How a nation grew into an empire and the birth of a modern society
The Victorian era has dominated the popular imagination like no other period, but these myths and stories also give a very distorted view of the 19th century. The early Victorians were much stranger than we usually imagine, and their world would have felt very different from our own. It was only during the long reign of the Queen that a modern society emerged in unexpected ways.
Using character portraits, events, and key moments, Paterson brings the real life of Victorian Britain alive - from the lifestyles of the aristocrats to the lowest ranks of the London slums. This includes the right way to use a fan, why morning visits were conducted in the afternoon, what the Victorian family ate, and how they enjoyed their free time, as well as the Victorian legacy today: convenience food, coffee bars, window shopping, mass media, and celebrity culture.
Learned but accessible
Accessible, comprehensive and entertaining - as a historical ignoramus I was hooked by Paterson's broad overview of Victorian life, from the monarch herself to etiquette, fashion, sport, leisure activities and living conditions. It whetted my appetite to know more about the period, particularly the closing chapter on military campaigns. Very enjoyable. I should add that it is very well read by Mark Meadows.