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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many stories rolled into one life.
This would be an interesting tale if it was just about one of the biggest celebrities and most famous comedians of his age, or about a famous murder case written up and sensationalised by the nephew of both the victim and the accused, or about a Georgian sex scandal. It is all of these and more. Has a large cast of equally interesting players. And by the way the main...
Published 7 months ago by KAW

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well researched but stodgy
The story of Samuel Foote is fascinating, and Ian Kelly has done a wonderful job in researching the story. Sadly the telling of it was stodgy and pedantic. A much lighter touch would have better served the tale of a great comic writer and actor. The only time the style of the writer and the content really work is in the two trials at the end of the book where the dour and...
Published 15 months ago by Dotsmate


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many stories rolled into one life., 29 Jan 2014
This would be an interesting tale if it was just about one of the biggest celebrities and most famous comedians of his age, or about a famous murder case written up and sensationalised by the nephew of both the victim and the accused, or about a Georgian sex scandal. It is all of these and more. Has a large cast of equally interesting players. And by the way the main character had his leg removed after an accident following a bet with a member of the royal family. Would make a great tv show. Sometimes went into repetitive detail about staging Footes' plays and his spats with Garrick, which is why I dropped a star. Very detailed research, evidenced in the notes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well researched but stodgy, 22 Jun 2013
By 
Dotsmate (Sydney Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London (Hardcover)
The story of Samuel Foote is fascinating, and Ian Kelly has done a wonderful job in researching the story. Sadly the telling of it was stodgy and pedantic. A much lighter touch would have better served the tale of a great comic writer and actor. The only time the style of the writer and the content really work is in the two trials at the end of the book where the dour and meticulous writing are a good mix with what is happening at the trials.
As with some other readers I almost stopped reading in the ponderous first 3/4 of the book.
Dotsmate
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting on so many counts!, 15 Dec 2012
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This is a fascinating book, intensely well written and admirably researched. Samuel Foote [I had never heard of him] was a friend and colleague of David Garrick, but while Garrick became THE successful actor, Foote specialised in a sort of dangerous satirical mimcry on stage and was, until his downfall , very successful. The book reveals a multitude of historical facts, illustrated with vivid examples from Foote's career, about the development of theatre in the mid eighteenth century; one item charts the change in styles of Shakespearean acting with particular regard to the interpretation of Shylock. Sam Foote lost a leg following an accident, and the research into the amputation procedure, written in grisly but factual detail is unforgettable; so is the suggestion [put forward by John Hunter the surgeon who attended him later] that he suffered personality disinhibition as the result of the head injury he sustained at the same time. Most interesting, to me, was the information gleaned on gay life in London in the mid eighteenth century - Sam was ultimately involved in a scandal which effectively wiped him from historical memory.
The writing is thoughtful, demanding and sometimes very funny - see the story surrounding the death of the actor who became the most famous Drury Lane ghost. I recommend it wholeheartedly, with the simple caveat that due to the quality of the writing it is not a quick read.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb romp through a fascinating life. This book has legs!, 18 Oct 2012
This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London (Hardcover)
Ian Kelly makes it clear from the outset that Samuel Foote is not name most are familiar with. He then spends the rest of the book posing an eloquent and highly entertaining argument as to why we should familiarise ourselves with both his name and the fascinating context in which he became both most celebrated and, subsequently, reviled man of his era.

The pace of the book is breath-taking. Kelly packs in a huge amount of detail, supported by some sumptuous illustrations, and a stomach-churning descriptions of the amputation of Foote's 'other leg'.

The read is a sumptuous romp. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A joy, 11 May 2014
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Ian Kelly marshals a vast amount of research into a delightful biography which is easy to read and gives a vivid sense of 18th-century life in London. He is careful not to fictionalise or impose 21st-century views onto the story of a fascinating character who was one of the celebrities of his day and is now completely forgotten.
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5.0 out of 5 stars anh interesting biography, 6 Nov 2013
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I am a volunteer at Delaval Hall and the book helps me to impart a little more information to the many visitors who are intrigued with the history of the building and the people that lived there. I will certainly deal with this firm again if the need arrises.
I am still reading the book which was welll researched
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Foote's Other Leg, 11 Mar 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London (Hardcover)
I came across a review of this book on the website of the BBC History Magazine, and thought it sounded a very intriguing book. So I looked it out to read.

Samuel Foote was born probably in 1720 in Cornwall, the youngest of three boys in his family. His mother came from a well-to-do family of some lineage, but the family were for a very long time embroiled in court cases over inheritances and property. Sam's mother and her two brothers were no different, and Sam's first chance at some fame (or infamy) came in 1741 when one of his uncles was killed. The ensuing scandal and trial were utilised by Sam in writing of the events, and this helped him to get himself free of debtor's prison - the first time. Already, Sam's life was taking twists and turn unusual even in the rather rarefied atmosphere of Georgian London. Sam was clearly a character, and was well-known about town - friends with such as Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick. His wit and gregarious nature seems, right from the start, to have won him friends and influenced people.

Foote's next foray towards fame and fortune took him on to the stage. From there, we follow Foote's often eccentric and even rather bizzare public and private life. Along the way, we read of the Georgian staff and theatre, of eighteenth century sexual proclivities and their reception amongst Society, and the horrors of eighteenth century amputations, amongst other items of wonder and delight. Foote's rise amongst the wits, his run in the theatre and amongst well-known Society, and his scandalous fall are laid out for the reader with frank openness. Sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, often sad, Foote's life seems to have been a most unusual one, even for his times. This book is well written, very engaging to read, and offers a glimpse into the type of life most of us would never have dreamed could have existed. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you want to know about theatre in the age of Garrick, and never dared to ask., 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London (Hardcover)
This is a book vibrant with facts newly revealed by energetic scholastic archaeology; but it is not for the faint hearted:"Mr Foote's Other Leg" was amputated on a table in a Scottish castle. However, this character actor uses his painful infirmity as a "running" gag for the rest of his combative life. This not just a stage door celebrity story; is is more a tale of a personally self-imposed disastrous life, ducking and diving in the ruthless jungle of Society, Stage, and Politics.
There is, however, a certain roughness and repetition in the structure of the book which hardly detracts from its energy, but must be mentioned.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, tragedy and murder in Georgian London (Hardcover)
Well written in an easy to read style. Subject was absorbing and at times amusing. A great insight into the time and events of the era. A really good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, a fascinating life, 25 July 2014
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A superb peek at a very interesting period that I frankly had known little about.
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