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1666: Plague, War and Hellfire Hardcover – 2012
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"A book firmly anchored in the grain of contemporary accounts, sparking with the crackle of firsthand reports." ―The Guardian
"Rideal provides an original and captivating view of England on the cusp of modernity ... [A] wonderful resource for anyone wanting to learn about how these crucial events impacted the course of English history." ―The Historical Novel Society
"Rideal successfully illustrates how 1666 marks a turning point in post-Restoration England." ―Publishers Weekly
"[Gives] you a real feeling for how life was for Londoners at the time ... This is a lovely little history elucidating important events seminal to London and British history." ―San Francisco Book Review--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
About the Author
REBECCA RIDEAL is a writer and television producer who contributed to such documentaries as: Bloody Tales of the Tower, Adventurer’s Guide to Britain, Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed, Escape from a Nazi Death Camp, and the triple Emmy award winning series David Attenborough’s First Life. She currently runs the online magazine The History Vault and is studying for a PhD on Restoration London at University College in London. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Characters recur, some well known, such as Pepys and Rochester and Margaret Cavendish (the subject of another recent book, Margaret the First) others less prominent – traders and preachers and bakers.
The strength of 1666 is its immediacy. You feel like you are there, listening to the cacophony of voices, rummaging through records and contracts and accounts. The flipside of this is that you lose depth. Reading it I did at times feel hungry for something more challenging, analysis rather than description, a stronger sense of the social and economic forces at play. Although I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the period – most of what I know I’ve absorbed through osmosis and a childhood obsession with Jean Plaidy novels – there wasn’t much here that was new to me.
However, 1666 does tell you a great pacy story. The author makes it seem easy, rather than the mammoth task it must have been. It’s a good overview and starting point if you want to get a flavour of the period and some pointers as to where to find out more.
I received a copy of 1666 from the publisher via Bookbridgr.
When the goldsmiths of the 1660s began writing their own bearer receipts to themselves, creating money out of nothing, the world changed completely, and kings and republican facades fell away, and international bankers financed wars for their own purpose. They're still at it -- but their tool of conquest started at the very time the book is set.
Ms. Rideal -- write another book about what REALLY happened. The history of money is REAL history.