cover image The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

Ian Mortimer. Viking, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-02607-4

Rarely does a travel guide stand the test of time quite like this colorful and hypothetically practical portrait of Elizabethan England. Historian Ian Mortimer, a former fellow of the Royal Historical Society, escorts the Anglophile on a tour of his native country five centuries ago, where 3s could buy you a personal tour of the Tower of London's dungeons. Disguised as a trip-planner, this lively historical account stays true to form offering readers travel advice such as fashion trends (ruffs and ruffles rule), diet tips (avoid tomatoes), and much-needed safety notes such as why bathing is unhealthy and how many arrows to keep on hand. On the topic of good manners, it is customary to remove your hat when in the presence of public urination and true gentlemen greet women with a full-on kiss on the lips, a custom that possibly explains why in 1563, over 17 thousand people succumbed to the plague. Motimer explores many facets of England's "Golden Age" with intricate detail yet a lightness in tone. He riffs off fellow scholars to fill the gaps in this upbeat and in depth account. Wildly entertaining, Mortimer fresh approach to history will draw in many types of readers. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (June)