Ian Mortimer

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Ian Mortimer

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Born
in Petts Wood, The United Kingdom
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January 2010


AKA James Forrester.

Dr Ian Mortimer is a historian and novelist, best known for his Time Traveller's Guides series. He has BA, MA, PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter and UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2004. Home for him and his family is the small Dartmoor town of Moretonhampstead, which he occasioanlly introduces in his books. He also writes in other genres: his last novel The Outcasts of Time won the 2018 Winston Graham Prize for historical fiction. His trilogy of novels set in the 1560s were published under his middle names, James Forrester. His most recent book is 'Why Running Matters'
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Ian Mortimer Many thanks for your kind comments. The next one will be a TTG to Regency Britain - but it's coming slowly, very slowly. Scheduled for publication in …moreMany thanks for your kind comments. The next one will be a TTG to Regency Britain - but it's coming slowly, very slowly. Scheduled for publication in 2020. I hope you're patient!(less)
Ian Mortimer Thanks for the question. To be honest, my interest in the Elizabethan period is no greater or less than my interest in the late medieval or the Restor…moreThanks for the question. To be honest, my interest in the Elizabethan period is no greater or less than my interest in the late medieval or the Restoration periods, or even the Regency. I suppose the sixteenth century is a bit of a high-water mark in our last thousand years, in that French had given way to the English language, and Catholicism to English Protestantism, and England's attention had shifted from rivalries with France to a wider outlook across the whole world and, indeed, towards the heavens. More great architecture survives from the period too, and more documentation and more portraits, and of course there's the creativity of its poets and playwrights, whose words speak directly to us. It has an earthiness and yet it was fascinatingly open to men of talent and education, it wasn't just the old brigade of the nobility and gentry holding court. So, yes, there's plenty to love - but in truth I am equally keen on the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. I tend to lose interest around the 1830s. Everything since then is really 'just the other day' - all that has happened of note since then is either based in technology (in the widest sense of the word) or extremist politics, or is just a continuation of what they started with the Industrial Revolution. All our modern preoccupations were cultural viewpoints by 1832 - political reform, democracy, relationships between the sexes, sexual identity, care for the poor, the social importance of scientific exploration, the wrongness of racism, the iniquities of slavery, the social responsibilities of government, the necessaity of quantification of the economy, and planning for the future, etc etc. As for what 'sparked' my fascination with the Elizabethan period - simply the fact that its legacy is all around me, in our culture, language, identity - everywhere, in everyone, everyday. If you can understand the root of things, you have a much better chance of understanding how society came to be as it is, and thus why things are as they are.
Hope that helps.
all the best,
Ian
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Ian is now friends with Jake Gillam
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Why Running Matters by Ian Mortimer
"I absolutely loved this wonderful book. First book in a while that I couldn't put down and loved from start to finish. Bravo and thank you to Ian for writing such a stellar work. "
The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer
"This is the best of the Time Traveller's Guides, everything I hoped for and more. Highly readable and engaging, extremely well written with more than a touch of humour at times, and of course packed full of information which really brought the period" Read more of this review »
Ian and 1 other person liked Annemarie Macken's review of The Outcasts of Time:
The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
"A brilliantly written and thought-provoking book, which ensures the reader is not only taken on a journey through time and history, but also that they take the time to search their own selves for what it means to be truly good or do a truly good act." Read more of this review »
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More of Ian's books…
“‎W. H. Auden once suggested that to understand your own country you need to have lived in at least two others. One can say something similar for periods of time: to understand your own century you need to have come to terms with at least two others. The key to learning something about the past might be a ruin or an archive but the means whereby we may understand it is--and always will be--ourselves.”
Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

“Justice is a relative concept in all ages. The fourteenth century is no exception.”
Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

“As you travel around medieval England you will come across a sport described by some contemporaries as 'abominable ... more common, undignified and worthless than any other game, rarely ending but with some loss, accident or disadvantage to the players themselves'. This is football.”
Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

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