Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review - The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

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About the Book
In The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England, historian Ian Mortimer shows that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. Through diaries, letters, books, and other writings of the day, Mortimer offers a detailed portrait of daily life in Shakespeare’s England, answering questions that go largely ignored by other historians.

Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, Mortimer recreates the sights, sounds, and smells of the streets and homes of sixteenth century England. He details what both peasants and royals wore and ate and how they would have been punished for crimes or treated for diseases, while simultaneously illuminating the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes towards violence, class, sex, and religion. Mortimer also indulges the public’s unquenchable thirst for all things Shakespeare, following his life as well as the lives of other luminaries of the period, such as Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, and even Queen Elizabeth herself.

The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England presents an exceptionally entertaining and nuanced picture of England during this extraordinary time, showing us a country awash in discovery and military victories, and yet wracked with religious conflict and famine. Mortimer deftly illustrates how this time and place where life expectancy barely reached into the thirties also managed to produce some of the finest writing in the English language and saw Elizabeth’s subjects settle the New World and sail around the globe. Novel enough to interest those with previous knowledge of Elizabethan England and accessible enough to captivate those without, The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England is popular history at its best.

About the Author
Ian Mortimer has BA, PhD, and DLitt degrees in history from Exeter University and an MA in archive studies from University College London. From 1991 to 2003 he worked for Devon Record Office, Reading University, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, and Exeter University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998, and was awarded the Alexander Prize (2004) by the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England. He lives with his wife and three children on the edge of Dartmoor, in the southwest of England. Please visit Ian at and follow @IanJamesFM.

My Take on the Book
This was an amazing book that was so well researched. From beginning to end you are transported and if you close your eyes you truly can visualize the location that you have been taken with its sights, sounds and smells. As someone who has always been intrigued by this period of time and for me the plays that came out of this period,  loved reading and learning more from this in-depth book. The book goes so much more in-depth than other books I have read about the times and this alone makes it a book that I would highly recommend. However, this book goes even further and makes you a part of the world in which the book is about which makes the book unforgettable. I highly recommend this for any history buff!

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