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Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
Regency Spies: Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
by Sue Wilkes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Can the End justify the Means?, 1 Feb. 2016
Whilst some aspects of history survive in minute detail, other fade into obscurity with just a handful of headline details making their way into the texts of the future. Sue Wilkes' timely book has breathed new life into a thirty year period of British history, c1790-1820 which was characterised by government fear of insurrection by discontented workers and the steps they took to prevent this. Regency Spies tells the stories of home grown rebels and revolutionaries who threatened the stability of the nation and spies and agent provocateurs who secretly sought out evidence of plots against the state, sometimes by questionable means.
This book has been meticulously researched and abounds with detail, particularly about the north of the realm. It separates out distinct elements of discontent such as fear of industrial progress, hunger arising from the artificially high price of bread and the growing belief that the reform of the method of electing the House of Commons was necessary.
Reading the book was an interesting journey, made more thought-provoking by the realisation that many of the issues it covers are not restricted to this period, but have been applicable at many times in history and are likely to remain so. Does the end ever justify the means? Discuss with examples. There is plenty of material in Regency Spies to draw on when debating this topic.


A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England
A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England
by Sue Wilkes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Guide to a Familiar Place, 4 Aug. 2015
I love Jane Austen's works but I am not a fan of anything that tries to cash in on the brand, so I always approach anything using her name or that of one of her characters or settings with a degree of cynicism. In my view Austen means quality and any book that uses her name has to pass a very high threshold.
Sue Wilkes has risen to this challenge admirably. This book is very well researched and includes plenty of informative detail and anecdote about the social fabric of late Georgian and Regency times, with material drawn from an admirably wide range of sources. As I travelled through the England depicted here I discovered plenty of new insight into the world depicted in Miss Austen's celebrated novels. I would highly recommend this guide to anyone seeking to undertake the same journey


A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England
A Visitor's Guide to Victorian England
by Michelle Higgs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't set off without it, 25 April 2014
If the past really is a foreign country, Michelle Higgs provides essential advice for avoiding a social faux pas in Victorian England, not contracting a virulent illness and not becoming just another crime statistic, as well as a myriad of tips for an enjoyable stay in times past.
Based on numerous contemporary accounts of nineteenth century England, the guide answers questions about the practicalities of everyday life that other books do not cover. The atmosphere is well-evoked as in addition to sights and sounds the reader gains a vivid impression of the more elusive touch and smell of the times also.
For family historians interested in learning more about the lives of their ancestors the detail is wide-ranging. For those intrepid enough to explore beyond the charted path, the extensive appendices and bibliography make an excellent starting point for the solitary traveller.


The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada
The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada
by Angela Buckley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.88

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detection rediscovered, 11 Mar. 2014
It's refreshing to encounter new material and the story of Manchester detective, Jerome Caminada has been lost for too long. Angela Buckley has provided a treat for inquisitive readers, sleuthing out the clues about his incredible career and placing it firmly in its historical context.
The dark rookeries of Victorian Manchester spring to life, peopled with career criminals without a conscience and more poignantly, those for whom a brush with the law was the product of the social and economic deprivation that formed their daily lot.
One thought to wrestle with. The Real Sherlock Holmes. Surely we're not saying there's an imaginary one about?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2014 12:56 PM GMT


The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic
The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic
by Gill Hoffs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Victorian Tragedy, 1 Feb. 2014
Sometimes, a key event drowns out equally compelling tales. Whilst ships like the Mary Rose or the Titanic are high profile shipwrecks, thousands more now forgotten vessels were lost at sea over the centuries, each a human tragedy.
The circumstances in which RMS Tayleur sank on its own maiden voyage in 1854 have been thoroughly researched by Gill Hoffs whose passion for her subject shines through her narrative. From human interest stories to the nautical issues that affected the journey, Hoffs has reconstructed a slice of the past and offers new insights into the fateful voyage.
A fascinating and thought-provoking read.


Pit Lasses: Women and Girls in Coalmining c.1800-1914
Pit Lasses: Women and Girls in Coalmining c.1800-1914
by Denise Bates
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Press Reviews, 15 July 2012
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The following reviews have appeared in the press

'With its wider background of contemporary living conditions, it makes Pit Lasses an eye-opening, even quite shocking read, illuminating, as it does, an aspect of Victorian life that mainstream social histories have hitherto largely overlooked.'
Jarrow and Hebburn Gazette, June 2012

'Bates' superbly detailed and well-researched book, which contains photographs and new illustrations of the evidence of some of the women interviewed by the Commission, reveals that female miners were decent, moral women fully capable of making decisions about their own lives and their own jobs.
Pit Lasses adds enormously to our understanding of the role of women in coalmining as well as shedding new light on Victorian society and its values.'
Lancashire Evening Post July 2012


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