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Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Writer's Guides to Everyday Life) Paperback – March 1, 2001
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Slang and Everyday Speech: even includes swear words, euphemisms and Appalachian Speech -- and examples on how to use them!
Driving Customs: different modes of transportation (including wagons, carriages, stage coaches, canals, etc.)
Home Life: types of houses, furniture, lighting and housekeeping methods, etc.
Clothing and Fashion -- including a chronology of hairstyles (what FUN it was reading this!)
Careers and Occupations: including "street vendor cries" and child labor
Money and Currency: different currencies and their values (wish they had pictures!) Confederate Money, foreign currency and exchange
Health and Medicine: aside from the usual common illnesses and their treatments also included are quack remedies, medicines, premature burial
Common foods, alcoholic beverages, how they preserved foods and what it was like to hang out in a saloon Different Pastimes, Games, sports and social customs,
Dating and marriage customs,
Slave customs and everyday life, including music and dialect. There is even a sidebar on the occupations of free blacks. I found it interesting that there were also Negro slave owners during this period -- see page 220!
The Civil War: practices, customs, weaponry, (very inclusive)
The Wild West: cowboys and their customs, regional slang, food and drink
Criminal activity, slang and common punishments
All in all everything you need to create a "filled to the brim" first draft is here. Use of this book will certainly cure any form of writer's block.Read more ›
Most of my interest centres upon Britain and this book mainly focuses on the US (and not just urban locations such as New England, but the frontier states too). So I suppose if you're looking for more European-based information it would be best to procure a different text. The book is organised in a unique way, with such chapters as "Slang," "Around the House," and "Out on the Range." Each of these chapters breaks down into a glossary of useful words and phrases pertaining to the chapter. Sadly, the glossary represents the extent of the chapter.
Little of the text works chronologically, which really doesn't make sense for such sections as "Clothing and Fashion." Block text would actually be more useful in this section. Illustrations would help too, but there really aren't any. The entries are relatively cursory and superficial; this work probably best functions as a jumping-off point, but you'll probably want to buy additional books to describe your characters' clothing.
In total, this book offers good "bite" definitions for pertinent words and historical concepts, but that's about it. It's more of a simple dictionary than an in-depth encyclopaedia.
This time period is just too broad with too many alterations in that time to cover everything with any real detail. With clothes it is clearly difficult, but styles of everything, even culture just changed too much over that hundred years to really effectively cover everything. Just think in the last 20 years how much dress, slang, music, and our way of life has changed? Who heard of SUV's and Gangsta Rap 20 years ago? Well the same details can translate in the nineteenth century too.
I wouldn't have minded if this had just been an overview, but to term it a guide to everyday life for 'writers etc' I just didn't think worked. There is not enough good detail to be that accurate for those purposes. As a general look to tempt the interest for general readers I think might be a more accurate description.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was more geared toward city life during that era. I was looking for ideas on immigrants who when they arrived became successful by farming, by working the land not by... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I adore this book. It's absolutely essential for anyone who desires to write historical fiction, steampunk, or just enjoys learning about the 1800s. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Abigail
This book was fascinating. I couldn't believe how many words and phrases that we use today, came from so long ago, and I never even understood the meaning to a lot of them until I... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
Arrived earlier than declared, item in perfect condition. The guide itself is incredibly useful & captivating.Published 19 months ago by GretaSammy
Which I suppose is fine. I was expecting something with a bit more description/narration, but this will be really valuable as a reference.Published on May 5, 2014 by Liz N.
Book was in good condition thicker than I thot , but not as on point for sbject matter as I was expectingPublished on February 14, 2014 by patrick
I am researching a book on Thaddeus Stevens' childhood. This book as important cultural and background information and supplemented the research I'd already done.Published on April 2, 2013 by M. T. W. Project