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 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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Why Running Matters by Ian Mortimer
"Inspirational

A book about running that isn’t actually about running... and yet it’s by far my favourite running book. This is a must for anyone you has even dared tie up their laces and stepped outside."
Why Running Matters by Ian Mortimer
"I really enjoyed this book. Being a keen runner myself (and frequent parkrun participant) I could relate to the content. I have even planned my run down memory lane as Ian did in chapter 34. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who currently" Read more of this review »
Why Running Matters by Ian Mortimer
"The running game..

I enjoyed this account of a running year. Ian Mortimer allows you to journey on the runs with him, even as in my case you’d be many minutes behind. The thrills, mutual enjoyment and encouragement and inevitable downs are something a" Read more of this review »
Why Running Matters by Ian Mortimer
"I’ve read a few of Ian Mortimer’s history books as well as some of his fiction, so when I saw that he had released a book about running I was puzzled. I do park run so I knew what he is talking about when he sets himself goals and tries to up his spe" Read more of this review »
Ian answered Carol's question: Ian Mortimer
I thought I had answered this question a year ago but Goodreads tells me otherwise. No, no one ever asked for the film rights. But I am very glad you enjoyed the book. As you can tell, there is a lot in there that is special to me, and I hope meaning See Full Answer
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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