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Samuel Pepys' 1664 Diary (volume 5 of ten volumes)
on 19 August 2001
As the most famous "alive at the time" eye witness commentator of 17th Century life and times Pepys writes in a style which is easily understood by the modern reader whilst still retaining all the stilt and nuance of the Stuart times. 1664 was not a famous year; The Great Fire of London and the Plague were still to come - but it was an important year for Samuel. He records his earnings breaching the important £1000 barrier something he aspired to and signified to him that he had really "arrived" in 17C London. If you want scandal and gossip this book has got it (as in the "towsing" of 'Mrs' Lane!), if you want tragedy and human drama then read about his Brother dying and the problems it causes not least because of the secret love child he left behind.
Samuel Pepys never fails to demonstrate that human emotions have changed little in over three hundred years and that even a giant amongst men such as himself still has qualities that betray his humanity in an entertaining and absorbing way.
This is book 5 in a series of 10 utterly consuming books on the times just after England's Civil War. Samuel Pepys knew (and was known to) King Charles II by sight and experienced if not influenced many important events of the time.
Anyone who really wants to know this era of English history should read his works.