The past is a foreign country - this is your guide, from the bestselling author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England
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 age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?
In this book Ian Mortimer reveals a country in which life expectancy is in the early thirties, people still starve to death and Catholics are persecuted for their faith. Yet it produces some of the finest writing in the English language, some of the most magnificent architecture, and sees Elizabeth's subjects settle in America and circumnavigate the globe. Welcome to a country that is, in all its contradictions, the very crucible of the modern world.
'Vivid trip back to the 16th century...highly entertaining book' Guardian
Ian Mortimer manages to inform and delight in equal measure.
As Mortimer puts it, "sometimes the past will inspire you, sometimes it will make you weep". What it won't do, thanks to this enthralling book, is leave you unmoved
With Shakespeare on hand to give us extra insight into how Elizabethans saw themselves (and what they - often to our eyes inexplicably - found funny), and a society playing out its growing sense of self-awareness as it tiptoes to a modern age, the stage is set for a fresh and funny book that wears its learning lightly
Mortimer brings the same depth and flair to the age of Shakespeare and the Virgin Queen. From dental hygiene to table manners, the findings fascinate - even if we don't wish that we were there
Mortimer's book has something for everyone... His curiosity is boundless and his profound scholarship is leavened by a sense of fun