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The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

(Time Traveller's Guides #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  3,638 ratings  ·  438 reviews
The past is a foreign country - this is your guide.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious ag
hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Bodley Head (first published July 2nd 2010)
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Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. It is everything-but-the-politics guide to Elizabethen England which was a paradise for the wealthy and a dreadful place for the urban poor. Just as in any other time.

Food and feasting and fabulous hand-embroidered clothes for some, near-starvation and rags and an early death for others. Nothing really changes. The rich think they run things (they usually do). The middle classes have enough to do as they like, but not enough to not actually do something, and the poor are beholde
We all know why Elizabethan England fascinates us and Ian Mortimer is a wonderful guide. His sense of humor and level of detail bridges any gaps in understanding why Elizabethan England may not be a place we would want to live. Mortimer expects us to have pre-conceived notions and to develop questions as we read. We may, for instance, subscribe to the notion that Elizabethan England was a period of the flowering of art and language, and it was…to a point. By carefully going through all the conti ...more
NAT.orious reads ☽
3.75 medieval ★★★✬✩
This book is for you if… you are a fan of historical fiction and do not possess too much advanced knowledge. (You might get bored quickly otherwise.) This book could be suited for very determined beginners.

I've already read The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and enjoyed it very much. Admittedly, these books seem to be for you only if you're not possessing a lot of advanced knowledge of the history
First Second Books
We hereby conclude that people from the past were very strange.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-4
This non-fiction work, much like it’s medieval counterpart, was super-informative and a great look back at the late 1500’s during Elizabeth I’s rule in England. There are so many details of life back then that were absolutely fascinating to read about. I loved the details the author presented on the people, religion, what a typical town looked like, what sort of social rules you should expect to follow for the times, what period dress was like, etc. Everything was so incredibly well-researched a ...more
Pete daPixie
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-tudor
If there is one modern historian whose works I am immediately drawn to, then it is Ian Mortimer. I can strongly recommend his earlier publications 'The Greatest Traitor-The life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Ruler of England 1327-1330', 'The Perfect King:The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation', 'The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England's Self-Made King' and '1415: Henry V's Year of Glory'.
There appears to be a plethora of historical time travelling books appearing, su
History lovers always debate which authors truly allow readers to “live” history (as much as one can from a modern soda). Most will agree that Ian Mortimer is a force to be reckoned with in this genre. Riding on the successful format of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”; Mortimer presents, “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England”.

“The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England” follows the form of “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England” of addressing the reader
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Written in a manner similar to a travel guide (think an historical Lonely Planet), this book is a very interesting read.

If you are interested in the minutiae of the period, rather than the sweeping acts of history we are all familiar with, such as the Spanish Armada and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, then this is an incredibly fascinating book.

I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Elizabethan period. It will challenge what you think you know about the time perio
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
To borrow the phrase from the famous advert, this does what is says on the cover. Mortimer whisks you back in time to Elizabethan England and takes you on a journey throughout that period, from the highest court in the lands to the grime and filth of the London metropolis.

He starts with the landscape of the time, different in many ways to today, but also familiar as landmarks that we see now are recent additions to the places that he visits. Then onto the people. The class system rules; the aris
Nadine Brandes
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes FAWKES would be totally lame and boring without the help of this book. ...more
Jennifer Simmonds
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Not everyone can be interested in all aspects of Elizabethan life (not the casual reader anyway). Mortimer obviously is, and covers all topics, from chopping off hands to Shakespeare's sonnets, in detail. Detail is often a very good thing, and some little fascinating nuggets of information are what make this book enjoyable. However, there are some instances where we find out (in seemingly endless lists) exactly what Mr. and Mrs Elizabethan had in their house at the time of their deaths, or exact ...more
Maricarmen Estrada M
Really fun and interesting book. I read the Sensory Guide that Ian Mortimer wrote -and produced- which is an interactive ebook. With this book you may learn about the Elizabethan time and really enhance your reading experience through the audios and videos that are part of this amazing work.
Books and movies do give us an idea of how life was like in different times of history, but Mortimer gives you a real trip through the senses, so you travel through time and have a close feeling of what you w
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Not that I'd actually want to go back to Elizabethan England, 'cause on the whole, it sounds pretty freakin' awful, BUT if I did, I would be able to walk the walk and talk the talk thanks to this book.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Perhaps not quite as good as Mortimer's guide to 14th-century England, but still an interesting and enjoyable read.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-english
I found this book to be an excellent companion to the authors “The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.” Dr. Mortimer uses the same style, a traveler’s guide book, to tell the reader what life was like in Queen Elizabeth’s England of the mid-16th century. The Author divides the book into twelve sections and tells the story of how life was lived from the lowest of the low to Elizabeth herself. Having said that, much of the book is focused ...more
L.K. Jay
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed Ian Mortimer's previous book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century and this was a welcome sequel. We all know who Queen Elizabeth was, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh but this goes much deeper into ordinary life. Such as, what would someone have had for dinner, what underwear would they have worn and how much would they have earned? It's these little details that make history so interesting and there are lots of them ...more
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
A Goodreads Giveaway Book

Ian Mortimer's book is perfect for students and adults alike being introduced to Elizabethan England for the first time. As he takes us through the daily ins and outs of peasants, journeymen, and courtiers,we get a taste of what it might have been like to walk on the streets of England under Elizabeth's reign.

