How To Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life

Liveright: Norton. Mar. 2016. 336p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781631491399. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631491405. HIST
Goodman (How To Be a Victorian) is well known to lovers of BBC series such as Tudor Monastery Farm. Instead of kings and queens, this book focuses on the lives of ordinary people, from those in gentlemen's households to tenant farmers. Goodman leads readers through a typical day but manages to squeeze in quite a bit about children's education and the theater despite these experiences being uncommon to all people in the period. Chapters on men's and women's work explain in depth an everyman's trade or two, and while cheese and beer making are perhaps appealing topics to modern readers, the detailed instructions on how to prepare a field for plowing are perhaps less so. Later sections on washing and dressing are also particularly intriguing. Surprisingly, descriptions of food take up little space and are saved for the end.
VERDICT Goodman describes lifestyles she's lived herself; that personal commentary is something readers will not find in other histories. This book will be of special interest to fans of the miniseries Wolf Hall, in which the author served as a consultant.
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