Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium” as Want to Read:
The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,227 ratings  ·  485 reviews
As the Shadow of the Millennium Descended Across England and Christendom, it Seemed as if the World was About to End. Actually, it was Only the Beginning... Welcome to the Year 1000. This is What Life was Like. How clothes were fastened in a world without buttons, p.10 The rudiments of medieval brain surgery, p.124 The first millennium's Bill Gates, p.192 How dolphins fore ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published April 2000 by Back Bay Books (first published December 1st 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Year 1000, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Stefani The book mainly examines life from the perspective of Anglo-Saxon men. There is one chapter that examines the perspective of Anglo-Saxon women. It doe…moreThe book mainly examines life from the perspective of Anglo-Saxon men. There is one chapter that examines the perspective of Anglo-Saxon women. It does not give much information about children during that time. I hope this answers your question.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,227 ratings  ·  485 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium
Pramod Nair
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, history
The Year 1000’ written by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger – a combination of a historian and a journalist – is a time travel back to the Anglo-Saxon England of 1000 A.D, offering the reader a unique opportunity to inspect and experience its daily life. The reader will meet and observe how average Anglo-Saxon’s carried on with their routine life thereby offering delightful and often charming insights into the history of England as it was at the turn of the first millennium. Written after conduct ...more
Jack Chaucer
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting and well-written journey back in time. Well-researched and organized based on the Julius Work Calendar, a time capsule of drawings that gives us hints about what life was like for ordinary folks more than 1,000 years ago. "What C.S. Lewis called the 'snobbery of chronology' encourages us to presume that just because we happen to have lived after our ancestors and can read books which give us some account of what happened to them, we must also know better than them. We certainly ha ...more
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: medieval dorks like myself
I read the month chapters in this book at start of corresponding months in my life. Sometimes I'll read (book) December in (real) August just to remind me of what I would be doing in the cold months 1000 years ago. This is one of the most engaging non-fiction books I've ever read, and all the better for being medieval. Probably the only history book I can read again and again and never get tired of it! I love the little details about everyday life, like what their clothes were made from, what th ...more
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bettie by: Susanna's profile
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dana Stabenow
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a delightfully informative little book! I don't know how they crammed so much information into just 200 pages (reminds me of Mark Kurlansky's Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and this one doesn't have recipes). (And why not, I ask? Hmmph.)

The authors take something called the Julius Work Calendar, a medieval reminder of work and faith with wonderful illustrations at the bottom of each month's page reproduced at the beginning of each chapter of the book and explained in th
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very nice, vividly impressionistic, deeply atmospheric and compelling (but also accurate and well-researched) sketch of how life was in England around the year 1000.
Inspired by the Julius Work Calendar, the narrative is cast in the form of a calendar: it describes the social and cultural environment and the everyday life and habits that many conventional history books tend to bypass, reflecting the rhythms of life during this fascinating period.
Thoroughly enjoyable, insightful, entertaining
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I rarely give a book 5 stars but this short book on THE YEAR 1000 was just about a perfect example of its kind. It was short, and for me right now short is a good thing. There was almost no repetition. The authors knew what they wanted to say, how they wanted to organize the information, and they kept to their plan.

In addition it was extremely readable. The book hooked me early on and kept me hooked. I already knew a lot of what they wanted to say, but there was also quite a lot I didn't know.

