Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear by Elizabeth P. Archibald

Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear by Elizabeth P. Archibald

While you may find the long title daunting, or think that antique advice cannot possibly be interesting or funny or even hold your attention, let me present this fun collection of facts and humorous explanations by Elizabeth P. Archibald.

Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice

Ever wonder if the ‘rules’ or advice given to your grandmother was different from that given to her grandmother? How have rules for behaving in school changed? What about getting rid of that pesky hangover or how to talk to the new cute neighbor, remove a stain, or perhaps even how to tell a joke?  This is the book for you.

Advice, information and humor all mix together to bring this series of facts from useful to ridiculous from the actual pamphlets and books that were ‘al the rage’ of their day.  Adding to the delight in some of the proclamations is the authors ‘translation’ of the advice – often snarky, always funny and completely spot on. It feels wrong to me to call this non-fiction: but the clear explanation of how these facts and advice were culled from actual works, but I don’t think that the original authors ever thought they would be so much fun!

Narration for this little gem is provided by Graeme Malcolm and Elizabeth Archibald in a wonderfully unique style.  Malcolm with his solid broadcaster’s voice, clear diction and rather ‘take charge’ tone dispenses the actual advice.  This is then followed by Archibald presenting her ‘asides and translations’, and it honestly is a toss-up which is funnier.  This is, hands down, the funniest collection of advice and etiquette I have ever encountered.

Stars Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5

Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear by Elizabeth P. Archibald

Title: Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear
Author: Elizabeth P. Archibald
Genre: Non Fiction
Narrator: Graeme Malcolm, Elizabeth Archibald
Published by: Hachette Audio
ISBN: 0316298891
Published on: 5 May 2015
Source: Hachette Audio
Pages: 304
Audio Length: 2 Hours: 34 Minutes
Rated: five-stars
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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.

A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Elizabeth P. Archibald

Yale-educated historian Elizabeth P. Archibald is an instructor at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins. Her research focuses on the history of education from antiquity to the Renaissance, as well as the history of books. She launched the blog Ask the Past in 2013.

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