Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: How to be a Tudor

Cover of "How to Be a Tudor" by Ruth Goodman

Ruth Goodman's How To Be A Tudor is a highly accessible overview of daily life in 16th century England.  Like its predecessor, How To Be A Victorian, How To Be A Tudor uses the course of a day to examine how people slept, dressed, worked, ate, and amused themselves five centuries ago.

How To Be A Tudor has the same conversational tone, informative content, organizational structure, and geographical boundaries as its Victorian counterpart.  However, this book is kept fresh and interesting by the different time span and content: there's fewer cholera epidemics and considerably more ale brewing and religious turmoil.  The structure of this book also feels a bit tighter, as though the subtopics fit closer into the "daily routine" framework.  I'm not sure if that is my imagination, intentional editing, or the result of having fewer written records from the time (in spite of which, Ms. Goodman managed to assemble an extensive bibliography).   

There's little I'd think to change about this book, other than adding footnotes.  Even at 300 pages, it's an engaging read and doesn't feel overly long.  If another book in this style comes out, I'll make a point of reading it.

Score: 4.85 Stars (I'd still like some footnotes!)

Accuracy: Many primary sources were consulted and/or quoted, and a number of period illustrations are included; the book also details the author's personal experience with trying to live like a Tudor person.  There's an 11-page bibliography for those seeking more information.

Strongest Impression: Send your copy of How To Be A Victorian through a 300 year time vortex, and you get How to Be a Tudor.  A fun and informative read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting!