Thursday, March 07, 2013

review: The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

The premise of this book is a great one in the sense that going back in time can be treated like a trip to a specific destination. Pack for your hols and usually one of the pieces of hand luggage will be a Rough Guide or Lonely Planet guide to the place you are going.

These travel guides provide the reader with a guide to where to stay, eat and what sort of sites to take in. But they also cover off cultural differences that can save you from making mistakes or getting into dangerous situations.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England is no different with chapters covering what to wear, what to eat and drink and a guide to the people and places of the fourteenth century.

In some ways it is a history book in disguise with the reader enjoying hearing about the differences in where you might stay depending on your background, without even realising its a fairly good guide to the fuedal class system.

The lessons you learn traveling back in time are surprisingly relevant for today's travellers with the dangers of crime and bad hygiene and food still at the top of most people's concerns all these centuries later.

In places the pace of the book inevitably slows but what keeps you going is the writing style and the power of description. the past does come alive thanks to Mortimer and as an idea its a great way of visiting the past without having to wander through dusty tomes full of dates.

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