiction for those interested in Early Modern England!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I really liked this book. I thought that it would come in handy just in case time travel becomes a reality. The recipes were really interesting but I will tell you that no matter what you do to eel, I will never eat it! No, no, no! Very informative book about the everyday life of the Elizabethan.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    When the Doctor shows up and wants to whisk me away to Elizabethan England, everything I read in this entertaining and well-researched little book will surely come in handy. So much fun to read, especially in measured doses: it is wonderful for putting oneself more accurately into the frame of reference of a fictional or historical character of this era!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Have you ever wondered what people in Elizabethan England ate, what they built their houses out of, how they spoke, or what they did for entertainment? This book answers all of those questions and more, giving you a picture of daily life that many other history books leave out. Every aspect of Elizabethan life is covered in detail, with sections covering topics from religion to entertainment. Particularly unique is the inclusion of information on the lives of the middle and lower class. I found t Have you ever wondered what people in Elizabethan England ate, what they built their houses out of, how they spoke, or what they did for entertainment? This book answers all of those questions and more, giving you a picture of daily life that many other history books leave out. Every aspect of Elizabethan life is covered in detail, with sections covering topics from religion to entertainment. Particularly unique is the inclusion of information on the lives of the middle and lower class. I found the first chapter of The Time Traveler’s Guide a little hard to get through. The description of the landscape made me hold details about what was in all directions in my head at once and it made it hard to see the big picture. If you experience the same thing, don’t let that deter you! The rest of the book flew by. Topics described were easier to picture and I found the glimpse I got of every day life in Elizabethan England fascinating. I particularly liked that the author would say things like “if you went up and spoke to one of those peasants…” or “as you’re walking down the street, you’ll most likely see…”. It made me picture being there very vividly. Another really nice touch was the inclusion of specific information known about real people. The statement “farmers kept most of their money invested in live stock” is far less interesting than hearing that “John Smith kept cows, sheep, and pigs that were worth most of his monetary value”. These examples made the information feel much more real, personal, and immediate. The direct quotes provided the finishing touch on the immersive experience this book provides. Some quotes were explained so well that humor transcended time, an impressive feat given how hard it is to translate humor across cultures. Overall, the many details, the quotes, the inclusion of the reader in the scenes described, and the personal touches made this the perfect book for getting a feel for the Elizabethan Era. This review first published on Doing Dewey.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    Listened to the audiobook and the narration was absolutely superb. I am so glad I was not born in this era. Elizabethan England did not sound such a good place to be. Knowing my luck I would have ended up being dunked in the river as I don't think I would have been one of the privileged few. I was really impressed with the audiobook as it gave such a fascinating glimpse into times past. Very well written. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cornelia Baciu

    Non fiction book and far from a cold academic look on the life of people during the Elizabethan period. So much detail about upper and lower classes said in a kind, objective and filled with humour manner. Thoroughly enjoyed it and Ian Mortimer travel guides rate always high on my reading list. So glad I discovered his work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Minna

    DNF at 30% I have to finally admit to myself that I will not finish this book. I picked it up at a time in which I felt like reading about the topic it discusses (and it is a very interesting topic), but I made the mistake of putting it down and starting another book. Now, 7 months later, I can’t get back into it. I think I prefer learning about the Elizabethan era through fiction rather than nonfiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Azabu

