Customer Reviews


38 Reviews
5 star:
 (17)
4 star:
 (12)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic profile of an overlooked period
The period surrounding the passing of the Great Reform Act 1832 is often overlooked due to its seemingly dull core of electoral administration and reform. However, as Antonia Fraser expertly shows in this work, nothing could be further from the truth.

Fraser's success in this work is threefold. Firstly, she describes with great aplomb the social upheavals and...
Published 14 months ago by Huw Davies

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic in Parts.
This book was received with great acclaim and in some ways it merits it. There is certainly nothing about the 1832 Reform Act that a general reader would want to know that is omitted.The characters of the time, especially Grey and Wellington emerge quite clearly. On the other hand, as the author acknowledges, the Act was only a beginning: a small addition to the number...
Published 13 months ago by Michael S


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reform Bill made real, 21 May 2013
By 
Brian R. Martin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The story of the Great Reform Bill of 1832 has been told many times before, but I suspect few accounts can match this one by the well-known author of histories and novels, Antonia Fraser. It is relatively short, less than 300 pages, and written for the general reader, not professional historians, although it is clear that it is the result of considerable research, and there are plenty of references and sources quoted to back up the narrative.

It is a gripping story, when for a short time there was a serious danger that the anger of `the people' at the intransigence of the Tory dominated House of Lords in refusing to pass the Bill, that had been passed by the Commons with a substantial majority, and that clearly had the backing of the majority of the population, would boil over into real revolution, with even the possibility of the overthrow of the monarchy, as in France. Fraser sets out clearly the nature of the injustices that the Reform Bill was designed to remove: the abolition of `rotten boroughs', some of which had only a handful of constituents, bought and sold by powerful members of the aristocracy, often for vast sums of money; public voting; no representation of the new industrial cities; and many others.

She gives excellent portraits of the main politicians on either side the debate, above all the almost saintly Lord Grey, head of the Whig government, who fought on for many years until the battle was finally won, and he could retire to his beloved family and country life. But there were other important players. For example, on the Whig side, and so pro-Bill, there was Lord Durham, a relative of Grey, but a truculent character who in cabinet was a thorn in his side, but who played an important role in keeping Grey from possibly compromising over the Bill when King William IV prevaricated about appointing a large number of new peers to ensure the passage of the Bill through the upper chamber. Pre-eminent on the anti-Bill side there stood the giant and hero of the country, the Duke of Wellington, who seemed to seriously believe that civilization in England would collapse if the Bill were passed, but whose intemperate speeches opposing it only served to unite the opposition, particularly among the general population, whose restraint owed much to the leadership and common sense of commoners, such as Thomas Attwood, Francis Place and Joseph Parkes. The relationships between these various factions, the noblemen fighting the battles in Parliament and conducting tortuous negotiations with the King, and the leaders of the mass movements outside Parliament, are superbly brought out in this book.

The Reform Bill of 1832 was far from perfect, there was still under-representation of towns compared to the country, still a property requirement before one could vote, and of course no votes for women. But it was the first essential step to what eventually we would recognize today as democracy. We all owe much to Grey and the others for sticking to the principles of the Bill and steering the country through to victory without it descending into bloody conflict. Antonia Fraser gives the reader a real feeling for the players in the drama and the times they lived in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Information, 3 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book filled a yawning gap in my knowledge. It is written in a style that needed very litle re-reading in order for me to understand the processes and drama of this period in history. I would have liked to see some pictures of the main characters but the description of them was detailed enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, 26 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Doesn't lend itself to audio very well. Could do with a bit more information on what was happening outside the realms of Parliament. Riots in the streets are kind of glossed over. A good historical piece.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erudite, 25 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great deal of research has gone into this erudite book but too much detail for me. I would also have liked more
information on the personalities or at least some of them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars see below, 27 July 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Confusion of names for me however fascinating to see that so many of those prominent families still flourish in the UK.

Not as good as her other biographies and historical stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent and Highly Entertaining Tale, 2 July 2013
By 
Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This book is subtitled, "The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832", and it is indeed a drama. Having known a little about the Reform Bill of 1832 and the first real, although small, increase in suffrage, the abolition of the `rotten' boroughs, and the representation of the new industrial towns and cities, I was not prepared for this real cliff-hanger of a tale in bringing the Act into law. Antonia Fraser does a splendid job in describing the tortuous progress of the Bill through parliament; the precipitation of a general election, riots across the country including a particularly bloody affair in Bristol and then the thorny constitutional question of whether or not good King William IV would be prepared to create Whig peers in order to overcome deep-seated Tory opposition in the Lords.
The author is able to clearly explain the substantially different thinking that prevailed in the early 19th century as regards suffrage and representation, even amongst the reformists, compared to that taken for granted today. The general notion of not so much a social contract but certainly a feeling that peace and security, and good governance, could only be assured when the administration was in the hands of the aristocracy whether Whig or Tory.
Fraser certainly keeps the story rolling along at a good pace and despite the fact that we know the outcome a good deal of tension is maintained as to the ways and means of the goal being attained. The cast of characters is fascinating as are the associated background anecdotes and there are examples of outstanding levels of social responsibility. Thomas Attwood presided over huge political meetings in Birmingham but always urged peaceful demonstration on his followers. The book includes three sections of very good illustrations. An excellent and highly entertaining read about a subject that in less skillful hands might well have become dull.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A readable survey, 24 Jun 2013
By 
Michael G. Hinton (Dover U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The story of the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 is a dramatic one, and Antonia Fraser does it justice. There is however no attempt at deeper analysis or to ;place the Act in a wider historical; context.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, 25 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Read it recently on holiday in two sittings - very absorbing and fast-paced. An excellent read and good value for money
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail, too little context, 27 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Perilous Question is a very detailed story, thoroughly researched and referenced, but I found that there was an absence of context. I would have preferred fewer intricate anecdotes about minor players in the story and more about what was really happening in the country that created the risk of revolution, and something about the wider impact of the Reform and how it affected the mass of people on the verge of rebellion
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It arrived on time in good condition and was just as described. A present for my grandson, it promises to amuse and inform.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Perilous Question: Reform or Revolution? Britain on the Brink, 1832
Used & New from: £5.77
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews