A Brief History of Life in Victorian Britain

  • by Michael Paterson
  • Narrated by Mark Meadows
  • 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"Out of the babble of voices, Michael Paterson has been able to extract the essence of London itself. Read this book and re-enter the labyrinth of a now-ancient city." (Peter Ackroyd)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A joy

For anyone interested in this era, this is a really good place to start. True, the style is a bit dry at times - this tries to be comprehensive after all - but never boring. The reader tries his best to give live to the dry text and generally succeeds, aided by the relatively simple language. A gem for the interested layman.
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- Nils


I made it to the end, but gained no new knowledge from this biased and poorly researched book. A better title might be "Life in Middle and Upper Class Victorian Britain". There are lengthy chapters on etiquette and office employment, but almost no mention at all of the lives and work of ordinary people, of their homes or of their way of life. Industry is almost completely ignored and anyone without prior knowledge would come away thinking that the hidden code of the lady's fan was central to Victorian life. The Empire is glorified, and stating that the spread of Christianity across the world was one of its beneficial achievements is quite amazing. I wish I'd counted the number of times "nevertheless" was used - twice in the audio sample alone. As for the pointless mid-chapter sub headings....... Best avoided.
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- Jim Barrett

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-12-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios