And Now, the Middle Ages

Since I can’t get enough of the historians-as-time-travelers idea, I read Connie Willis’ book on the Black Death.  The great thing about the order in which I have read this author’s books is that they keep getting better!  To Say Nothing of the Dog is funny, Blackout and All Clear are fabulously detailed, and Doomsday Book is a great story like Blackout and All Clear, but more condensed.  Connie Willis deserves the awards she has won for her writing!

In Doomsday Book, which is a play on the name Domesday Book, the title of a surviving eyewitness account of the Black Death, a graduate student historian from Oxford is accidentally sent to 1348, which is right when the plague struck the Oxford area.  The book offers fascinating insight into the development of the English language in the Middle Ages, how life looked in small villages surrounding a manor and a church, and the various ways people dealt with the Black Death.

This book is less about the concept of time travel, although one story line takes place in 1348 and the other in 2060.  I think Willis does a fantastic job of making both the past and the future seem accessible and understandable.

As I’ve said before, I highly recommend these books to anyone with a passing interest in history or who loves of a well told story.


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