How to Survive in Medieval England (Paperback)
Video review by Dr Alexander Clarke
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Imagine you were transported back in time to Medieval England and had to start a new life there. Without mobile phones, ipads, internet and social media networks, when transport means walking or, if you’re fortunate, horse-back, how will you know where you are or what to do? Where will you live? What is there to eat? What shall you wear? How can you communicate when nobody speaks as you do and what about money? Who can you go to if you fall ill or are mugged in the street? However can you fit into and thrive in this strange environment full of odd people who seem so different from you?
All these questions and many more are answered in this new guide book for time-travellers: How to Survive in Medieval England. A handy self-help guide with tips and suggestions to make your visit to the Middle Ages much more fun, this lively and engaging book will help the reader deal with the new experiences they may encounter and the problems that might occur. Know the laws so you don’t get into trouble or show your ignorance in an embarrassing faux pas.
Enjoy interviews with the celebrities of the day, from a business woman and a condemned felon, to a royal cook and King Richard III himself. Have a go at preparing medieval dishes and learn some new words to set the mood for your time-travelling adventure. Have an exciting visit but be sure to keep this book to hand.
There can be few of us who have not wondered what it would have been like to have lived in particular periods of the past, but what if we faced the reality. Imagine you were transported back in time to Medieval England and had to start a new life there.Bradway Bugle - Spring 2022
This would be an alien world compared to life today. Life without mobile phones, ipads, internet and social media networks, when transport means walking or, if you’re fortunate, horse-back. How will you know where you fit in society? Where are you likely to live? What will you eat? What are your clothes actually like? How about money when there are no bank notes, cash machines or cheques? What about health, or crime?
All these questions and many more are answered in this new guide book for time-travellers: How to Survive in Medieval England. You can also enjoy interviews with the celebrities of the day, from a business woman and a condemned felon, to a royal cook and King Richard III himself. Have a go at preparing medieval dishes and learn some new words to set the mood for your timetravelling adventure.
Mount delivers a very easy, readable account of all the rules and regulations, the practices and pitfalls of living in Medieval England for the potential time‐traveller. I feel that this book would be an invaluable introductory addition to any person’s education of the minutiae of life in general at the time.Angela Blaydon - Family and Community Historical Research Society
Featured inRicardian Bulletin - September 2021
I absolutely loved this book. It was so easy to read, and was made fun by getting the reader to imagine what life would be like for them if they were to time travel back into Medieval England.Leanne Tuck - Good Reads
The book covered a range of topics, each in its own chapter, from clothing of the time, to medicine, food and drink and warfare. I found myself reading a chapter / topic at a time, which made the book really easy to dip in and out of.
I especially liked the "Top Tips" and "Did You Know" boxes that were scattered through out the book, my favourite of which was the anecdote about Cinderella's Ver slippers.
The author really made this book such an enjoyable read, there were little jokes and quips throughout the book, and it really kept me engaged.
What I like about this book is that is is really easily accessible and it doesn’t need to be read from cover to cover, although you can. I like this book as it’s one you can easily dip in and out of when you get that odd question.Medieval Sword School
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'...fascinating angles not often covered in other texts... such an accessible and smooth read for us that it is easy to forget the massive amount of research that went into preparing this volume.'Lisl, 'Before The Second Sleep' blog
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As featured in: 'How to survive if sent back to Medieval Kent'Dartford Messenger
I love my social history which tries to recreate the day-to-day existence of people who lived in the past. Written in the style of a travel guidebook, this takes in everything from where to eat, Medieval culinary tastes, to medical care, popular literature, fashion, and law.NetGalley, Joanna Arman
The style of writing was witty and engaging.
The information is presented in a clear and precise way that allows better understanding and depth of knowledge, and the extensive bibliographies provide guidance on further reading. The authors all managed to share the knowledge they have researched and do so in an interesting fashion. I highly recommend these books to budding historian.Rosie Writes...
Review of three 'How to Survive' books here
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I found this very interesting reading. Clearly, the author has done a lot of research and I like that the book was divided into different sections according to an aspect of life in Medieval England.NetGalley, Monica Mac
Clearly, if any of us were to time-travel, a lot of adjustments would need to be made! First up, would anyone be able to understand us, as the language was far different to what it is now. What would we do? I don't think being able to type is going to get us far, haha. And then there is the lack of vaccines and all the different diseases to contend with. It is a wonder that enough people survived these times to reproduce and then allow us to be (eventually) born!
I enjoyed this book, it was cleverly done.
4.5 stars from me.
These books are great because you can think of the questions and someone who is an expert can then give you the likely answer. Plus the great thing about these books is that they don’t have to read one, you can dip in and out. But when they are written by a great writer they are very informative and interesting to read. I also enjoyed all the little ‘Did you know’ and Tip sections that are dotted throughout the book. A really good read that I would recommend to everyone.UK Historian
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Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Amy McElroy
I'm sure we've all seen or heard the question: If you went back in time what item would you take with you? Well my answer is, a copy of this book!
It's full of interesting information including what you would eat, dress and do on a daily basis but it is also brilliantly funny.
There's details about how surnames were formed, the types of jobs available and things you should definitely avoid, from food to certain clothes, unless of course those clothes are correct for your station.
Mount includes interviews with some individuals across all classes that you may come across on your time travelling adventure, which are brilliant for giving further insight into medieval England but also into some of the more well known individuals from the time.
You definitely don't feel like you are reading a nonfiction book due to the interviews and humour but I learnt so much.
So if you are planning a trip back the medieval ages or maybe you are just interested, I would definitely recommend this book. Personally I don't think I would manage living in the medieval ages so I will happily just stick to having read and enjoyed the book.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think the book will appeal to those who enjoy imagining what life would have been like in medieval times, as the author does bring the past to life.Alison Wall, Local history groups
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sayani Sarkar
After a long time, I read such a wonderful book about medieval history. Toni Mount presents an enjoyable treat and a guidebook for time-travellers to England during the Medieval period (roughly spanning the 13th-15th centuries). What to wear? Where to eat? Where to stay the night? What currency should you carry? What jobs can you procure? What to do if you fall ill or get robbed on the countryside roads? Where to mend your shoes? Questions like these and much more are explored in this volume.
What makes this book different from the other historical guidebooks is the collection of interviews with historical celebrities and cooks and businesswomen, medieval recipes for a feast, herbal medicines, and a huge repository of etymological facts. For example, when the plague arrived in 1348 and thereby decimating the population across Europe, feudalism took a hit. The "villeins", people who had more freedom than the serfs, started leaving their lords' homes after the great pestilence arrived in search of more lucrative tenancies and higher wages. Since they were breaking the law, the word villeins became "villains", meaning criminals. The author does not overburden the reader with a deluge of dry facts. The book reads more like a personal conversation with a medieval guide taking you on a tour than plain non-fiction. It also has some clever and timeless insights on more serious topics like religion, law and order, death and mortality, class dynamics, and warfare. My favourite bits were food and cooking, medicine, fashion, architecture, and livelihoods.
Fun facts: A baxter is a female baker and a tapster is a female ale-seller. Turns out medieval England had many opportunities for women to work in various business establishments. So it wasn't all dark ages full of plague and grime and oppression.
It's a shame I haven't read other books by Toni Mount and I shall rectify that soon now I have enjoyed the present one. Her website has a wonderful quote which reflects her work and enthusiasm about bringing history alive for readers and students alike.
"Pleasure should mingle with study so that the student may think learning an amusement, rather than a toil"
- Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530)
I love to travel and time travel would be amazing, but until they invent that we have great books like this one.NetGalley, Jeni White
>From setting the scene to clothing, food and hospitality you can really imagine you're about to embark on a trip to Medieval England.
Get your shots, brush up on your Latin and grab this book as you step through time.
