Thursday, November 28, 2013

Shakespeare's Restless World by Neil MacGregor

The New York Times bestselling author of 
A History of the World in 100 Objects 
brings the world of Shakespeare
and the Tudor era of Elizabeth I into focus

We feel we know Shakespeare’s characters. Think of Hamlet, trapped in indecision, or Macbeth’s merciless and ultimately self-destructive ambition, or the Machiavellian rise and short reign of Richard III. They are so vital, so alive and real that we can see aspects of ourselves in them. But their world was at once familiar and nothing like our own.

In this brilliant work of historical reconstruction Neil MacGregor and his team at the British Museum, working together in a landmark collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC, bring us twenty objects that capture the essence of Shakespeare’s universe. A perfect complement to A History of the World in 100 Objects, MacGregor’s landmark New York Times bestseller, Shakespeare’s Restless World highlights a turning point in human history.

This magnificent book, illustrated throughout with more than one hundred vibrant color photographs, invites you to travel back in history and to touch, smell, and feel what life was like at that pivotal moment, when humankind leaped into the modern age. This was an exhilarating time when discoveries in science and technology altered the parameters of the known world. Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation map allows us to imagine the age of exploration from the point of view of one of its most ambitious navigators. A bishop’s cup captures the most sacred and divisive act in Christendom.

With A History of the World in 100 Objects, MacGregor pioneered a new way of telling history through artifacts. Now he trains his eye closer to home, on a subject that has mesmerized him since childhood, and lets us see Shakespeare and his world in a whole new light.

Shakespeare’s Restless World is a clever book that compares objects from the Tudor era and defines them against the social and political climate of that period. The items chosen are intriguing in themselves – a chalice, a poniard, a medal, a fork, a painting, a martyr’s eye, a bible, and several more odd and unusual artefacts. The author correlates them to Shakespeare, his plays, and the everyday life of the English people.

The book has numerous colorful illustrations and photos; a visual treat to enhance the reading and learning experience. It is written in easy, conversational English with plenty of wit, humor, and unusual, little known facts that will keep the reader entertained from start to finish. Not only is this book a visual and intellectual treat, but it is a work of art with stunning photos, an appealing cover, and an author who knows how to impart historical learning in a way that is most enjoyable. A must have for Tudor and Elizabethean enthusiasts! 

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