The Time Travler's Handbook, for Timeslip Tuesday

The Time Traveler's Handbook, by Wyllie, Acton, and Goldblatt (Harper Design, May 2016) is designed to prepare the traveler for eighteen extraordinary trips back to the past.  It's not a fictional account of adventures there, but more a guidebook to where to find food, what to wear, how to get around, and more.  It reads very much like a good travel guide, throwing historical context into the mixed so that your experience of the past is informed by details of what's happening.   The time travel company offers a variety of trips-- you can join Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, see the premier of Julius Caesar at the Globe,  march on Versailles with the revolutionary women of Paris.  The trips are strongly Europe and the United States focused, but a trip with Captain Cook to Tahiti is offered, and one to the Xanadu of Kublai Khan.  In the cultural and sports side of things, you can go hang out at the Rumble in the Jungle at Kinshasa or see Charlie Parker at the birth of bebop or the Beatles in Hamburg....

This is a truly fun way to read about history; the framing device is present enough, and detailed enough, so that you can imagine actually being there, and it's fun knowing where you should stay and eat on your visit to Shakespeare's London!  It's not a book to read in one sitting, but it is a very good one to keep around and dip into, especially when there are other people in the room not doing anything important, so that you have someone with whom to share all the interesting tid-bits of information that you learn.  I enjoyed it very much. 

If you are teaching any of the periods covered, especially to middle school kids, you might want to check this out--the accounts are enging, easy to read, and full of information without being dry and didactic.  This is not a children's book per se, but if you are the parent of an information loving reader this might also be one to look out for.  I would have liked it from the age of eight on up if someone had given it to me (a big fan of history from an early age).  I would have liked the look and feel of it (fancy gold embossing), as well as the history within.

Here is seven year old me, re-reading for the umpteenth time my Ladybird biography of Nelson.  I sure do wish I have been given more non-fiction, because although I still have a pretty solid handle on Nelson, there are a gaps that could have been filled by the judiscious applicaton of other books at a young age.  I would have re-read my favorite bits of The Time Travellers Handbook (like the Berlin Wall coming down chapter, and the Shakespeare chapter) lots.

1 comment:

  1. I have this book on hold right now! And I love the ohoto of you reading your Nelson biography--I myself still remember lots about Elizabeth I and Marie Curie....


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