This was a really engaging read. The author has a lovely whimsical style of writing and the book is full of useful advice if one was ever to find onself In medieval England. I feel that I have a much better insight into the daily life of the people and their habits.NetGalley, Sue Burnside
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Michelle Louise
How to Survive in Medieval England is a time traveller's guide to making it through the basics of medieval life. Focused on the years between 1066 and 1485 the book covers things like clothing, housing, transportation, and religion.
What this isn't is an in depth guide to the period. It's not a political look at the time. Nor is it a sociological look. It's very clearly intended to be an armchair guide to a medieval newbie who wants to travel back in time to visit an ancestor of six.
The book is well laid out with each section clearly defined. In some places the author imagines interviews with people of the time, interviews which were based on primary sources. The writing style is engaging and easy to read. I zipped through this book in an evening.
Not only would this book be good for a time traveler, but it would also be a good starting point for a fiction author. It gives a lot of the basics of what life is like during the time and it covers the things that most fiction readers want to know: what the people ate, what they wore, and how did they go to the bathroom.
In all this book is a fun, light read that does what it sets out to do.
Seriously charming book. So easy and fun to read and packed full of interesting information. I loved how it was organized and liked how it wasn't a huge time investment.NetGalley, Leslie Hall
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Morgan Schaer
It is always important to have a good guide book when traveling and I for one am comforted by the idea that if I ever end up in medieval England then I am set.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Amanda Owens
I really enjoyed this book. It was truly an expansion on everything I learned in 10th grade World History. I absolutely loved the writing style; it felt like having a conversation with a friend.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Annie Buchanan
The author takes an actively engaging point of view with this daily-life vignette - the reader is a time-traveler heading to medieval England to study and experience life. What should the reader pack? How to prepare? What prophylactic healthcare steps must we do before we leave (vaccines, supplements, oral healthcare, and so on)? She goes on to provide glimpses into daily life and survival across a broad range of social strata, from peasant to lord and shows how they differ from one another.
Chapters are arranged thematically by subject: social structure & housing, religion & beliefs, clothing, food & shopping, health & medicine (some really hair-raising info here), work & leisure, families, warfare and law & order. The book is meticulously annotated and the chapter notes will provide a wealth of sources for further reading. There's also an abbreviated bibliography and cross-referenced index.
The book is modestly illustrated throughout with period illuminated pages showing scenes from domestic life, implements such as eating utensils and tools, and drawings of famous (and unknown) people going about their daily lives.
The fact that the book is layman accessible and engagingly easy to read will make it a very good choice for school or library acquisition. I would recommend it for re-enactors as well (SCA and soforth) as there are a number of good illustrations for copyable tools and eating utensils.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Makenzie Erickson
Toni's books are always a showstopper and this was no exception. Taking a whimsical turn down medieval England lane, I was absorbed and transported back to a time and place unknown. I enjoyed this so much.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Heather Bennett
This was a fun and entertaining look into the Medieval times, often funny sometimes gross but a good read all around!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Cathy Geha
Each chapter has information, illustrations, some warnings, and suggestions and scattered throughout are imaginary conversations with people of interest.
I can see this being use as a resource by teachers and authors, a book to be added to libraries, a possible reading selection for students, and of interest to those just wanting more information.
I found the book to be enjoyable and entertaining. I especially liked the interviews with historical figures... I recommend this book be on the reference shelf of any historical writer or fantasy writer.NetGalley, Lora Angley
This was everything I expected it to be and more. This felt like a Lonely Planet travel guide for Medieval England. I really enjoyed the language, format and tone of this. Mount relays information in an easy, lighthearted way that is accessible for all. This could be read by anyone regardless of whether or not they had any prior knowledge of Medieval history.NetGalley, Samantha Bott
Mount includes fictionalised interviews with real figures that are rooted in reference materials from the time period. I thought this was a great way to engage a reader and really helpful in providing examples of different ways of life.
