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The Penguin Social History of Britain: English Society in the Eighteenth Century
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2009
Although jam-packed with details and contemporary quotations, far from being a dry academic work, Roy Porter's book brings the sights, sounds and (almost!) smells of the 18th Century to life.

The book's themes (which include Contrasts, The Social Order, Power, Politics and The Law) cover every aspect of social life, from the aristocracy to the poor, leaving the reader with a very vivid picture of English life.

Porter clearly knows his onions and puts his knowledge into print in an easy to read, frequently humourous, and always memorable fashion, leaving the reader both educated and entertained.

If there is just one book on this time period that you read, then this one needs very serious consideration.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2011
I had an urge to learn about England in the 18th Century and this told me much about it. Not necessarily the big events we may have already heard of, but the background social/political changes that contributed to the big changes and led to the industrial revolution of the 19th Century and Britain's dominance of the world...
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Roy Porter, who died at the early age of 55, wrote this wonderful history and in many ways it is his memorial. It is comprehensive in its range, provides minute and often colourful details by way of illustration and examples of matters raised, and above all demonstrates an intimate and loving knowledge of the period. Moreover the book is both stylish and witty. A pleasure to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2012
I am writing a novel set in the late 18th century and bought this book as a starting point for my research. Compared with other, more "academic" texts on the period, I found it a quick, accessible read that did an excellent job of bringing Georgian England - warts and all - to life. Nine chapters cover the social hierarchy; the living conditions of the rich, the poor and the middling man (and woman); politics and the judicial system; religion and irreligion; the birth of our present-day materialistic society; the beginning of the industrial revolution; and more. Detailed but not overwhelming, with an extensive further reading list and an appendix of statistical tables, I would recommend English Society in the Eighteenth Century to anyone needing a broad introduction to the Hanoverian era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2012
I needed a comprehensive history of social life in the 18th century as a basis for research and preparation for a new novel. This book covers all of the aspects in which I was interested written in a pleasant style and packed with recorded comments attributed to those living at the time. A lot of pages for the price and well worth it.
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on 13 December 2013
Well written in an easy style, most informative especially as i'm interested in the Social, Political and Economic History of 18th, 19th and 20th century and this book appears to give a good insight into the18th century. Shall be looking for other volumes to compliment it. Would recommend it anybody with similar tastes
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on 3 September 2013
It is a great pity that Roy Porter has not brought his obvious talents to 19th and 20th century English History. This book is a well written broad brush account of its subject. Easily absorbed and authoritative, including many references that enlighten and give meaning to all that followed in 19th century England.
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on 28 January 2015
I haven't finished reading it yet but so far it has been a fascinating read. This is my favourite period in history and I love books which can 'build a picture' in my mind and this book certainly does that.
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on 28 June 2015
A fascionating read for the historian or the general reader. Clearly written and with a great sympathy for the people of the eighteenth century.
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2014
One of the few general overviews of the century I could find. Quite a broad-brush breeze through but useful nonetheless.
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