- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (September 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 163149113X
- ISBN-13: 978-1631491139
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 222 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life 1st Edition
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- Seattle Times
- A. N. Wilson
“Goodman’s impeccably researched account will raise readers’ eyebrows with her adventures “living history”… [Her] charming guide richly illustrates what daily life was like for common people undergoing the massive social changes of the time and succeeds in presenting “a more intimate, personal and physical sort of history."”
- Publishers Weekly, Starred review
- Judith Flanders
“Goodman skillfully creates a portrait of daily Victorian life with accessible, compelling, and deeply sensory prose… Compulsively readable.”
- Erin Entrada Kelly, Library Journal, Starred review
“If the past is a foreign country because they do things differently there, we’re lucky to have such a knowledgeable cicerone as Ruth Goodman…. Goodman’s fascination with the objects of the past doesn’t lead her to fetishize or romanticize them. She is admirably matter-of-fact…. Revelatory.”
- Alexandra Kimball, Wall Street Journal
“[E]ntertaining… Goodman mixes historical context with technical know-how; in addition to explaining why women wore corsets she tries wearing―and even making―one herself… [T]he book’s accumulation of detail on matters as diverse as purchasing a ticket for the new underground railway, administering an opium-based tonic to a baby, and signaling interest in a homosexual affair makes you feel as if you could pass as a native.”
- The New Yorker
“Goodman’s research is impeccable, and she attacks the topic with gusto, taking the reader through an average day and presenting the oddities of life without condescension… Although the book lends itself to being read in segments, I read it straight through like a novel, panting to know what would happen next.”
- Patricia Hagen, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] witty account of life during the monarch’s reign… [Goodman’s] interest in historical accuracy leads her to experiment with corsets and home cures. Research for the book led her ‘down harrowing avenues of hunger, disease, overwork, and abuse.’ Among the most upsetting are accounts of small children working harder than most adults do now, sometimes in dangerous and frightening environments, and on empty stomachs. Often a very funny read, the book takes seriously the suffering of these kids and their families.”
- Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
About the Author
Ruth Goodman is the author of How to Be a Victorian. An historian of British social and domestic life, she has presented a number of BBC television series, including Tudor Monastery Farm. She served as a historical advisor on the BBC’s miniseries Wolf Hall. She lives in England.
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I think the BEST PART is the commentary that Ms. Goodman inserts into every section/portion of the day. For everyone who has ever read history & then asked "I wonder what it was like to use an outhouse in the winter??" or "what would it be like to lace tightly into a corset, every day, no matter what you were doing?" or "just how bad was it to wash clothes with tubs and mangles?" - well...read this book to hear from one who has!! It was amazing - so many of us history buffs wish we could 'go back for a while & live in that time' - Ms. Goodman has done it!! Her research is spot on, her 'user' commentary is thoughtful and realistic - this was a fun book to read & one of those books that you look forward to when enough time passes so that you can read it again!! I was able to live vicariously through Ruth Goodman's experience and I'm very thankful that she shared it with us! I will definitely read more of what she writes!!
* An exceptionally intricate look at life as a Victorian. And not just the random rot about when the Rich get up in the morning and how they do their hair. No, this is the gritty detail of how the parlor maid brushes her teeth or takes a bath. The common life of the common man.
* Not just about how THEY did it but also how YOU can do it. This is the bit that surprised me most. The author didn't just look this stuff up. No, no indeed. She TRIED it herself. She outlines well the possible benefits and pitfalls of such practices and encourages the reader to take a stab at them too.
* In summary, very detailed and very intricately woven. I'm not looking to try any of these myself but it was sure delightful reading about them. This has put me on an entire reading binge of just this sort of novel and there are plenty from which to choose.