I think my favourite part might have been the section regarding Law and Order; there's a small reference to the trial of animals that is particular fascinating/bizarre!
Solid 4 out of 5 stars!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Kristine Fisher
Guidance on how you live, what you believe, how you look, what you consume and how you fight within mildly off-topic, helpful Did You Know's, information of things that you need to get used to and unlearn from the present day, and imagined narratives from those who lived in medieval times. Overall, it's less stuffy and more informative than other How to Survive's.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Heidi Malagisi
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were able to travel back in time to the medieval ages and had to start your life all over again? Could you make the transition from the 21st century to the medieval period with no electronic technology and different customs? What would you wear? How would you get around with no cars and horses being very expensive? Where would you live? What job would you have? These questions and quandaries are answered in the latest nonfiction book by Toni Mount aptly entitled, “How to Survive in Medieval England”.
I would like to thank Pen and Sword Books and Net Galley for sending me a copy of this book. I have found time travel books really interesting in the past few years, so I was intrigued when I heard about this title.
Mount has created a fun and creative guide for those who have a passion for medieval England. For clarification, Mount defines medieval from 1154 to the death of King Richard III in 1485. It’s quite a range, but it gives the reader a chance to see how England transformed during the medieval time. In this book, Mount gives her readers the everyday details that they would want if they traveled to the past or if they just wanted to better understand the past. The information that Mount includes is practical and easy to follow so that anyone who is jumping into the past can understand.
The true highlight of this title and what separates Mount’s book from other time-traveling books are the interviews. No, she does not have her own Tardis, but it feels like she might with these passages. Mount has taken historical figures, both well known and those who her audience might not be familiar with, and has decided to write discussions with them to better understand the past and the motivation for their actions. It is a brilliant way for an author who writes both historical fiction and nonfiction to express their craft in a unique and engaging way.
I have read a few time travel books and I have to say, this one is special. It is one that is engaging for history experts and novices alike. There are warnings, but Mount has also included a bit of humor to make sure that her audience realizes that the past was not always dark.
Medieval England may look drastically different than our 21st century, but if you break it down, the people of the past are just trying to survive the best that they can just like we are. If you want a handy guide to take on your journeys to the past or you just want a book to better understand the past, I highly suggest you read this book, “How to Survive in Medieval England” by Toni Mount.
This book is a fun introduction to the time period and setting... the chatty tone and casual asides creates for an entertaining read that's anything but heavy, with a few tidbits sprinkled in that will give the reader fun trivia to explore.NetGalley, Beth Revis
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Zuzana Bicikova
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was a bit frivolous but thoroughly enjoyable and unexpectedly informative fun read. It sums up a medieval day-to-day life in 10 chapters, each dedicated to one aspect of life, for example health, family or law and order. I took the book on vacation and because I guffawed every once in a while when reading it I had to share funny bits with my friend who constantly asked what I'm laughing at. This was a win.
This was a fun, interesting read. Suitable for adults, as well as for middle to high school students. The author gives an excellent overview of what it would have been like to have been transported in time to Medieval England. What you would eat and what you would wear. How you would be expected to act, and how to stay out of trouble. What to do if you get sick (spoiler: just don't).NetGalley, Randal White
I see that the author has written several other books. I have already downloaded the first one on my Kindle, and look forward to reading it. I guess that alone should alert you that I think she is very good, and that you, also, might like to read her work.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Chris Hallam
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to travel back to the medieval era? Toni Mount has.
With this in mind, she has thus written this very accessible and highly readable, popular history book which is presented in the form of a visitor's guide for anyone wishing to take an experimental traipse through the English landscape at any point between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and Richard III's defeat at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 which heralded the dawn of the Tudor age and the end of the medieval period.
Were such a journey actually possible, of course, you might very well decide to give such an excursion a miss. Life in medieval times was tough: Literally half the entire population was wiped out by plague in the 14th century, for example. The book is full of ''Top Tips' such as: "Always keep your purse hidden out of sight under your clothes. Medieval thieves are known as 'cut-purses' for a reason. But at least there are no pickpockets as pockets haven't been invented yet."
