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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 October 2014
Picard's book has a place in many homes - the coffee table - although she is no great stylist; her style may best be described as serviceable. With Mantel having raised the bar in fiction of this age, the standards expected from non-fiction are likely to be higher too. [I note that many prefer Peter Ackroyd's general history of the city, though I find him too flighty and would go for the great Roy Porter's 'A Social History' for preference]. You get a sense of the city in its (very) early modern phase, a metropolis of bustle and trade, clearly exciting if therefore on the dangerous edge of things. This book captures some of that and is easy to read as well as full of interesting information. It is not for the serious scholar nor for the already well informed, however...,.possibly for some tourists and people not familiar with it or with history. I do not mean to damn this with faint praise and I realise that her other books on the place please many and seem to satisfy an appetite; that is not nothing.
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Hugely enjoyable romp into the Elizabthean age.

Very easy to read and full of interesting information.

Brings history to life.

Can be dipped into as it is organized into self contained sections.
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on 19 September 2004
Living in America, I don't have the wealth of intuitive understanding of your history as you do. I thought the book was a very easy read and had alot of very interesting facts and info in it. I like the way Ms. Picard catigorized her book and how breifly (but still getting across the idea) she described things and brought a dusty era to life. (That's a lawyer right there. I have read WAY too many long-winded historians!) Considering that there is not a whole lot of information out there for her to draw on regarding this subject, I think she did an excellent job. Of course her books on the 17th and 18th century will be better, as there were more diaryist out there and more things were written and saved. I liked this book. Looking to reading more of her.
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on 28 September 2003
I was so looking forward to reading this book, but it was particularly disappointing. I learned very little more about life in Elizabethan London than I knew already. Some topics were poorly presented. The section on funerals, for example, was brief and mainly described Queen Mary's funeral. Hardly any mention was made of the poor/middle class people and Mary was buried when Elizabeth was barely on the throne. There was so much information that could have been put into this book and yet so much was left out. WHY ?? Unfortunately it came across as poorly researched and slightly amateurish. Absolutely the opposite of the book "1700 : Scenes from London Life” where Maureen Waller kept the reader enthralled with brilliant stories and snippets.
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on 5 March 2008
Although this book is not the best written account of life in historical London it is still an enjoyable read and would suit a coffee table of anyone interested in London or the Elizabethan era. The main sources used are John Stows survey of London first published 1598 and the Dairy of Simon Foreman, these are easily available and you may ask would it be best to read straight from these sources. Compared to Peter Ackroyd's amazing work of a biography of London this is a pale comparison. All this being said as a light read it is an enjoyable dip into Elizabethan Life in London
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 September 2006
I stumbled on Liza Picard's books quite by chance. After looking at the publishing date in some of the books it is apparent some of them have been around for several years. I am now recommending them to anyone and everyone and I am so glad I stumbled across this one on a bookshop shelf. I have now read them all, but this one was the first.

As soon as you start to read the book it becomes apparent that the author is passionate about the subject and wants the reader to enjoy the experience as much as she has in the writing of it. How apt that the author starts the book with the life blood of the great City of London. Meandering like a great artery through the heart of the City. It moves on to the streets, houses and gardens; cooking, housework and shopping; clothes, jewellery and make-up; health and medicine; sex and food; education, etiquette and hobbies; religion, law and crime.

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law and qualified as a barrister but did not practice. Quite where she gleaned all this information from I am not sure. That it was a labour of love is obvious to anyone who reads her books and I for one am grateful.
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on 16 April 2014
This book fills a hole for me. After reading so many books of the period, both fiction and non-fiction,I wanted info.in general concerning living conditions,giving me a feel for how average inhabitants must have felt. The author comes close to supplying a 'time machine' A great read,great value!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 October 2011
In three hundred and seventy-five pages, with four slim sections of drawings, plates, maps and paintings, Picard has written a fascinating account of London four centuries ago. London is an exciting city at any time but, in Elizabeth I's time it must have been especially so.

It is possible to read it from cover-to-cover or to use the very efficient organisation to selected particular aspects; there are two main sections, each sub-divided carefully into a wide variety of subjects.

PART ONE - The Place - e.g. Great occasions, the river's moods, the swans, London Bridge, Transport
PART TWO - The People - e.g. the Plague, Women's dress, Washing, etc., Table amnners

An excellent bookshelf companion to Peter Ackroyd's London books and an ideal guide into the world of Shakespeare.
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on 20 March 2014
I think some parts of this will have you fascinated, but there's an awful lot of dry, pedantic stuff that's only interesting if you're absolutely obsessed with the Elizabethan period. I can see why it'd be an excellent source book for historical novelists or film makers looking for authenticity, but it's not always so riveting for the every day reader. Nevertheless, it's definitely worth wading through for the more interesting parts if this period of history intrigues you.
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on 26 September 2003
This is bursting with facts about Elizabethan life, in fact there are too many to take in. The description of London is difficult to follow unless you have a map to look at - I didn't I listened to it whilst driving - or you have a good knowledge of London. I listen to audio books for at least half an hour every working day and Liza Pickard is, without doubt, the worst reader I have ever heard. She pauses several times in a sentence and, if all her pauses were removed, what she reads could fit on 3 tapes at most!
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