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Where Queen Elizabeth Slept and What the Butler Saw: A Treasury of Historical Terms from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Paperback – July 15, 1998

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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About the Author

David N. Durant, the author of several historical studies and biographies, lectures in Britain and the United States on British social and architectural history. He lives in Nottinghamshire.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (July 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312195699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312195694
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,588,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a great book if you want to compare the everyday life of someone in one period with another period in a general way--but it is less fulsome on details than other historical guides specific to one period, and is not terribly specific about when these changes took place. You get lots of phrases like "in the second half of the 17th century" which give you a fair amount of guesswork. Still, if you are interested in daily life in a historical perspective this should prove to be a good addition to your bookshelf.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was more a dictionary than anything. I thought it would explain historical terms as in a story, but it has terms and definitions. Good book if you are looking up terms but as to everyday life and language it is not so good.
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Format: Paperback
I spent a long career as a reference librarian in a very large public library system, and what most civilians would regard as "trivia" is all part of the day's work to the folks behind the reference desk. Books like this can be very useful in adding to one's storehouse of miscellaneous knowledge, but they tend to be rather uneven. Subtitled "A Treasury of Historical Terms from the Sixteenth Century to the Present," the present volume simply represents a gathering-up of whatever the author knew or could find out. Of course, lacking an index, and sometimes being prey to peculiar alphabetization, a book like this is best consumed by browsing -- and in that regard, it's a great time-sink. There are many useful entries, such as those for Fleet Prison, Game Laws, Birth Control, Picture hanging, Presentation at Court, and all the variety of pre-Dissolution religious orders, just as a sampling. There are also a number of detailed entries for liturgical vestments and for types of household furniture not much seen these days. Interesting random terms whose origins (and even meanings) are often not understood by modern readers include Burking, Mews, Masques, Riot Act, Coroner, and the Oxford Movement. Because Durant is an expert in British architectural history, there are an inordinate number of listings for architects and designers, most of whom the reader will never have heard of (except for Christopher Wren, Robert Adam, and Capability Brown, probably), and won't really care. Similarly, there are far too many entries for such specialized design and decoration terms as "grisaille," "pietra dura," "Ormolu," and "Biedermeier." And the article on "Brickwork" runs for a page and a half. Coverage could have been better rationalized.Read more ›
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