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In These Times: Living in Britain Through…

In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars, 1793-1815 (2014)

by Jenny Uglow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Thoroughly good read on a somewhat neglected aspect of the British experience and perspective during the Napoleonic era. Informative concerning all levels of the British social order in the period. ( )
  tommi180744 | Aug 11, 2016 |
Skilfully done of course, and full of human touches, but a trifle bitty. She ranges from top to bottom of British society but the effect is ultimately a patchwork, like a short story anthology or a roman a lettres. Her "Lunar men" gave a more coherent interlinked story. ( )
  vguy | Feb 22, 2016 |
The French Revolution, the life of Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars must be the most written about era of history. Ushering in the modern era, these are times we can relate to most easily and directly; plus, they are full of action, intrigue, politics, hour and engaging derring-do, which also helps. But, how to address this era with a new twist? Jenny Uglow has produced a book that provides that twist an opens up a whole new perspective on these times. This book focuses not on the politics, the military action or the broad historical narrative, but on the lives of ordinary British people through the Napoleonic Wars at all levels of society. Further, she does this through the words - letters, diaries, journals, pamphlets, books - of these individuals. What we get is a remarkable insight into how these people lived their lives, how they reacted to events, how they heard about these events and how they were affected by Britain's involvement in a conflict lasting 22 years. We hear how people benefited from the War, suffered losses, lost loved ones, changed with the times (as people always eventually do), laughed and loved.

The research here is extensive and the selection of texts is just about perfect. ( )
  pierthinker | Dec 8, 2015 |
In These Times is a masterful study of life on the homefront in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. From the humblest weaver to the royal family, everyone makes an appearance here. There is a map at the beginning of the book showing every town that gets a mention and the map is positively covered. The result is a detailed description of everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th century. It doesn't sound particularly enjoyable, but clearly people made their own fun.

For those interested in Regency Era Britain or the Napoleonic Wars, highly recommended. ( )
  inge87 | Sep 29, 2015 |
Jenny Uglow writes so well that none of this very detailed, 600+ page social history felt difficult to get through. As a social history the focus is on what life in Britain was like throughout the 22 years the Napoleonic Wars were being fought but there were enough details in the book about the wars themselves for me to feel like I now have a better understanding of those too. Uglow draws on written accounts which include some of the Lennox sisters, politicians, authors such as Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Maria Edgeworth but also farmers, bankers, sailors - all sorts of middle class and middling class folk. It's testimony to Uglow's writing and organisational skills that the book never feels overwhelming and that she manages to cover the detail (how many ships, guns and men) as well as zooming in to give the reader the idea of the effects of the 22 year war on families and individuals.

The physical layout of the Faber hardback is beautiful - each chapter opens with an illustration from a contemporary cartoonist/satirist, as do the index, bibliography etc. It gives the whole book a feeling of being steeped in the period Uglow is covering.

A fascinating book. Even if you think you're not interested in the Napoleonic Wars, I think Uglow would change your mind. ( )
1 vote souloftherose | May 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
For the next 22 years, barring a brief interlude in 1802-3, the two nations were engaged in a conflict that touched people in all parts of Britain. Writes Uglow: “Everyone shared in the war.” Curious to discover how it affected those at home “waiting, working, watching”, she has chosen a cast of representative families – soldiers, farmers, writers, bankers, mill-owners – and followed their fortunes. She describes her hugely ambitious project as “a cavalcade with a host of actors – a crowd biography”.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jenny Uglowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carrow, JenniferCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James GillrayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374280908, Hardcover)

A beautifully observed history of the British home front during the Napoleonic Wars by a celebrated historian

We know the thrilling, terrible stories of the battles of the Napoleonic Wars—but what of those left behind? The people on a Norfolk farm, in a Yorkshire mill, a Welsh iron foundry, an Irish village, a London bank, a Scottish mountain? The aristocrats and paupers, old and young, butchers and bakers and candlestick makers—how did the war touch their lives?
     Jenny Uglow, the prizewinning author of The Lunar Men and Nature's Engraver, follows the gripping back-and-forth of the first global war but turns the news upside down, seeing how it reached the people. Illustrated by the satires of Gillray and Rowlandson and the paintings of Turner and Constable, and combining the familiar voices of Austen, Wordsworth, Scott, and Byron with others lost in the crowd, In These Times delves into the archives to tell the moving story of how people lived and loved and sang and wrote, struggling through hard times and opening new horizons that would change their country for a century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:17 -0400)

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