There are also insights into medieval attitudes: society was often divided into those who prayed (nuns, monks and other church people), those who fought (soldiers and sailors) and those who laboured (the majority).. There are also interesting 'Did you knows?' littered throughout including the rather alarming intelligence that every person living today has so many potential ancestors that were it possible to travel back to the year of the 1215 Magna Carta, four out of every people you would meet would potentially be your own forebearers! The only reason this is not true is scarcely any more reassuring. All our ancestors out of necessity often paired up with their own cousins.
Such ickiness aside, this is good read, not a science fiction book at all but full of interesting titbits about what medieval people ate, wore, read (if they could read), how they married, worshipped, fought, relaxed, made money, had sex, travelled and sang.
It is a good, highly informative book. But if, as has been said, the past really is a different country then medieval England should be added to the 'Red List' without delay.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Dawn Lewis
I think I spent almost as much time laughing as I did learning while reading "How to Survive in Medieval England". It's a whole heap of fun, completely fascinating, beautifully written, and full of "OMG" facts (look out for the "Cinderella" part in particular!). If anyone manages to invent a time machine, I'd be quite happy to test my survival skills in Medieval England now I've read this book!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Helen Pryke
This was a fun book to read, with lots of information written in an easy-to-read style that keeps you interested all the way through. I loved the idea of making it into a time-travelling guide, and comparing medieval lifestyles with 21st century ones. A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed!
An enjoyable what to do/what not to do journey through the Mediaeval era, with tips and facts on every facet of life back then.NetGalley, Kim Crawford
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, LOIS ELIYAHU
I am ready to take a trip back in time to medieval times after reading this amazing guidebook. It leads you through all the facets of life that will enable you to blend in and keep well clear of the stocks.. The book is divided into sections, for example, food, health, and the law..A wonderful social history. I was fascinated by the sumptuary laws.
It is lively, informative, and engaging.. My only addition would be to add - Don't be a solo traveller. Take a friend for companionship!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Gemma Rose
I really enjoyed #HowToSurviveInMedievalEngland and learned some new things about everyday life in that time. I definitely wouldn’t want to stay long as a time traveller though!
If you have enjoyed Ian Mortimer’s Time Traveller’s Guide series like I did, chances are you will also like this book. Something I particularly enjoyed was the interviews with historical figures! I will be looking out for further books by this author.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jenny Quinlan
Excellent ! Informative, engaging and accessible.
I hadn't come across the Bishop and the caterpillar court case before!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso
I'm addicted to "How to Survive" books as I love the mix of historical facts and humour.
This one is no exception.
I learned a lot about Middle Age in an entertaining way.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Janet Perry
This book is an excellent addition to this series. All too often histories ignore the elements of everyday life. In this book, you become a time-traveler to medieval England and look at all aspects of life for people at all levels.
With tips, excerpts from medieval writings, and lively interviews, this is an engaging book.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Diane Hernandez
Medieval England from 1154-1485. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. OK, it was the worst. But you are stuck here so you might as well make the best of it. Your time machine has accidentally thrust you here. How do you navigate life before the Internet and Alexa? Use the How to Survive in Medieval England guidebook. The guide has everything a lost time traveler, or an author setting their book in this period, needs to know. You wouldn’t want to confuse a forest with a woodland, would you?
Enchanting look back at how I would be dead in a minute if I lived in Medieval England. I’m not sure how my ancestors survived. Though, of course, I’m glad they did.
If you ever think that the age of knights and damsels in distress was exciting or romantic, How to Survive in Medieval England will set you straight. You were more likely a serf or a slave than a king or even a merchant. And everything was trying to kill you.
