Neil MacGregor (author of of A History of the World in 100 Objects fame) discusses in this book an object from Shakespeare's day, connecting it to the plays or the theatre at Shakespeare's time and also using it as a means to try to help the reader understand the society of the day.
Each chapter focuses on one object linked to an aspect of the plays - for example, a model ship leads us to the witches in Macbeth - and then MacGregor tells the reader of how the audience at that time would have reacted when witches were still believed to have the power of raising storms, causing shipwrecks etc.
In another chapter, he looks at The Tempest and a 'magical' mirror and then goes on to discuss how magic and science were intermingled ' at time when superstition was wide-spread. A woodcut leads to the one Irish character in Shakespeare's plays, a soldier in Henry V, and gives an opportunity for MacGregor to discuss the troubled relationship between England and Ireland during Elizabeth's reign. Every chapter, though short, is packed full of information.
Pictures of the objects are included, so the reader can relate better to them. So all in all it is not a bad book. Maybe because I have already read so much on Shakespeare and his time I got a little bit bored. So maybe this book is more for people who are trying for the first time to get a better understand of Shakespeare's plays. Then I can definitely recommend it. If you already know quite a bit, this is a nice refresher course.