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Porter tackles a century that saw huge changes in England and manages to strike a beautiful balance between painting a sort of crowd scene of scientists, dandies, yeomen farmers, actresses, dissolute nobels and forward thinking social reformers while giving us enough detail about personalities to make us lean in and really look at the faces in the crowd.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The C18th has always been a bit of a gap in my historical knowledge and this fine book from Roy Porter proved a great way to fill it. Interesting stories, entertainingly told and unobstrusively narrated by Simon Vance. A good effort all round.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The listener has to be prepared to create their own "total picture" out of an enormous amount of information and statistics that the author provides for you. There is very little story telling to this, but if you are willing to create your own understanding of the period out of a lot of information this will do the trick. The information is certainly provided clearly enough--just not as much help in interpreting it all as I might have liked.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
I found this book narrow in scope--a critique of the period, rather than an attempt to put the period in context. For example, the section on women had one main point: women had little power in England in the eighteenth century. Hardly a surprise. The author returns again and again to the point that the government was corrupt, and that the class system was dominant. I accept the premise--but was hoping for a broader discussion of art, music, philosophy, literature, architecture---all windows into a deeper understanding of history.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful