Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice From Yesteryear

Ask the Past Book Cover Ask the Past
Elizabeth P. Archibald
Humor
Hachette Books
2015-05-05
304

Want to know how to garden with lobsters? How to sober up? Grow a beard? Or simply how to make a perfect omelet? Look no further. Rather, look backward. Based on the popular blog, Ask the Past is full of the wisdom of the ages--as well as the fad diets, zany pickup lines, and bacon Band-Aids of the ages. Drawn from centuries of antique texts by historian and bibliophile Elizabeth P. Archibald, Ask the Past offers a delightful array of advice both wise and weird. Whether it's eighteenth-century bedbug advice (sprinkle bed with gunpowder and let smolder), budget fashion tips of the Middle Ages (save on the clothes, splurge on the purse) or a sixteenth-century primer on seduction (hint: do no pass gas), Ask the Past is a wildly entertaining guide to life from the people who lived it first.

 

Review:

Historian Elizabeth P. Archibald does a wonderful job in “Ask the Past” of showing that history can be fun and entertaining.  Her collection of some of the best/worst excerpts from antique etiquette and advice books and pamphlets, along with accompanying illustrations, had me laughing so hard that I could not breathe.  Her snarky “translations” at the end of each excerpt doubled the entertainment value.

Aside from being entertaining, her introduction breaks down her research methods in a way that will help novice historians learn how to take tiny bits of information and use it to get an overall picture of the society of the time.

Also, I would like to note that I am forever grateful to the person who established that it is not appropriate to attack someone who is defecating.  Where would we be as a society if that was still an acceptable practice?

“Ask the Past” is the perfect gift for anyone old enough for fart and sex jokes made classier through Old English.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

As this is an adult book, there is no content warning.

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