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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant research and a good read too., 28 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
This biography reads like a well written novel. The reader begins to care about Pepys, moving away from just being interested in him. You realise that the glory of his diary (which I haven't read, except for the excerts in the book) is that you begin to understand how he felt and how he thought. In many biographies the author has to use actions and a few letters written to someone else (and therefore public) to speculate how the subject felt. With Pepys Claire Tomalin has the evidence of Pepys' personal thoughts which were meant solely for himself to read so we can be more confident that we know him. She uses it well.

The interest about Pepys is that he managed to thrive towards the end of the Cromwell era and become really well regarded and powerful after the Restoration. He was one of those politicians/civil servants who kept his head just below the parapet in dangerous times and became valued by most whatever their persuasion. These were dangerous times far from the oversimplified view of Cromwell = misery and fear, Charles II = lots of fun.

By reading this biography you will find out about the personal life of a poor lad who got almost to the top against the background of an era when the antics of our present politicians had their birth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich and stunning book, 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
Although there is little of the actual diaries, anyone wanting to know 'why the fuss' about Pepys will find this answers the question. She brings him and his world fully to life, with the effortless inclusion of history that makes you feel much better informed at the end, for example about the Civil War - Englishmen fighting each other on the streets of London, and the attempted Dutch invasion up the Mersey river - as well as very well entertained.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Briiliant personal and historical account, 10 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
This gives a much fuller historical and judged account of Pepys diaries.
It puts the life in a context and brings to the foreground important aspects which are missing in the diary itself.
Maybe I missed the juiciness of the live dialogue from Pepys' words which accounts for the 4 instead of 5 star rating. But I understood him much better as a human and political being.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant and interesting read, 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
Reads like a novel. Well researched and thoroughly presented. History does not need fictitious storytelling to be engaging at all as this work clearly proves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life in the 1600s, 21 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
I have really enjoyed reading this book. Not only has the author given a biography of Samuel Pepys but she has also provided some family history. In addition, images of Pepys life during the time of Cromwell's Commonwealth and the accession of Charles II are well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A superb biography. Everyone should read it who has ..., 25 July 2014
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
A superb biography. Everyone should read it who has even a mild interest in Pepys. Claire Tomalin digs deep into the life and character of this fascinating man. She brings to life the whole period - itself one of the most interesting times in history.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knock out!, 13 Aug 2013
This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
After reading her biography of Charles Dickens, I was inspired to read this one. It is interesting and hugely entertaining and did not disappoint. Pepys was a fascinating character and she describes him so well in the context of the times. Loved it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 2 May 2013
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Mr. A. Nockles "Tony Nockles" (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Paperback)
Pepys' story only goes to show that nothing much has really changed in the twenty first century. Well worth reading.
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Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self
Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin (Paperback - 21 Jun 2012)
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