Ian Mortimer - Author

About the Author

Ian Mortimer has BA and PhD degrees in history from Exeter University and an MA in archive studies from University College London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998, and was awarded the Alexander Prize (2004) by the Royal Historical Society for his work on the social history of medicine. He is the author of three medieval biographies, The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, and The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England's Self-Made King, published in 2003, 2006 and 2007 respectively by Jonathan Cape. He lives with his wife and three children on the edge of Dartmoor.

Featured books by Ian Mortimer

Human Race 10 Centuries of Change on Earth

Human Race 10 Centuries of Change on Earth

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2015

We are an astonishing species. Over the past millennium of plagues and exploration, revolution and scientific discovery, woman's rights and technological advances, human society has changed beyond recognition. Sweeping through the last thousand years of human development, Human Race is a treasure chest of the lunar leaps and lightbulb moments that, for better or worse, have sent humanity swerving down a path that no one could ever have predicted. But which of the last ten centuries saw the greatest changes in human history? History's greatest tour guide, Ian Mortimer, knows what answer he would give. But what's yours?

Centuries of Change Which Century Saw the Most Change?

Centuries of Change Which Century Saw the Most Change?

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/10/2014

History's greatest tour guide is back. And he's ringing the changes. In a contest of change, which century from the past millennium would come up trumps? Imagine the Black Death took on the female vote in a pub brawl, or the Industrial Revolution faced the internet in a medieval joust - whose side would you be on? In this hugely entertaining book, celebrated historian Ian Mortimer takes us on a whirlwind tour of Western history, pitting one century against another in his quest to measure change. We journey from a time when there was a fair chance of your village being burnt to the ground by invaders, and dried human dung was a recommended cure for cancer, to a world in which explorers sailed into the unknown and civilisations came into conflict with each other on an epic scale. Here is a story of godly scientists, shrewd farmers, cold-hearted entrepreneurs and strong-minded women - a story of discovery, invention, revolution and cataclysmic shifts in perspective. Bursting with ideas and underscored by a wry sense of humour, this is a journey into the past like no other. Our understanding of change will never be the same again - and the lessons we learn along the way are profound ones for us all.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2009

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guesthouse? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. It sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you, the reader, to the middle ages, and showing you everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture. Being a guidebook, many questions are answered which do not normally occur in traditional history books. How do you greet people in the street? What should you use for toilet paper? How fast - and how safely - can you travel? Why might a physician want to taste your blood? And how do you test to see if you are going down with the plague? The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.

Other books by Ian Mortimer

The Outcasts of Time

The Outcasts of Time

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/08/2018

`Beautifully written and superbly executed' Times 'This clever and moving Faustian tale is packed with fascinating historical detail' Express From the author of the bestselling The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain, this is a stunningly high-concept historical novel that is both as daring as it is gripping, and perfect for fans of Conn Iggulden, SJ Parris and Kate Mosse. December 1348. With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and go to Hell. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries - living each one of their remaining days ninety-nine years after the last. John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them still further. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived. As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the reader travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment and war. But their time is running out - can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up? What readers are saying: `Wow, what a book! I absolutely adored this. This was ambitious but done to perfection' Sara Marsden `The Outcasts of Time is a tour de force, rich in spellbinding detail. Haunting and atmospheric, there is warmth and humour alongside fear and torment; all human life is here. As perfect a novel as any I've ever read' Ophelia's Reads 'A fascinating trip through seven centuries of history ... The author has done well to traverse such a sweep of time ... it's a great read and I'd recommend it' Netgalley reviewer, 4 stars

The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain Life in the Age of Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and The Great Fire of London

The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain Life in the Age of Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and The Great Fire of London

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook. If you could travel back in time, the period from 1660 to 1700 would make one of the most exciting destinations in history. It is the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London; bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II - the civil wars are over and a magnificent new era has begun. But what would it really be like to live in Restoration Britain? Where would you stay and what would you eat? How much should you pay for one of those elaborate wigs? Should you trust a physician who advises you to drink fresh cow's urine to cure your gout? Why are boys made to smoke in school? And why are you unlikely to get a fair trial in court? The third volume in the series of Ian Mortimer's bestselling Time Traveller's Guides answers these crucial questions and encourages us to reflect on the customs and practices of daily life. This unique guide not only teaches us about the seventeenth century but makes us look with fresh eyes at the modern world.