Melina Marchetta
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I always re-read this before going into first draft of the Lumatere fantasy novels.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
A very quick read, definitely not scholarly work, popular history I would call it. I liked the author’s choice of format for this book. Like an almanac, each chapter is dedicated to a month of the calendar year and describes the traditional activities and the fest days celebrated in that month, interspersed by references to historical figures and famous events.
The topics range from curious facts, kings and saints, practical medicine, common beliefs (mix of religion, paganism and superstition), t
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Much of what we know about the first millennium comes from a book written around 1020 called The Julius Work Calendar. It is the earliest surviving example of the English daily routine, "the schedule of the earth, and the life of the spirit." The ink used to put the characters on paper is interesting in itself. It was tapped from oak trees boils, created by wasps that had gnawed at the bark to lay eggs. In self defense, the tree formed a gall that was filled with a clear acid. The ink was called ...more
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a relatively light-weight look at a specific inflection point in the past. I generally like history books that attempt to humanize a time and place, rather than chronicle political achievements. This book does that pretty well - I got a sense of what the food was like, how the villages in England worked then, and the anxiety people felt around things like a toothache (chances where you'd die from most ailments back then.)

However, even more interesting is how this book reflects more on w
Connie N.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a quite readable non-fiction book about what life would have been like in England (or Engla-lond) in the year 1000. Lacey bases his descriptions around the Julius Work Calendar which is one of the few surviving pieces from the time. It divides the year into months, of course, with Saint's Days listed, along with some descriptions of daily life, including illustrations. It is fascinating to think about how people lived their day-to-day lives without all of the "indispensable" items we tak ...more
The Year 1000 (1999) is a tasty nibblet of late Anglo-Saxon history that you can polish off in an afternoon. Lacey's prose is light but still satisfying without being the slightest bit dry. Here is a sampler of some of the interesting tidbits I culled: July was the hungriest month of the year, since by then all last year's grain was eaten and this year's had yet to mature. Anglo-Saxon society was in some ways wonderfully simple, revolving around minuscule villages, spread out all over the countr ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-and-read
I love the way Robert Lacey approaches history. He truly does make it come alive and gives the stories and that is what makes history worth studying, for me, anyway. And the fact that this work is based on the Julius Work Calendar of 1000, which I got to see in the British Library, makes it that much more thrilling for me. I believe, more and more each day, that we need to know our history. Lacey's works are a good way to get it. ...more
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Pull back the curtains and take a peek at life in Anglo-Saxon England by reading The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium by Robert Lacey and Danny Danzinger. This is a delightful trip back in time. By piecing together interviews with an impressive number of scholars in the field and conducting extensive research as evidenced by their notes and bibliography, the authors provide a unique perspective on what life must have been like at the turn of the first millennium. ...more
Michelle Stockard Miller
Short, but informative book about what life was like in England around the year 1000. A quote from C.S. Lewis at the end speaks volumes: "But whether we display more wisdom or common humanity is an open question, and as we look back to discover how people coped with daily difficulties of existence a thousand years ago, we might also consider whether, in all our sophistication, we could meet the challenges of their world with the same fortitude, good humour, and philosophy."

After the past year,
James Joyce
This was a very interesting, informative book.

Each chapter did a split-focus, informing about a particular month and a particular aspect of society (generally associated with that month). For example, March and food, or July and food scarcity.

Lots of references, lots of small and large bits of info. If you are interested in this time period and in England, then I whole-heartedly recommend this book.
johnny dangerously
Mediocre to good, but it's a quick and easy read. The central conceit-- which is not advertised anywhere in the book, presumably to make it more palatable to people buying it for the Y2K novelty when it was originally published-- is deeper than it seems.

