How To Be a Tudor

A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life

Ruth Goodman (Author)

Logo markA Liveright book

Overview | Formats

From an historian who advised on the BBC’s Wolf Hall, an erudite romp through the intimate details of life in Tudor England.

On the heels of her triumphant How to Be a Victorian, Ruth Goodman travels even further back in English history to the era closest to her heart, the dramatic period from the crowning of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth I. Drawing on her own adventures living in re-created Tudor conditions, Goodman serves as our intrepid guide to sixteenth-century living. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, this charming, illustrative work celebrates the ordinary lives of those who labored through the era. From sounding the “hue and cry” to alert a village to danger to malting grain for homemade ale, from the gruesome sport of bear-baiting to cuckolding and cross-dressing—the madcap habits and revealing intimacies of life in the time of Shakespeare are vividly rendered for the insatiably curious.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • February 2016
  • ISBN 978-1-63149-139-9
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide, excluding Canada, the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverHow To Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life


Endorsements & Reviews

“Immersive, engrossing…a reminder that while we believe we see the past from a detached, enlightened perspective, our view is often blinkered, and so is our notion of what constitutes human needs and nature. It’s one thing to pay lip service to how much the Western family has changed over the past several centuries and another to witness someone recreating the way it once worked…The revelatory truth behind the sumptuous gowns and palaces of Wolf Hall isn’t how badly those kings and princesses smelled but just how hard everyone else was working in the rest of their world.” — Laura Miller, Slate

“[Goodman's] enthusiasm is exhilarating and contagious; her writing is clear and clean, sharply observant of tactile details and what they reveal about 16th-century life…Goodman approaches a plainspoken lyricism, a prosaic celebration of her ancestors and the world they made.” — Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

“Engagingly written and awash in the practicalities of life in the age, [How to Be a Tudor] presents a vivid, fascinating era of British history and reminds us that we're never as far from the past as we like to think.” — Genevieve Valentine,

“Goodman’s latest foray into immersive history is a revelation…This fascinating book shows us commoners at their patriotic Sunday afternoon archery practice and Henry VIII playing tennis in a crimson satin doublet, with evening prayers for all. It’s the next best thing to being there.” — Sarah Ferguson, New York Times Book Review

“An intimate look inside the 16th-century household. In this natural follow-up to How to Be a Victorian (2014), historian Goodman mines advice manuals, poems, letters, Shakespeare's plays, and even cookbooks to etch in captivating detail a portrait of life in Tudor and Elizabethan England…. Fresh and illuminating history.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Ruth is the queen of living history, long may she reign!” — Lucy Worsley, author of The Art of the English Murder

“A deeply researched and endlessly fascinating account of what it was like to live as a Tudor. The narrative is rich in period detail and based upon a thorough review of the contemporary sources, but what makes it unique is the fact that Goodman has put it all into practice—sleeping, eating, washing and dressing like a Tudor. As a result, How To Be a Tudor is one of very few books which can justifiably claim to bring every aspect of this enduringly popular period dazzlingly to life.” — Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell

Also by Ruth Goodman All

  1. Book CoverHow to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life


  2. Book CoverHow to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England: A Guide for Knaves, Fools, Harlots, Cuckolds, Drunkards, Liars, Thieves, and Braggarts