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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the American reader, 10 Sept. 2003
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This book is a quick overview of daily life in Nineteenth Century England. In particular, it attempts, in as small a space as possible, to answer all the questions that a modern American reader would have when reading Nineteenth Century British literature. Using many references to popular novels, the author goes through such workaday issues as food and drink, titles and social position, government and the law, and a host of other things.
This book is a real gem for American readers. It does not go into great depth on any subject, but it is encyclopedic in its reach. In particular, after chapters on many subjects, this book then goes into a 138 page (!) glossary that includes just about everything. I highly recommend this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy and entertaining reference, 12 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
Ideal for browsing or for reference, this book is let down only by its inability to cover everything and by some difficulty in finding precise details within it. However, for a general guide to the society of the Victorian Age, this is not only excellent, but also entertaining. In fact, while this is primarily intended as something to look up to aid understanding of Victorian fiction, I happily read straight throught the initial essays section without finding it dry or tedious. This is definitely aimed at the general reader, rather than the academic.
For similar, if more focussed, coverage of later Victorian fictions, I would recommend The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Sherlock Holmes by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good resource for lovers of 19th century British literature, 27 Nov. 2010
By 
H. M. Holt "souloftherose" (Tring, Herts) - See all my reviews
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Lost in Austen? Defeated by Dickens? Troubled by Trollope? Then this could be the book for you!

Daniel Pool has written an accessible and entertaining guide to 19th century life in England covering both the Regency and Victorian periods. Although aimed at American readers life in 19th century England was sufficiently different from life in 21st century England to make this a useful book for a native British person to read. The second half of the book is a 100 page glossary which would be a useful aide to refer to whilst reading.

What makes this book particularly interesting to a lover of 19th century British literature is that Pool often uses quotes or refers to passages in those well-known 19th century books to illustrate his explanations. Of course, this had the effect of either making me want to reread my favourite 19th century authors or investigate new ones -so be warned!

The only thing that stopped me from giving this book five stars was that I would have preferred a longer book with more information and pictures/diagrams. This book serves as a good introduction to the subject but left me wanting to know more and there were several areas where I felt the subjects discussed could have been much more easily explained using pictures. On the subject of carriages, for example, which are often mentioned in Austen's book, Pool runs through a list of the different coaches and carriages in use and the social status implied with each vehicle. But none of his explanation stayed in my head; the carriages all had fairly similar names and the descriptions given weren't enough to let me picture them in my head. A page of drawings illustrating the different types of carriages would have made all the difference. Similarly for the subject of dress in the 19th century. Would it have been all that difficult to include some pictures of the typical costumes worn by men and women during the 19th century?

But overall this was an enjoyable and informative read. It just needed a little bit more to make it truly exceptional.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little light on dates, but wide-ranging and enlightening, 8 Dec. 2009
By 
S. Frankland (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book for readers who want to find out about the nuts and bolts of daily life from 1800 to 1900. All periods seem equally well covered, with references back to the eighteenth century and before to explain why certain oddities emerged, and the information is neatly divided into logical and digestible chunks.

The only downside for me was a slight lack of specific dates for changes, but the bibliography lists contemporary and current works for further reference, most of which are simple enough to track down.

Clearly written for an American audience, this is still a very valuable book for Europeans/the British whether you are wanting to track down what the games/etiquette/educational world was for Austenian or Dickensian characters, or just get the feeling of what it might have been like to live in the nineteenth century as an earl or a pauper. However, if you are looking for an encyclopedia of household objects, this isn't for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great as a text, 12 Jun. 2004
By 
I would recommend Daniel Pool's book to anyone who wants to know anything and everything about early nineteenth century England. I recently finished teaching my first university level class for the University of Central Arkansas' Honors College. The class was entitled "Manners and Morality: Reflections of Regency Social History through the works of Jane Austen," and since most people are not familiar with Regency customs, I found that this book helped my students better understand the real world that Austen based her novels on. It provided them with a gloassary in case they were stumped by some obscure-to-them Austen term in the novels. And most importantly, it was a book that each student looked forward to reading for class - not many professors or students can say as much for their dry texts.
Daniel Pool writes in an educational and yet captivating style. This book is an excellent read whether you're taking a class on Austen's literature, Early 19th-century British history, or you're just a big lovely nerd who loves to absorb all the information they possibly can!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic introduction, 4 Feb. 2009
This is a good jumping-off point for further research; just enough depth to pique your interest while light enough to be easily digestible. Good stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent background info, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England (Kindle Edition)
I have recently become more interested in reading classic novels. This book was recommended to me to get some of the necessary background to the ways and customs of the Georgian/Victorian era in order to get a better understanding of the novels. I have found the information invaluable. Divided into sections it makes searching for something easy - the Kindle version's table of contents works well. Very happy with this purchase :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars East to read, 11 July 2011
By 
Mrs. Judith Worham (England) - See all my reviews
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This book is stuffed full of interesting information about the details of domestic life, political history and social attitudes presented in a format that is accessible and highly readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 24 Feb. 2012
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This book is a must for anyone studying the first half of the 19th century. It contains the small detail that other books overlook
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5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and enthralling, 22 Mar. 2015
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So good I'm on my third reading. Constant little nuggets surprise you. Recommened ( and bought for others)
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