This is a great read for those interested in the lifestyles of the period. Perfect, as I’ve said, for authors of books set within the period. Plus, it’s pretty eye-opening that only the Plague allowed the poor a chance to better themselves. 5 stars!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Sheri O'Neill
I want to start off by saying what an interesting, fun read this was. I really enjoyed how it was written in a travel guide style. It made me feel like I was really going on a trip and what to expect, as if I were researching any other trip that I would be going on.
I'm a huge history buff, and medieval times are my favorite time period in history. I was thrilled to find this book and be able to read about it. I love the tips sections, and the little "interviews". It's obviously very well-researched.
I felt that it offered a fun and funny overview of life in the Middle Ages, and it was interesting and very informative. I plan on purchasing the hardcover when it comes out. I enjoyed the photos included. Such an enjoyable read.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Jeannette Koenhein
I have always been interested in Medieval times. So when I saw this book I knew I needed to read it. A time traveller to Medieval England? Count me in!
The book tells you exactly what to expect should you time travel to medieval times and let me tell you: it ain't pretty! What would you eat, wear, drink and where how would you live? Your life expectancy, marriage, divorce, religion, medicine. Wow. I knew my romance novels were not exactly spot on but .. ok... Don't think the authors will use this book as research because the romance is sucked right out of you haha.
I have never been happier to live in the 21st Century :-)
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Joanna Novick
This is a great little book for offering some basic information (or perhaps introduction) to anyone beginning to study, or simply just interested in, Medieval England. This particular edition is part of a larger series, all of which seem to be popular and well-reviewed. As a student of medieval history, I was pleased to see that, not only was the information correct, but it included facts beyond what would normally be found in succinct, age-appropriate overviews (rare as they are). The material covered, along with the language, is not overly simplified. As a librarian working with both middle and high school students, it is incredibly difficult to find historical material on this subject that falls between elementary grades and college/graduate level, so books like this are especially welcome. Due to the irreverent approach to the history itself, this book may initially appear to be aimed at younger readers, however, I could see this being placed in a high school or middle school level library collection
In addition to an index, this book also has a pretty handy table of contents that is actually more useful than many other reference (or reference-like) sources. Each of the main sections, such as “Family Matters” - is further divided into smaller areas of focus (marriage, divorce, women’s roles etc…) which makes finding specific information fairly straightforward. Furthermore, each chapter (including the images used) includes footnotes, and some decent bits of primary source quotations and information as well.
While this book may have been written as an extracurricular, yet informative read, it can absolutely be used by students as a solid reference source.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Saffron Melnyk
I really enjoyed this book; it is both historically accurate and humourous. I'd describe it as a less grizzly version of the horrible histories series, but for adults. The layout kept the pace and held the readers interest, and I especially appreciated the parts which showed how certain words came to us from medieval times. I hope the author will write more in this series
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Brenda Carleton
Author Toni Mount has such a clever way with phrasing words! Medieval life wouldn't have been all that funny but Mount uses wit and humour to inform and tell stories in a fascinating and engaging way. The book is chock full of interesting information, definitions, conversations and illustrations which will be critical for us twenty first century time travelers as we navigate the medieval era. We go on a journey and meet many people on the way, including their expressions and vernacular of the time. Brilliant. We watch their interactions, where they bake and eat, what they do at their jobs and at home, what and how they eat and drink and the hats they wear.
I have read every book on the topic that I can get my hands on and was excited to see this one. I learned more about the strict Forest Law, professions (inconsistent spellers need not be concerned), how to create Jowtes with Almond Milk, laws to regulate the length of long-toe shoes, the reason for cushions in the bath, busted medical myths, marriage vows, sharing a bed complete with a stranger and fleas at a guesthouse, entertainment, currency and loads more. Not only that but the author includes essential definitions for herriot, paliasse, solar, frumenty, codwainer, ayren, deodand and the origin of words including amaze and upper crust. I will not see "goose bumps" in the same light again!
This entertaining book should be on everyone's list if you are even remotely interested in the Medieval time period and how people lived then. For those of you who may be concerned, it is not written like a dry textbook. Far from it.
