Customer Reviews for

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

VIRTUAL REALITY

Ian Mortimer described his book as a virtual reality tour of fourteenth century England. He indicated his objective was to assist in an understanding of what we have been and inherited as being vital to our understanding of what we are today and what we may be in the f...
Ian Mortimer described his book as a virtual reality tour of fourteenth century England. He indicated his objective was to assist in an understanding of what we have been and inherited as being vital to our understanding of what we are today and what we may be in the future. I'm not sure if this objective was met. It appears to me that human nature hasn't changed very much but only our circumstances. This tour provided details of those circumstances usually ignored by historians that are more narrowly focused. These details included how people earned a living, how much money they made, how they spent their money, what they ate, what their houses were like, the nature of medical care, and some aspects of faith.

I was surprised that in a time period dominated by one Christian church that speech tended to be straight forward, blunt and crude by current standards. Nobody would have been offended by the town water source being named "S**t Brook" or a narrow alley being called "P*ss Alley". I was also surprised that food was comparatively more expensive in the fourteenth century than it is today. If crops failed, people starved. Medical care appeared to often be more dangerous than the ailment. Seriously ill people simply died. Few appeared to question that martyrs and saints could leave innumerable bones and skulls for display and reverence. The past is often visualized as pristine. However, the practice in towns of dumping animal carcasses and human and animal offal and garbage in the streets and water sources and the constant presence of smoke inside and outside dwellings indicated reality was far from pristine. I found this book to be fascinating and often surprising.

posted by LN_Adcox on May 22, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A Bit of a Disappointment

This was not nearly as much fun as I had hoped it would be. It holds no glaring inaccuracies, but neither does it have much wit or wisdom. Best for those who don't already know a fair amount about England in the Middle Ages.

posted by TeechTX on May 22, 2012

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    Posted June 17, 2010

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