Ian Mortimer

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Ian Mortimer

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Born
in Petts Wood, The United Kingdom
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Member Since
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 fiction under the name James Forrester.

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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 q. I am not sure it is a trend - or, if it is, it is part of a long-established tradition. Lots of older history books, esp those…moreThanks for the q. I am not sure it is a trend - or, if it is, it is part of a long-established tradition. Lots of older history books, esp those written for the general public, are without notes, or only have a few, and often also lack a bibliog. And their judgements are often found repeated in other works. One ref to a medieval hospital founded in 1450 in Devon appears in a 1909 book & is cited by the authoritative work on medieval religious houses by Knowles & Hadcock - and the unreferenced original source seems to have been an incorrect supposition based on an indulgence granted that year, which relates to something else. Similarly, a series of economic history books by academics about 20 years ago - with no less than David Cannadine as series editor - eschewed all notes in an attempt to be more popular. I think this is a mistake. If a book is not properly noted, it is not rooted in past evidence but in the suppositions of the (modern) writers, as you hint, and that is not good enough. My question would be why so many well-educated historians contine to do what you mention - not chase up refs to find out how robust they are? Often it's just because they conveniently reflect a consensus of opinion - but as I keep telling people, a consensus is not evidence. Wise men, like fools, are often in agreement - and also like fools, they are often collectively mistaken.(less)
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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 per..." 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 a..." Read more of this review »
Ian and 24 other people liked Lucy Banks's review of The Outcasts of Time:
The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer
"I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

In-depth race through history, under the guise of a novel.

Once again, this was one of those books that I started, with no idea what to expect (it's much more fun that..." Read more of this review »
Ian joined the group Goodreads Librarians Group
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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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