My sincere thank you to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this superb book! I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Mana M
Were you ever interested how life was in medieval times? Well, with this useful guide you will get all information you need to survive in these brutal and hard circumstances. Compared to medieval man, modern man is pretty weak and without necessary knowledge and skills for that time.
The book offers many answers and information in order to blend in with locals during the back in time adventure. Expect discomfort, dirt, hard work and language difficulties.
The reader learns about social structure and housing, beliefs and religious ideas, clothing and appearance, food and shopping, health and medicine, work and leisure, family matters, warfare and law and order. And all that with a great humour, witt and intelligible narrative, illustrations and photographs.
Superb book for all history enthusiasts!
That was so much fun! I loved the travel guide style, with all the tropes you'd expect to find in one.NetGalley, Andrea S
I have to confess, history was one of my least favourite subjects in school, and I never developed an interest in it later. I recently read a couple of fictional books set in medieval times, though, so when I saw this book I was curious to learn more.
It was an accessible and fun overview of life in the Middle Ages (although it seemed to focus more on 11-14th centuries). It was all interesting (maybe the parts about warfare and law less so for me), but I particularly loved finding out things like word origins, or why the tax year end on 5th April here!
May have to buy the book for a few friends I kept pestering with quotes!
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Emma Jacobs
This was very interesting and engaging. As somebody who loves history, I find some texts can be very daunting to read and over complicated. However, this book was very informative whilst making Medieval history very accessible for a multitude of readers. A great easy read for anybody wanting to dabble into the medieval world!
As the author writes in the preface, “This book is intended as a handy guide to the dos and don’ts for visitors to Medieval England.” It’s a clever way to explore just what life was like in England between 1154 and 1485, and how you would live if you somehow ended up in that place at that time.NetGalley, Jill Broderick
Topics include housing, food, employment, language, hygiene, medicine, religion, law, social stratifications, dress, and even sex.
For every topic, the author includes a section called “Did You Know” with lots of fun facts about the time, often relating to the origin of words we use now from back then. Sometimes there are also sections called “Top Tip” that gives you a useful piece of information you will need for success, such as to keep your purse hidden out of sight. As the author writes: “Medieval thieves are known as ‘cut-purses’ for a reason.”
I loved these language insights. As another example, the author points out: “The connection between bells and time-keeping is so close the word ‘clock’ is a misspelling of the French word ‘cloche’, meaning ‘a bell.’” Also, since it was the custom that married women covered their hair, a “loose” woman was one wearing her hair loose and uncovered, and therefore likely to be “of easy virtue.”
You will also learn from whence come the phrases “straight-laced,” “upper crust,” and “baker’s dozen.” You will find out why doctors couldn’t also be surgeons, and how “gossiping” came about.
Evaluation: This is altogether a very entertaining book and well as an enlightening one, and will satisfy the curiosity of those who wonder how they would fare in a world with no toothpaste, antibiotics, or fast food.
This was a neat little book, a quick read that would do well for anyone wanting an introduction to the world of medieval England. So often we get histories where we hear about great political events, but rarely do we hear about the minutiae of daily life for the masses. In particular, it would be useful for any historical fiction author interested in writing about the period, as it gives a lot of interesting detail about the circumstances and realities of everyday people. A couple segments seemed a bit juvenile and silly, such as the "interviews" with historic figures, but on the whole this was a neat and fun read.NetGalley, Claire Grothe
Shakespeare’s Henry IV lamented ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’. It was true of that king’s reign and of many others before and after. From Hereward the Wake’s guerilla war, resisting the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror, through the Anarchy, the murder of Thomas Becket, the rebellions of Henry II’s sons, the deposition of Edward II, the Peasants’ Revolt and the rise of the over-mighty noble subject that led to the Wars of the Roses, kings throughout the medieval period came under threat from rebellions and resistance that sprang from the nobility, the Church…By Matthew Lewis
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