Tag Archives: historical

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England

16158562Title: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan England
Author: Ian Mortimer
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Fact: In Elizabethan times, assigned rations often included a gallon of beer a day.
Review Summary: The level of detail is incredible, especially since it’s presented  in a way that will not only keep your interest, but also make you feel immersed in Elizabethan England.

Have you ever wondered what people in Elizabethan England ate, what they built their houses out of, how they spoke, or what they did for entertainment? This book answers all of those questions and more, giving you a picture of daily life that many other history books leave out. Every aspect of Elizabethan life is covered in detail, with sections covering topics from religion to entertainment. Particularly unique is the inclusion of information on the lives of the middle and lower class. Continue reading

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Heavenly Intrigue

Title: Heavenly Intrigue: Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and the Murder Behind One of History’s Greatest Scientific Discoveries
Source: library
Fun Fact:  When Tycho’s body was exhumed, it was discovered that he had a mustache that was 4 inches wide!
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: A light version of Tycho and Kepler, which seems equally well researched but the authors’ credibility suffers from their obvious agenda trying to sell their story.

When I very first spotted Heavenly Intrigue on my library shelves, I resisted picking it up because of the blatant sensationalism of the subtitle but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to get a second perspective on the same story.  As expected, this book presented a much less detailed overview of Kepler and Brahe’s work than Tycho and Kepler, with a much greater emphasis on interpersonal relationships and drama.  It was much easier to follow and I think this would have been the case even if I’d read it first as the book is clearly intended for a broader audience.  In addition to glossing over some of the details of the history and the science, there were several cases where the explanations of the instruments Kepler and Tycho used were much clearer and given with fewer astronomy terms.
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Tycho and Kepler in the 520’s

Title: Tycho and Kepler: The Unlikely Partnership That Forever Changed Our Understanding of the Heavens
Source: library
Fun Fact:  The duel in which Tycho lost his nose may have been started by a man making fun of him because his astrological predictions didn’t come true.
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: A very in depth look at the lives and personalities of two interesting men.  Intriguing and well researched, but not for the faint of heart as this was not a light read.

Tycho and Kepler is a detailed biography of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, covering both their personal lives and their scientific careers.  It’s arranged in chronological order, smoothly transitioning between the two scientists.  I liked this format a lot because it made it so easy to see how their lives related to one another.  There was actually quite a lot of personal drama, although it was mostly presented an impersonal manner – enough so that I really want to read some historical fiction now to get a “first-person” perspective on this fascinating time period!
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