The book takes you through a medieval calendar and talks about the cultural associations with that month, the traditions, the holidays, and the work of the average peasant. As books about the average person are punishingly rare, especially for t
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, uk
One of two books I remember reading in honor of the millennium; the other was Stephen Jay Gould's Questioning the Millennium. So one look back and one look forward. The look back was fascinating. Although I know more about the history of the British isles than any place outside the US it remains impenetrable to me.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, of course, I'm the sort of person who walks out of any historical film discussing how well they did in recreating the period. for England the answer is almos
Rosemary Atwell
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it
A short and stylish little book that rewards the reader with a wealth of information. Effortless learning.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read this about a dozen times over the last couple of decades and it’s still something I come back to as a living historian to snatch a sense of what life was like a thousand years ago without reading something overly academic. In fact, the easy tone and wit throughout makes it essential. Some of the scholarship is outdated by more recent interpretation, but as a starter for research or an overview of a thrilling period of English history, I heartily recommend.
Simon Pressinger
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this on a small charity shelf with an honesty box in my local Tesco. At 200 pages, it’s the shortest history book I’ve read, but still satisfying. Really enjoyed this one. This is popular history crammed with lots of juicy little bits of info about the medieval period. Some facts feel a little dressed up to impress, but I do like how much it explains, through stories, the linguistic formations and features of the geography of modern Britain.
Craig Hingston
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such an informative read! Detailing what life was like for the people of Engla-Lond in the year 1000. With my interest in the history of humanity and the formation of nations, knowing that I have English and Scandinavian ancestry, this was a wonderful eye opening journey.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is a compact "history" of the year 1000 in England, chapters each themed around a month of the Julian calendar, and fairly readable and interesting. Not a wow book, but not super time consuming either.

One thing I definitely came away with from this book: the world is certainly a dangerous place now, but it was much more dangerous back then! Everyone seemed a day away from a bad situation, either due to raids by marauding Vikins and invaders, or due to disease, or as a redult of childbi
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I love nothing better than reading about the daily life of eras past, with a real peek into what folks did with themselves. This one gives glimpses but doesn't dig very deep. In linking each chapter with a month from a work calendar, it tackles twelve different aspects of daily living, each of which could easily be expounded upon to become its own book. It was nicely written and well-researched, but reads much like a primer and I wish I had gotten something more in-depth. ...more
Brent Lambell
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The layout of this book was fantastic, Lacey used the Julian calendar's twelve months to divide life into twelve chapters. It was highly readable and would appeal to the scholar as well as casual reader. One of my favorite parts of the book was his discussion on the break of the first millennium in 1000 AD. There was a great medieval version of the Y2K hysteria that really hit the spot. ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you have ever wanted to learn more about turn-of-the-millennium England, then this is the book for you. It took me a very long time to read, yet I finished it because I learned a lot about English history. Quite interesting and worth the time.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A brief, pithy, serviceable survey of English life on the eve of the Norman Conquest.
Madeleine Mamaux
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
My Mom read this when it came out in 1999, and I thought she was nuts. Oh, not so! It is a very short and easy read that packs a matter how crazy 2020 is, I feel very, very lucky to be in the here and now.
H.J. Evans
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty interesting!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
  • Life in a Medieval Castle
  • In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made
  • 1215: The Year of Magna Carta
  • Life in a Medieval City
  • Life in a Medieval Village
  • 1066: The Year of the Conquest
  • She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
  • The Norman Conquest
  • How To Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life
  • The Wet Nurse's Tale
  • Red Dog
  • I Will Not Kill Myself, Olivia (Kindle Edition)
  • Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
  • My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
  • The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict
  • Civil War Soldiers
  • Three Dollars
See similar books…
Robert Lacey is a British historian noted for his original research, which gets him close to - and often living alongside - his subjects. He is the author of numerous international bestsellers.

After writing his first works of historical biography, Robert, Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Ralegh, Robert wrote Majesty, his pioneering biography of Queen Elizabeth II. Published in 1977, Majesty remains

News & Interviews

Secrets between siblings, grandparents with grievances, parents with problems. If you're looking for serious drama, check out these new...
20 likes · 3 comments
“Of all the varieties of modern pollution, noise is the most insidious.” 5 likes
“When Winston Churchill wanted to rally the nation in 1940, it was to Anglo-Saxon that he turned: "We shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." All these stirring words came from Old English as spoken in the year 1000, with the exception of the last one, surrender, a French import that came with the Normans in 1066--and when man set foot on the moon in 1969, the first human words spoken had similar echoes: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Each of Armstrong's famous words was part of Old English by the year 1000.” 3 likes
More quotes…