Review: The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium

The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium
by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger

A fascinating and informative look at what life would have been like in England in the year 1000.

In this book, a journalist and a historian team up to take us back into the everyday life of the Anglo-Saxons of "Engla-land" at the turn of the first millennium. Danny Danziger is the journalist, currently with the London Sunday Times. Robert Lacey is the historian - perhaps most well known to Americans as the author of Ford, The Man and The Machine. Together they have produced a highly readable 200 page journey back in time.

The book is organized as a journey through the year 1000. Using the monthly drawings from the Julius Work Calendar (dated roughly to the year 1020) as their starting point, each chapter highlights activities of daily life that occurred in a particular month (plowing, hunting, feasting, living thru each year's "hunger gap" when the food from last year's harvest was exhausted, and this year's harvest not yet in). It's a great way to approach the material and really lets you feel as if you are moving through the year 1000 yourself.

I give The Year 1000 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I really liked it book and was glad I read it. I learned a quite a little from it and if you haven't already read it then I recommend you do (it came out in 1999 in time for the turning of the second millennium).

NOTE #1: The Julius Work Calendar is available for viewing online through the British Library if you are curious about the drawings this book uses as it's starting point. The drawings are on plates f.3r through f.8v at this link:

NOTE #2: I'd also like to point out another book that has a very similar theme - Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. Where Lacey and Danziger focus on Anglo-Saxon England in the year 1000, Mortimer picks up the story in the fourteenth century, well after the Norman conquest of 1066. His book is a bit longer and more detailed. I read it about five or six years back and found it just as engaging as this one. So if you think you'd like The Year 1000, you'll likely also want to explore Mortimer's book.

The Year 1000 links

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