The Time Traveler's Guide to Restoration Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to the Seventeenth Century: 1660–1699

Pegasus. Apr. 2017. 464p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781681773544. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681774008. HIST
Historian and novelist Mortimer follows up his bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England with a tour of Restoration Britain that encompasses the reigns of Charles II, James II, and William III. The author maintains that "the past is best viewed up close and personally," immersing readers in a 17th-century world they will come to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel through the page. Mortimer begins the tour in London with the Great Fire of 1666 and moves beyond the city to focus on the people, attire, foods, and character of medieval Britain. He draws upon well-known diarists, such as Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, while incorporating accounts by more obscure figures, such as Joseph Pitts of Exeter, a "fourteen-year-old boy who was captured in the English Channel by Barbary pirates in 1678 and sold in the slave markets of Algiers." Reminiscent of cultural historian Johan Huizinga's works, this narrative employs day-to-day experiences to capture the " spirit of the age," demonstrating the growth of modernity in Britain in the 17th century.
VERDICT An accessible book, entertaining and learned, for professional historians and general readers alike.

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