Book Reviews of The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World

The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World
The Year 1000 What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium An Englishman's World
Author: Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger
ISBN-13: 9780316558402
ISBN-10: 0316558400
Publication Date: 2/1999
Pages: 230
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 12

3.6 stars, based on 12 ratings
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

6 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 5602 more book reviews
One of the best books I've read in quite a while. It is organized around the Julius Work Calendar, and discusses a different activity in normal life every month. The authors acknowledge that there is not a lot of information out there about how life was like in 1000, so a lot of there information is in the years before and after 1000. There's a fair amount on the Y1K problem, since the book was written in 1999, when Y2K was looming.
reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 2 more book reviews
I enjoyed how the author used the illustrations in the _Julius Work Calendar_ to give a glimpse into life in and around the year 1000. Each chapter has a theme, such as "Feasting" (April) and "War Games" (October.) This book is a quick, easy read, and it's full of interesting and memorable facts about life in England over 1000 years ago.
reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 5602 more book reviews
One of the best books I've read in quite a while. It is organized around the Julius Work Calendar, and discusses a different activity in normal life every month. The authors acknowledge that there is not a lot of information out there about how life was like in 1000, so a lot of there information is in the years before and after 1000. There's a fair amount on the Y1K problem, since the book was written in 1999, when Y2K was looming.
reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 107 more book reviews
Very informative book
reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 17 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book! One must remember that it is purely about England, and that the year 1000 is before the invasions of William the Conqueror in 1066. So there are no Norman castles, no Saxon/Norman conflicts, and not all of the island of Britain is Christianized. This is definitely not *Ivanhoe*. However, it is full of fascinating information, both about the life in the countryside and the life in the towns, which are much more numerous than we expect. The book dispels the myth that villagers did not travel anywhere and knew no world except their own village. This might be true for the slaves or villeins, who were truly bound to the land, but otherwise there was plenty of coming and going between villages and towns. One would travel to visit family, or to attend a market at a market town (not all towns were allowed to have markets), to go to a funeral of a relative (possibly hoping to be named in the will), to go to a notary in case of land disputes, etc. Or you might go on pilgrimage to one of the shrines (not Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket hadn't been murdered yet), but there were plenty of English saints, almost forgotten today.
Great source of information. I might not re-read it straightaway, but I certainly will keep it around for a while
reviewed The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium : An Englishman's World on + 1152 more book reviews
Another title might be: 'The Year 1000; World History Lite.' This is not intended to be disparaging of a very interesting work; the authors tried to sprinkle humorous and interesting facts (a reader might enjoy) amongst the dire and difficult conditions many folks lived under at the end of the first 1000 years (of history).

If the reader is just looking for a nice, brief overview of the first century, this will suffice admirably. Otherwise, the authors make short excursions into many facets of life around the first millennium. Along with the quirky and interesting facts they share, readers will find many starting points for further study.

The reason I felt this book earned 5 stars has to do with the fascinating way the authors explained history. The text is so readable that I like to reread it every few years. I find new tangents to pursue as my understanding of world history expands.

The authors have snooped into everything related to the the first millennium. No subject is too smelly to pursue for knowledge's sake. A case in point: Human wastes and animal dung (those that remain in archaeological digs) are explained in the light of the Anglo-Saxon's distrust of too much cleanliness. The authors tell us that the Danes were more careful with their personal cleanliness and had an easier time finding mates than the rank-and-file Anglo-Saxons.

Both authors spend considerable time shooting down the stereotypes that have come down through the ages. They say that most educated folks knew the earth was round and that sailors would not drop off at the edge of the world. They weave an interesting story about how the English became stronger as they survived many invasions over the passing decades. They also show how the locals adapted to the organized religion (the Catholic Church) while blending it with their more pagan rites and attitudes.

Life in the monastery must have been difficult; talking was discouraged but a system of hand signals sufficed to keep the community cohesive and organized. This fact may seem trivial, but it is info like this that brings the English into our realm -- living and breathing.

Probably, a history buff would be offended by such a light-hearted look at world history. However, those of us just looking for an overview of Europe after 1000 years, will enjoy the writers' style and substance.