Social & Industrial History
Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
Alarmed by the French Revolution, the rulers of Georgian Britain established a network of spies and informers to infiltrate and monitor radical groups at home. Drawing on official records and contemporary accounts, this compelling history probes the shadowy world of government agents pitted against Irish rebels, Luddites, the Pentrick uprising of 1817 and the 1820 plot to murder the cabinet. In vivid prose, the book recreates a climate of fear and repression, in which even peaceful reformers risked arrest.
Why the English Sailed to the New World
During the 17th century unprecedented numbers of people left England. They were on their way to new lives in the Caribbean and the North American colonies – but what were their motivations for undertaking such a perilous transatlantic voyage? Using contemporary letters, diaries and court records, Evans tells the personal stories of men and women who left their homeland in search of a fortune, for political and religious reasons or because their desperate poverty meant they had little to lose.
How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain
Nothing reveals as much about a society as its bad behaviour, and if Shakespeare’s England is remembered for courtly ceremony, it was also an age of brawling, boozing and badmouthing. Drawing on contemporary behaviour manuals, court cases and sermons, Ruth Goodman, the presenter of Victorian Farm, reveals what most upset and infuriated our forebears. Her entertaining survey dishes the dirt on ninny-hammers, wittols, stinkards and draggletails, and offers practical advice on how to handle yourself in a fight.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.
The Society Doctor Who Held Victorian London Spellbound
Physician John Elliotson and his friend Thomas Wakley, founding editor of The Lancet, were well-known medical pioneers in Victorian London. Yet when Elliotson championed the new ‘science’ of mesmerism, which purported to dull surgical pain, their friendship – and Elliotson’s credibility – were severely tested. Against a backdrop of Victorian lecture theatres and hospital wards, the two distinguished men publicly clashed over a technique which, for all its successes and failures, is still little understood.
The Iron Men
The Workers Who Created the New Iron Age
By the early 19th century a second Iron Age had begun, with ships, bridges, trains and industrial machinery being constructed from the newly popular metal. Burton explains the innovations in manufacturing processes that enabled so many advances in technologies using iron and steel, but also focuses on the human cost of this progress, which brought new risks of deadly accident for the workers and ruined the lungs of Sheffield’s knife grinders.
A Venetian Affair
As the glory of Venice faded, the scion of one of the city's oldest patrician families fell in love with the beautiful, illegitimate 16-year-old daughter of a British father and an Italian mother. Recreated from the lovers' clandestine letters, this true story has all the drama, passion and intrigue of a novel. Against a glittering backdrop of 18th-century salons, casinos and masked balls, it vividly recreates the pain and exhilaration of forbidden love. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Conflict in Early Modern England
Described by one reviewer as 'wonderfully mischievous', this study argues against the view that people in early modern England assumed patriarchy to be natural and necessary, and that the 'public man', 'private woman' distinction explained the political subordination of women. Showing how conflict rather than patriarchal accord was pervasive in households as husbands, wives and servants struggled for authority, Herzog conjures up 'a social world full of ornery, funny, sickening, and lethal controversies about gender, misogyny, public and private'.
Everyday Life in Tudor London
Stephen Porter describes the practicalities and personalities of Tudor London; from 1485, when the victorious Henry Tudor arrived after Bosworth with an army so unruly, the Mayor proclaimed a curfew, to 1600, by which time overcrowding and congestion in the city streets had led to parking restrictions. With a wealth of detail, Porter evokes a bustling trading city, the hub of England's political and cultural life, and home to royalty, rogues, churchmen, tradespeople and, by all accounts, beautiful women.
The Making of Victorian Values
Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789–1837
Ben Wilson explores 'the way the British went about moral rearmament' in the early 19th century. His focus is on the generation born in the aftermath of the American and French revolutions, and he begins with the libertine spirit inspired by Byron, Shelley and the Romantics. He then examines how 'an alliance of evangelical reformers and secular utilitarians' fought against forms of debauchery and vice to shape the moral, political and social character of 19th century Britain. Slightly off-mint.
Life in the Georgian Court
When Queen Anne died in 1714, George, Elector of Hanover, acceded to the British throne. Organized in four main acts – Childhood, Marriage, Scandal and Death – rather than as a comprehensive history, this is a collection of true stories from the Georgian era. Romantic, tragic, eccentric and sometimes gory, the tales are engagingly told, revealing the real people beneath the wigs and pomp of the period, and complemented by a useful timeline and a section of black-and-white portraits.
Masters and Servants in Tudor England
Life in Tudor England was ordered in a very strict social hierarchy, and the divisions between the classes were firmly maintained: it was understood that everyone, apart from the monarch, served someone, and service was valued rather than denigrated. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, Tudor expert Alison Sim investigates the role of service at every level of society, and provides an informative and entertaining account of the lives of the people who kept the wheels of daily life turning.
The People's History of Native Americans
Discovered after the death of the distinguished American historian Page Smith (1917–1995), and published posthumously, this volume was intended as the final part of Smith's People's History of America. The narrative traces the Native American story from the first encounter with Europeans to the end of the Indian Wars at Wounded Knee in 1890, but rather than a comprehensive history, Smith aims to explore the nature of the interchange between white settlers and the indigenous peoples of North America.