Genre: Non-Fiction History
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: companion/similar books


The past is a foreign country, and this is your guidebook. Take a step back into Ian Mortimer’s guide and experience the Middle Ages like never before.

Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the 14th century. This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE TIME TRAVELLER’S GUIDE TO MEDIEVAL ENGLAND is an exploration at daily life in Medieval England, charting how cities, fashions, medicines, and much more changes over time. As the Middle Ages covers a large span of centuries, this book focuses solely on the 14th century (which is the exact period I am researching!) It’s a century of plague, war with France, expanding borders (Edward I conquers Wales), and unrest (Peasants’ Revolt). But the book barely touches on all that, instead walking you through what to expect if you suddenly found yourself cast back in time.

It’s a veritable gold mine of information for those either curious/wanting to get a social background to the history of politics/war. It’s so much easier to understand the Peasants’ Revolt once you understand the way the justice system worked, for example. Plus, if like me you’re researching for accuracy in writing etc, this is not a book to be missed (I promise I’m almost done with filling this blog with history research – only a few more reviewable books to go.)

Unlike any history book I’ve read before, this book is written in 2nd person, present tense. I can’t stand second person in fiction, but here it works so well as it feels like a guidebook – telling you what you’ll see when you go to city or what you’ll eat. It’s such an immersive way of bringing history alive, packed with all sorts of fact (my research note book is packed with information now!)

It’s such an engaging book. I kept wishing I didn’t have to keep stopping to take notes as I just wanted to sit back and read. It’s not dry or academic feeling, but also doesn’t have the “touristy” feel of a guidebook, because there’s space for elaboration where guidebooks have to cram selling points into a very short space. The prose is amicable, occasionally bordering on humorous. It’s not trying to be funny, but does have subtle traces of that very British dry wit in there.

I will definitely be picking up with other guides (Elizabethan and Restoration Period) at some point purely for the background it gives to history. Also, I’ll probably pick up his Henry IV book too that looks at his reign.

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