Ian Mortimer (historian)
22 September 1967|
Petts Wood, England
|Alma mater||University of Exeter, University College London|
|Genre||history, historiography, historical fiction|
Ian James Forrester Mortimer FSA FRHistS (born 22 September 1967) is a British historian and writer of historical fiction. He is best known for his book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, which became a Sunday Times bestseller in paperback in 2010.
Mortimer was born in Petts Wood, and was educated at Eastbourne College, the University of Exeter (BA, PhD, DLitt) and University College London (MA). Between 1993 and 2003 he worked for several major research institutions, including the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, the University of Exeter and University of Reading.
Mortimer has written a sequence of biographies of medieval political leaders: first Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, then Edward III, and Henry IV, in addition to 1415, a year in the life of Henry V.
Mortimer's best known book, however, is The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, first published in the UK in 2008. He is also well known for pioneering the argument (based on evidence such as the Fieschi Letter) that Edward II did not die in Berkeley Castle in 1327 in his first two books and an article in the English Historical Review.
Mortimer has also carried out research into the social history of early modern medicine. His essay "The Triumph of the Doctors" was awarded the 2004 Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society. In this essay he demonstrated that ill and injured people close to death shifted their hopes of physical salvation from an exclusively religious source of healing power (God, or Christ) to a predominantly human one (physicians and surgeons) over the period 1615–70, and argued that this shift of outlook was among the most profound changes western society has ever experienced.
In 2011, Mortimer entered the genre of historical fiction, publishing the first book from his Elizabethan era Clarenceux Trilogy using the pen name of James Forrester. James Forrester are Mortimer's middle names.
Historical works (selected)
- Human Race: Ten Centuries of Change on Earth (Vintage, 2015; formerly published as Centuries of Change: which century saw the most change and why it matters to us by The Bodley Head, 2014)
- The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England: a Handbook for Visitors to the Sixteenth Century (The Bodley Head, 2012)
- Medieval Intrigue: Decoding Royal Conspiracies (Continuum, 2010)
- 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory (The Bodley Head, 2009)
- The Dying and the Doctors: the Medical Revolution in Seventeenth-Century England (The Royal Historical Society, 2009)
- The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: a Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century (The Bodley Head, 2008)
- What isn't History? The Nature and Enjoyment of History in the Twenty-First Century, History, 93, 4 (October 2008), pp. 454–74.
- Beyond the Facts: how true originality in history has fallen foul of postmodernism, research targets and commercial pressure, Times Literary Supplement (26 September 2008), pp. 16–17.
- The Fears of Henry IV: the Life of England's Self-Made King (Jonathan Cape, 2007)
- The Perfect King: the Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation (Jonathan Cape, 2006)
- The Death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, The English Historical Review, cxx, 489 (2005), pp. 1175–1214.
- The Triumph of the Doctors: Medical Assistance to the Dying, 1570-1720, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 15 (2005), pp. 97–116.
- The Greatest Traitor: the Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Ruler of England 1327-1330 (Jonathan Cape, 2003)
- Berkshire Probate Accounts, 1583-1712 (Berkshire Record Society, 1999)
- Berkshire Glebe Terriers, 1634 (Berkshire Record Society, 1995)
James Forrester Historical Fiction
- Sacred Treason (UK: Headline, 2010 US: Sourcebooks, 2012)
- The Roots of Betrayal (UK: Headline, 2011 US: Sourcebooks, 2013)
- The Final Sacrament (UK: Headline, 2012 US: Sourcebooks, 2013)
- For a synopsis, see: Ian Mortimer: A Note on the Deaths of Edward II.
- Craney, Glen (6 August 2010). "Lies, Damn Lies, and Historical Fiction". History Into Fiction. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "James Forrester". Amazon.com. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "12 Feb Ballot Results". News. Society of Antiquaries of London. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.