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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
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Nov 27, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in January, 1999

This is one of my favorite books - I read it years ago, when Willis won the Hugo Award for it -- but, speaking as a historian, I've rarely come across any other book with such meticulously accurate research behind it.

The protagonist is a young woman who wishes to travel (this is in the future - time travel is now possible, though extremely fraught with difficulty) all the way back to the Middle Ages - but BEFORE the advent of the Black Plague, which decimated Europe and Asia. In order to qualify, she has to come up with a believable story (young women of decent station did NOT travel alone then) - After crafting a story, she learns the version of English used at the time, weaves and hand-dyes her clothing, and any number of details so as to be believable -=- and travels.

I'll leave the reader there, because so very much happens (and goes wrong) that the book is in absolute MUST read for anybody curious about just HOW different life was back then.

Oh yes - she's also required to have most of the nerves in her nose de-sensitized because the Middle Ages SMELLED!!!

Michael Crichton wrote a book on almost the same exact subject (time-trvel to the middle agesZ) - but his book is most definitely NOT researched very well. He basis his travel on a fascinating examination of String Theory, but he got the Mediaeval aspects of the book so totally wrong that it completely ruined the book for me. Now, his book came out at least 5 years after Willis', so I did have the advantage of having read the better book first. Seriously, tho, this is one book NOT to be missed by anyone even partially interested in what the Middle Ages and the effect that the coming of the Black Plague had on those poor unfortunate people.
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