Great non-fiction for those interested in Early Modern England!
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When the Doctor shows up and wants to whisk me away to Elizabethan England, everything I read in this entertaining and well-researched little book will surely come in handy. So much fun to read, especially in measured doses: it is wonderful for putting oneself more accurately into the frame of reference of a fictional or historical character of this era!
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I really liked this book. I thought that it would come in handy just in case time travel becomes a reality. The recipes were really interesting but I will tell you that no matter what you do to eel, I will never eat it! No, no, no!

Very informative book about the everyday life of the Elizabethan.
Katie/Doing Dewey
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever wondered what people in Elizabethan England ate, what they built their houses out of, how they spoke, or what they did for entertainment? This book answers all of those questions and more, giving you a picture of daily life that many other history books leave out. Every aspect of Elizabethan life is covered in detail, with sections covering topics from religion to entertainment. Particularly unique is the inclusion of information on the lives of the middle and lower class.

I found t
Shirley Revill
Listened to the audiobook and the narration was absolutely superb.
I am so glad I was not born in this era. Elizabethan England did not sound such a good place to be.
Knowing my luck I would have ended up being dunked in the river as I don't think I would have been one of the privileged few.
I was really impressed with the audiobook as it gave such a fascinating glimpse into times past.
Very well written. Highly recommended.
Cornelia Baciu
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Non fiction book and far from a cold academic look on the life of people during the Elizabethan period. So much detail about upper and lower classes said in a kind, objective and filled with humour manner. Thoroughly enjoyed it and Ian Mortimer travel guides rate always high on my reading list. So glad I discovered his work.
Mar 25, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 30%

I have to finally admit to myself that I will not finish this book. I picked it up at a time in which I felt like reading about the topic it discusses (and it is a very interesting topic), but I made the mistake of putting it down and starting another book. Now, 7 months later, I can’t get back into it. I think I prefer learning about the Elizabethan era through fiction rather than nonfiction.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historian Ian Mortimer (The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England) escorts the Anglophile on a tour of his native country five centuries ago when 3 shillings afforded a visitor to the Tower of London a peek at its dungeons. This informative guide offers advice that ranges from fashion trends (ruffs and ruffles rule), diet tips (avoid tomatoes ) and how much to drink (guys, a gallon of beer per day) to why bathing is unhealthy and how many arrows to keep on hand (four). Has much changed? Back ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Shakespearean devotees, living history reenact ors
What a novel concept! A Fodor's guide for those of us ready to take the plunge and be among the first to time travel! This book's fun premise is just a mask for some seriously well-researched historical information, told in a very easy-to-digest, light-hearted manner. I found much of it surprising, some of it depressing (society's treatment of the poor and ill), and all of it fascinating. Mortimer leaves no area of Elizabethan society undercover, so to speak, so be warned that this is a book bes ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This proved an informal and informative guide to life in Elizabethan England addressing the reader as if they were a traveller in time. It's an approach that I found very appealing as it allowed for comparisons between then and now.

This was my first encounter with Mortimer's non-fiction and didn't realise until the author's interview on CD16 that he also writes historical fiction under the name of James Forrester (a couple of these are on my to be read mountain).

The only issue I had was that wit
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
I first read Ian Mortimer's 'time travellers guide to medieval England' and I was in love. Here was a historian who could transport his readers actually into the past. When I heard he had released another based on Elizabethan England it was a no brainier for me to get my hands on it (thanks to the boyfriend for buying me it!). As much as I love detailed, academic texts Mortimer has made history interesting for more than just students and graduates of history. His prose is easy to follow and his ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent companion to the authors previous title A Time Travellers Guide to the Middle Ages. A wide ranging insight into the life of the man and woman of the period from the rich man in his castle to the poor man at his gate. Styled not as a traditional historical nartive but as a series of eassys grouped under themes. Here we cover subjects such as hygenie, entertainment and clothing. In which the reader is given a glimpse into the hopes, fears, sights and smells of the subjects of the virg ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This reminded me a lot of the BBC series where they pick you up and "transport you" to an intellectual journey of what life would have been like during ___________ enter period here. I like this approach. Its fun to explore and compare and contrast things that generally literature of the era does not point out specifically, and helps you get a feel for what it would have been like to live during these times.
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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

Other books in the series

Time Traveller's Guides (3 books)
  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain

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