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4.6 out of 5 stars
31
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2017
Can't go wrong with Liza Picard - all four of her books should be on the school curriculum.
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on 12 May 2017
prompt and rfficient - an interesting book
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on 8 March 2017
Liza Pickard as always enjoyable.
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on 2 February 2002
Lisa Picard has surveyed the ten years between 1660-1670, when Pepys was writing his diary, and presented her findings in fascinating detail. Everything you wanted to know but was afraid to ask is here: sex, food, shopping, lavatories - the whole scene. I am writing a teenage fiction book set in Plague times and she has done most of my research for me! She writes succinctly, with wit and humour, and whilst reading the book I found myself giggling at her prose far more than at so-called funny books. This is a book you can dip into time and time again and always come up with a plum. It's one of my absolutely favourite books and I've recommended it to both lay readers and history buffs. I'd like to thank Lisa for such a brilliant read.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
RESTORATION LONDON is a cross-sectional portrait of the city in the years 1660-1670. Extensively researched, it answers any questions you may have had about London during that period, and many more you wouldn't have thought to ask. The author, lawyer Liza Picard, leaves no stone unturned to describe the condition and characteristics of the streets, water supply, pollution, waste disposal, the great fire of 1666, houses, interior decorating, heating, lighting, furniture, gardens, parks, postal service, medicine, dentistry, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, shopping, markets, payment, prices, cooking, recipes, drink, the household master and mistress, children, apprentices, servants, slaves, pets, education, etiquette, the arts, music, dancing, excursions, the law, marriage, divorce, crime, taxes, contracts, wills, the rich, the poor, the "middling sort", the Church of England, the Church of Rome, the Jews, astrology, superstitions, witchcraft, and everybody's favorite - sex.
Unless, like I do, you think London the greatest city on earth, or are just interested in urban life in past times, you may find this book a bit over the top. However, Picard entertains, and informs, with a dry wit that is perhaps too infrequently demonstrated...
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on 8 November 2011
I loved this book, as a resource to get me started on my research into the era. I don't agree with one other reviewer that it does not give a good picture of what it was like to live in the times, for indeed I think it's the weird and wonderful quirky and every day stories that depict life for the majority.
However, the author does rely heavily on Pepys, and this is certainly not a comprehensive guide to Restoration London, but nor does it claim to be. You can tell from the size, cover and introduction that this is supposed to be an accessible, fun peek into everyday life, and that is what it is.

What it certainly is brilliant for is writers who wish to add details that will lend authenticity to the era they are writing in, this is what I originally bought it for, but I ended up enjoying it so much that I read it all in two sittings.

I would only not recommend this to you if you are looking for a meticulously researched in depth look into all walks of life/politics etc. But as an overview and an interesting read it shines.
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on 14 April 2000
An excellently researched book, full of curious facts and amusing snapshots of a largely submerged past. Liza Picard's habit of referring to Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys by their first names is a little twee, but she justifies it by saying that she's spent so much time in their company - metaphorically speaking, of course - that it's impossible for her not to think of them as friends. Certainly, one senses that she has delved deeply into the world she portrays: she trained as a lawyer, and she brings to bear on her subject a lawyer's commitment to detail and evidence, together with a real and unaffected good humour.
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on 3 March 1999
Let's be honest. Who cares that the Spanish suffered a naval defeat off Enkhuizen in October 1573? Who really gives a damn that Ferdinand of Spain remarried to Germaine de Foix in 1505? Anyone here bothered that Cranmer's Litany was produced on Henry VIII's command? I will wager that unless you are a historian, you will label these stuffy historical facts, and turn back to your Danielle Steel or John Grisham. History, we might as well be honest, is dreary and dull. Except... for in the hands of Liza Picard, when it becomes a compendium of facts that are actually fascinating. For these are not dates of battles and acts, they are not records of long speeches by long dead figures. No, this book takes one of the greatest cities in the world, races back in time to the most colourful and exciting time of change, growth and real life in its history, and tells us how the people lived on the dark, tiny streets of London during the Restoration. The day to day facts, the actual way these people lived, things that we can compare to our own lives, relate to, and gasp, ponder and sometimes downright laugh at. What make up did they put on their faces, how did they view sex, what words did they use, what did they eat, what did they wear, which creatures did they keep as pets, what pornography did they like to look at, how did they dance, what medical procedures did they face...? The facts are fast and fascinating, the words are like magic, dancing lightly on the page. Here the facts are put straight to you. The book is fun, absorbing, packed with information, and a good read whether you are stuffy historian, bored homekeeper, modern, happening teenager (like me), teacher, librarian, trashy novelist, time traveller... What ever your tastes, I guarantee this book will prove useful and interesting.
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on 31 March 2000
If anyone is looking for an insight into London History, then this is the book for you. I read it over a year ago and certain passages still stick in my mind (the section on the practices of Mid wives particularly vividly!) Set in the 1660's many aspects of everyday London people and their lives are explored, what did they eat, how did they shop, what was their medical care like? It`s fascinating and well written, I can't recommend it enough.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 July 2011
Liza Picard aims to give us a rounded picture of life in the London of Charles II. Necessarily, there is less source material for this than for her fascinating book on Victorian London, and we hear the author's voice more. Her style is very easy to follow, and each paragraph of description is well-written and balanced. But where in "Victorian London" we found ourselves immersed in a rich soup of detail, here there is a lot more speculation, interpretation and analysis. It is a world less familar to us, too, which makes a difference. It is also true that London was different; a large, thriving city but not the extraordinary Babylon it had become by the 19th century.

For anyone who is studying the history of the period, or has an interest in social history in general, this is an excellent starting point. There is the usual blend of the blood-curdling, the scatalogical and the obscure, and Picard's accessible style brings it all together into a coherent journey through the city. Though I enjoyed it less than Victorian London I suspect that is an inevitable result of the different nature of the sources.
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