Human Race 10 Centuries of Change on Earth

Human Race 10 Centuries of Change on Earth

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2015

We are an astonishing species. Over the past millennium of plagues and exploration, revolution and scientific discovery, woman's rights and technological advances, human society has changed beyond recognition. Sweeping through the last thousand years of human development, Human Race is a treasure chest of the lunar leaps and lightbulb moments that, for better or worse, have sent humanity swerving down a path that no one could ever have predicted. But which of the last ten centuries saw the greatest changes in human history? History's greatest tour guide, Ian Mortimer, knows what answer he would give. But what's yours?

Centuries of Change

Centuries of Change

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/03/2015

In a contest of change, which century from the past millennium would come up trumps? Imagine the Black Death took on the female vote in a pub brawl, or the Industrial Revolution faced the internet in a medieval joust - whose side would you be on? In this hugely entertaining book, celebrated historian Ian Mortimer takes us on a whirlwind tour of Western history, pitting one century against another in his quest to measure change.

The Dying and the Doctors The Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England

The Dying and the Doctors The Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/02/2015

From the sixteenth century onwards, medical strategies adopted by the seriously ill and dying changed radically, decade by decade, from the Elizabethan age of astrological medicine to the emergence of the general practitioner in the early eighteenth century. It is this profound revolution, in both medical and religious terms, as whole communities' hopes for physical survival shifted from God to the doctor, that this book charts. Drawing on more than eighteen thousand probate accounts, it identifies massive increases in the consumption of medicines and medical advice by all social groups and in almost all areas. Most importantly, it examines the role of the towns in providing medical services to rural areas and hinterlands [using the diocese of Canterbury as a particular focus], and demonstrates the extending ranges of physicians', surgeons' and apothecaries' businesses. It also identifies a comparable revolution in community nursing, from its unskilled status in 1600 to a more exclusive one by 1700. IAN MORTIMER holds PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998.

Greatest Traitor

Greatest Traitor

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: eBook Release Date: 20/08/2013

One night in August 1323, a captive rebel baron, Sir Roger Mortimer, drugged his guards and escaped from the Tower of London. With the king's men-at-arms in pursuit he fled to the south coast and sailed to France. There he was joined by Isabella, the Queen of England, who threw herself into his arms. A year later, as lovers, they returned with an invading army: King Edward II's forces crumbled before them and Mortimer took power. He removed Edward II in the first deposition of a monarch in British history. Then the ex-king was apparently murdered, some said with a red-hot poker, in Berkeley Castle.Brutal, intelligent, passionate, profligate, imaginative, and violent, Sir Roger Mortimer was an extraordinary character. It is not surprising that the Queen lost her heart to him. Nor is it surprising that his contemporaries were terrified of him. But until now no one has appreciated the full evil genius of the man. This first biography, The Greatest Traitor by Ian Mortimer, reveals not only Mortimer's career as a feudal lord, a governor of Ireland, a rebel leader, and a dictator of England, but also the truth of what happened that night in Berkeley Castle.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/03/2013

The past is a foreign country - this is your guide, from the bestselling author of 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

1415: Henry V's Year of Glory

1415: Henry V's Year of Glory

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2010

Henry V is regarded as the great English hero. Lionised in his own day for his victory at Agincourt, his piety and his rigorous application of justice, he was elevated by Shakespeare into a champion of English nationalism for all future generations. But what was he really like? Does he deserve to be thought of as 'the greatest man who ever ruled England?' In Ian Mortimer's groundbreaking book, he portrays Henry in the pivotal year of his reign. Recording the dramatic events of 1415, he offers the fullest, most precise and least romanticised view we have of Henry and what he did. The result is not only a fascinating reappraisal of Henry; it brings to the fore many unpalatable truths which biographers and military historians have largely ignored. At the centre of the book is the campaign which culminated in the battle of Agincourt: a slaughter ground designed not to advance England's interests directly but to demonstrate God's approval of Henry's royal authority on both sides of the Channel.

Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England Brain Shot

Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England Brain Shot

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: eBook Release Date: 02/07/2010

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guesthouse? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord?This is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.BRAIN SHOTS: the byte-sized guide to a completely different world: England in the Middle Ages

The Greatest Traitor The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March

The Greatest Traitor The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2010

One night in August 1323 a captive rebel baron, Sir Roger Mortimer, drugged his guards and escaped from the Tower of London. With the king's men-at-arms in pursuit he fled to the south coast, and sailed to France. There he was joined by Isabella, the Queen of England, who threw herself into his arms. A year later, as lovers, they returned with an invading army: King Edward II's forces crumbled before them, and Mortimer took power. He removed Edward II in the first deposition of a monarch in British history. Then the ex-king was apparently murdered, some said with a red-hot poker, in Berkeley Castle. Brutal, intelligent, passionate, profligate, imaginative and violent: Sir Roger Mortimer was an extraordinary character. It is not surprising that the queen lost her heart to him. Nor is it surprising that his contemporaries were terrified of him. But until now no one has appreciated the full evil genius of the man. This first biography reveals not only the man's career as a feudal lord, a governor of Ireland, a rebel leader and a dictator of England but also the truth of what happened that night in Berkeley Castle.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2009

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guesthouse? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. It sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you, the reader, to the middle ages, and showing you everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture. Being a guidebook, many questions are answered which do not normally occur in traditional history books. How do you greet people in the street? What should you use for toilet paper? How fast - and how safely - can you travel? Why might a physician want to taste your blood? And how do you test to see if you are going down with the plague? The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.

The Dying and the Doctors The Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England

The Dying and the Doctors The Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/07/2009

From the sixteenth century onwards, medical strategies adopted by the seriously ill and dying changed radically, decade by decade, from the Elizabethan age of astrological medicine to the emergence of the general practitioner in the early eighteenth century. It is this profound revolution, in both medical and religious terms, as whole communities' hopes for physical survival shifted from God to the doctor, that this book charts. Drawing on more than eighteen thousand probate accounts, it identifies massive increases in the consumption of medicines and medical advice by all social groups and in almost all areas. Most importantly, it examines the role of the towns in providing medical services to rural areas and hinterlands [using the diocese of Canterbury as a particular focus], and demonstrates the extending ranges of physicians', surgeons' and apothecaries' businesses. It also identifies a comparable revolution in community nursing, from its unskilled status in 1600 to a more exclusive one by 1700. IAN MORTIMER is an independent historian and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter.

The Fears of Henry IV The Life of England's Self-Made King

The Fears of Henry IV The Life of England's Self-Made King

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2008

In June 1405, King Henry IV stopped at a small Yorkshire manor house to shelter from a storm. That night he awoke screaming that traitors were burning his skin. His instinctive belief that he was being poisoned was understandable: he had already survived at least eight plots to dethrone or kill him in the first six years of his reign. Henry IV had not always been so unpopular. In his youth he had been a great chivalric champion and crusader. The son of John of Gaunt, he was courteous, confident, well-educated, generous, devoted to his family, musical and spiritually fervent. In 1399, at the age of thirty-two, he was enthusiastically greeted as the saviour of the realm when he ousted from power the insecure and tyrannical King Richard II. But therein lay Henry's weakness. He had to contend with men who supported him only as long as they could control him; when they failed, they plotted to kill him. Welsh, French and Scottish adversaries also tried to take advantage of his questionable right to the crown. Such overwhelming threats transformed him from a hero into a duplicitous murderer: a king prepared to go to any lengths to save his family and his throne. That legacy of unrest has defined Henry's subsequent reputation. Henry's notoriety in the sixteenth century was such that merely to write about him was to risk imprisonment in the Tower. Shakespeare was forced to downplay his achievements, and instead to present his adversary Richard II as the wronged man. But what Henry actually provoked was a social revolution as much as a political one. Against all the odds, he took a poorly ruled nation, established a new Lancastrian dynasty, and introduced the principle that a king must act in accordance with parliament. He might not have been the most glorious king England ever had, but he was one of the bravest, and certainly the greatest survivor of them all.

The Perfect King The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

The Perfect King The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

Author: Ian Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2008

From the bestselling author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, comes the story of King Edward III, who - like Elizabeth and Victoria after him - embodied the values of his age, forged a nation out of war and re-made England. He ordered his uncle to be beheaded; he usurped his father's throne; he started a war which lasted for more than a hundred years, and taxed his people more than any other previous king. Nineteenth century historians saw in Edward the opportunity to decry a warmonger, and painted him as a self-seeking, rapacious, tax-gathering conqueror. Yet, in this first full study of the King's character and life, Dr Ian Mortimer unveils that behind the strong warrior king was a compassionate, conscientious and often merciful man - resolute yet devoted to his wife, friends and family, and the father of both the English nation and the English people. 'A fascinating portrait. At times, the reader seems almost able to reach across time and touch this man' - The Economist

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