The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer

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Please ignore my chipped nails in the photo above and instead please focus on how great this book is.

First of all, major shoutout to my amazing sister Kelly, who got me a fantastic haul of books and other goodies from The Strand in New York. The Strand is a massive bookstore in New York City that houses eighteen miles of books. I can’t wait to visit in March, but for now I will placate myself with my bag of goodies. Kelly knows I love British history, especially the Tudor dynasty and she picked this out for me. I’m so glad she did!

Mortimer does an amazing job making history accessible for the average reader. But at the same time, the tone wasn’t at all patronizing or condescending. I have pretty extensive background knowledge in this subject and I was engaged the whole way through. Even when the information presented was something I already knew, I was still interested. Another thing that makes this book great is the variety of information Mortimer provides. This book is really a portrait of daily life in Elizabethan England and even the most seemingly insignificant detail, for example the average weight of a sheep, seems important and engaging.

The book is broken down into chapters detailing different aspects of Elizabethan life, such as hygiene, dress, etiquette and religious climate. Each chapter builds on the previous one and the book shows how the intricacies of daily life are so delicately intertwined. My personal favorite chapters are What to Eat and What to Wear.

Not only is this book informative, but it is incredibly entertaining. The author is witty and can make even repulsive subjects like Elizabethan medical practices appealing, even if it’s just a little bit. Whether you’re a history buff or not, I recommend this book as an entertaining read, and you might just learn something new.

5/5 stars

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