    Historian Ian Mortimer (The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England) escorts the Anglophile on a tour of his native country five centuries ago when 3 shillings afforded a visitor to the Tower of London a peek at its dungeons. This informative guide offers advice that ranges from fashion trends (ruffs and ruffles rule), diet tips (avoid tomatoes ) and how much to drink (guys, a gallon of beer per day) to why bathing is unhealthy and how many arrows to keep on hand (four). Has much changed? Back Historian Ian Mortimer (The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England) escorts the Anglophile on a tour of his native country five centuries ago when 3 shillings afforded a visitor to the Tower of London a peek at its dungeons. This informative guide offers advice that ranges from fashion trends (ruffs and ruffles rule), diet tips (avoid tomatoes ) and how much to drink (guys, a gallon of beer per day) to why bathing is unhealthy and how many arrows to keep on hand (four). Has much changed? Back in Shakespeare’s day, when sheep outnumbered Englishmen two to one, a pub crawl might well include a quickie with the landlord’s wife or a puff of tobacco on the communal pipe. Good manners required a gentleman to greet a woman with a full-on kiss on the lips, a custom that possibly explains why in 1563 over 17,000 people succumbed to the plague. Children were literally whipped into shape, creating a generation of skinheads. Today’s crime show fans yearn for the public executions, hangings and beheadings that kept Elizabethans entertained. Despite an appetite for blood, the reign of QE I endowed the modern world with the formal gardens that grace stately homes in the shires as well as the emergence of the morning meal. Starbucks owes a lot to the Queen.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    What a novel concept! A Fodor's guide for those of us ready to take the plunge and be among the first to time travel! This book's fun premise is just a mask for some seriously well-researched historical information, told in a very easy-to-digest, light-hearted manner. I found much of it surprising, some of it depressing (society's treatment of the poor and ill), and all of it fascinating. Mortimer leaves no area of Elizabethan society undercover, so to speak, so be warned that this is a book bes What a novel concept! A Fodor's guide for those of us ready to take the plunge and be among the first to time travel! This book's fun premise is just a mask for some seriously well-researched historical information, told in a very easy-to-digest, light-hearted manner. I found much of it surprising, some of it depressing (society's treatment of the poor and ill), and all of it fascinating. Mortimer leaves no area of Elizabethan society undercover, so to speak, so be warned that this is a book best left to adult time travelers. That having been said, this should be required reading for every Shakespearean actor, Renaissance festival geek, history major, or anyone considering becoming the Doctor's next companion. I can't wait to pick up this author's guide to 14th c. England. And I sincerely hope to see future titles from him detailing life in Enlightenment, Victorian, and Edwardian England. Just let me know when the time travel gets underway. I'm withholding one star on this review for the lamentable lack of maps or drawings in the edition I read. With so many colorful descriptions to enjoy, a few pictures would have been a perfect complement.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I first read Ian Mortimer's 'time travellers guide to medieval England' and I was in love. Here was a historian who could transport his readers actually into the past. When I heard he had released another based on Elizabethan England it was a no brainier for me to get my hands on it (thanks to the boyfriend for buying me it!). As much as I love detailed, academic texts Mortimer has made history interesting for more than just students and graduates of history. His prose is easy to follow and his I first read Ian Mortimer's 'time travellers guide to medieval England' and I was in love. Here was a historian who could transport his readers actually into the past. When I heard he had released another based on Elizabethan England it was a no brainier for me to get my hands on it (thanks to the boyfriend for buying me it!). As much as I love detailed, academic texts Mortimer has made history interesting for more than just students and graduates of history. His prose is easy to follow and his research so in depth; with some fun little quips here and there. Again I have nothing to fault with this book, I'm excited to try some of his more academia based work soon, they're currently saved on my amazon wishlist! Excellent, cannot recommend highly enough.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    This proved an informal and informative guide to life in Elizabethan England addressing the reader as if they were a traveller in time. It's an approach that I found very appealing as it allowed for comparisons between then and now. This was my first encounter with Mortimer's non-fiction and didn't realise until the author's interview on CD16 that he also writes historical fiction under the name of James Forrester (a couple of these are on my to be read mountain). The only issue I had was that wit This proved an informal and informative guide to life in Elizabethan England addressing the reader as if they were a traveller in time. It's an approach that I found very appealing as it allowed for comparisons between then and now. This was my first encounter with Mortimer's non-fiction and didn't realise until the author's interview on CD16 that he also writes historical fiction under the name of James Forrester (a couple of these are on my to be read mountain). The only issue I had was that with this being an audiobook the information at times did rather wash over me. As a result I've now checked the print version out of the library to allow for a closer reading of some sections.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    An excellent companion to the authors previous title A Time Travellers Guide to the Middle Ages. A wide ranging insight into the life of the man and woman of the period from the rich man in his castle to the poor man at his gate. Styled not as a traditional historical nartive but as a series of eassys grouped under themes. Here we cover subjects such as hygenie, entertainment and clothing. In which the reader is given a glimpse into the hopes, fears, sights and smells of the subjects of the virg An excellent companion to the authors previous title A Time Travellers Guide to the Middle Ages. A wide ranging insight into the life of the man and woman of the period from the rich man in his castle to the poor man at his gate. Styled not as a traditional historical nartive but as a series of eassys grouped under themes. Here we cover subjects such as hygenie, entertainment and clothing. In which the reader is given a glimpse into the hopes, fears, sights and smells of the subjects of the virgin queen. Interest will vary with the subject matter being covered but highly recommend to any history geek or curious reader. I can imagine consulting this book again when reading on the period.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Kay Silva

    This reminded me a lot of the BBC series where they pick you up and "transport you" to an intellectual journey of what life would have been like during ___________ enter period here. I like this approach. Its fun to explore and compare and contrast things that generally literature of the era does not point out specifically, and helps you get a feel for what it would have been like to live during these times.

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