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British Abroad [Paperback]

Jeremy Black
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 July 2003
Travel for pleasure developed greatly in the 18th century, and here Jeremy Black examines travel on the Continent, the so-called "Grand Tour".

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (1 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750931698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750931694
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.8 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jeremy Black is professor of history at the University of Exeter. His other books include Walpole in Power, The Making of Modern Britain and War: Past, Present and Future.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, a real treasure-trove! 30 Jan 2010
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As I'm partial to historical novels, I had come across the notion of 'the Grand Tour' lots of times (as, for instance, in novels as diverse as Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair' or Nicholas Griffin's 'The Masquerade') so when I found this book on Amazon I jumped at the chance and bought it immediately. And what a good decision that turned out to be! Jeremy Black discusses the Grand Tour at its height (the 18th century) in all its diversity. No stone is left unturned, as you can tell from the chapter headings:
- Numbers
- Routes and destinations
- Cost and finance
- Transport
- Accommodation
- Food and Drink
- War, Disputes, Accidents and Crime
- Health and Death
- Love, Sex, Gambling and Drinking
- Social and Political Reflections
- Religion
- The Arts
- The debate over the Grand tour: conclusions

What's more, this isn't just a secondhand description of the above-mentioned topics. Black riddles each chapter with dozens of not hundreds of quotes and excerpts from private journals and letters to family and friends (argueing, and rightly so according to me, that these often reflect more objectively and honestly the thoughts and feelings of the writers as compared to what's written in journals meant from the very start to be published). I cannot begin to imagine how much material Black must have perused to assemble this tsunami of quotes, but they are highly effective: one really gets a very lively and firsthand insight into the (often hilarious) things people wrote in their own journals or home to friends and family.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wider Perspectives 24 Feb 2010
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a review of the 2003 paperback edition, published with the title `The British Abroad - the Grand Tour in the Eighteenth Century'. (While concentrating on the period from 1713 to 1793, he also considers the years from 1689.) The original hardback was published in 1992, but even earlier - in 1985 - the author had entered the field with his `The British and the Grand Tour'. However, instead of merely revising this work, "I have preferred to write a different work", incorporating much new material.

In the preface, Jeremy Black's opening paragraph immediately addresses the point that although "the Grand Tour involved essentially a trip to Paris and a tour of the principal Italian cities", it was not a rigid itinerary and often expanded its horizons to much of central Europe. It was pleasing, therefore, for me to find that Vienna had just as many entries in the index as Venice.

Black then goes on to address the issue of sources, making a clear distinction between accounts intended for publication and more private manuscript letters and diaries: "Letters written on the spot and a the time are a more accurate guide to experience than the polished prose of calm recollection." Black complains that, "By ignoring the vast bulk of unprinted material and concentrating on a small number of familiar texts, a somewhat narrow conception of eighteenth-century tourism has developed."

The benefit of these two points - the wider geographical coverage and the wealth of first-hand material - is evinced in another passage worthy of a quote: "The young man keen on a future military career who attended Prussian manoeuvres in Silesia or his counterpart who studied the glaciers in the Alps is as worthy of attention as his counterpart admiring the contents of the Uffizi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Broad Education 27 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a readable book, based on solid research and a wide range of sources, explaining why the Grand Tour became such an important part of life for the wealthiest members of British society, how people travelled, where they stayed, what they ate, the sights they saw, the people they met, the money they spent, the illnesses they contracted and the souvenirs they brought back. There are a few illustrations but these are intended only to complement the text, this is not a coffee-table book.

Recommended as a comprehensive but straightforward introduction to Grand Tourism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 28 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fun history.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 5 Oct 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very detailed account of what it would have been like for a well-to-do Englishman to travel the Continent in the mid to late 18th Century. It's all here. How they got around, what they saw, what they wore, the difficulties encountered, etc. Visiting distant lands could be dangerous and deadly, many succumbing to disease (including STDs).
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help Your Next History Project! 25 Mar 2000
By Noravian - Published on
I absolutely adore this book! It is so thorough and will give you the most generic yet magnificent facts on whatever you need to know about the Grand Tour. You can definately use this if you're a history buff! It's easy to understand and fascinating...
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