Flipping heck, what a jolly good read this was! Especially for a history nerd like me. I think a part of the blurb on the back says it best – ‘History is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived, whether that’s the life of a peasant or a lord.’ The result is perhaps one of the most entertaining history books you are ever likely to read – as revolutionary as it is informative, as entertaining as it is startling.
It is a marvellous concept. The author opens with a broad overview of 14th Century England, and asks the question – here you are. Now, what are you going to wear? Where will you sleep? What are you going to eat? It’s like a Lonely Planet for the Middle Ages.
One of the chapters I found most interesting concerned travelling. This is an image of the Gough Map, mentioned in the book – I should point out that North is to the left, not the top of the map. Hardly Google Maps, and not something you’d carry in your pocket either! Public transport? Non existent really. Travel by ship? Pirates and shipwrecks…and by road, robbers. This is why the pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales travelled in a group!
And, as a 58 year old woman, well, I’m pretty much dead…in fact, almost certainly so unless I am fortunate enough to have survived childbirth and happen to be a member of the nobility.
I have always loved history. I believe it incredibly important to understand where you have come from in order to know where you want to be going. And, living in the UK, the relevance of a book like this becomes even more pointed – as someone once said to me, the roads we travel on, the fields in the countryside, the villages and towns and cities, are all redolent of the past. And this wonderful book really gives an insight into our ancestors way of life.
The author has applied the same concept to Restoration and Elizabethan England – I shall be looking out for them!
Highly recommend this, both for the information it contains, and the very readable writing – it’s great! As always, it is looking for a new home, so if you would like this copy, please get in touch, I’ll send it to you with love… and if it has already been claimed, you can find a copy here on Amazon.