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Books > History > Europe > Great Britain > B00H6EJQLC
  1. Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-Houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-Gangs, Freakshows and Female Education
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  2. Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-Houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-Gangs, Freakshows and Female Education

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The practical realities of everyday life are rarely described in history books. To remedy this, and to satisfy her own curiosity about the lives of our ancestors, Liza Picard immersed herself in contemporary sources - diaries and journals, almanacs and newspapers, government papers and reports, advice books and memoirs - to examine the substance of life in mid-18th century London. The fascinating result of her research, Dr. Johnson's London introduces the reader to every facet of that period: from houses and gardens to transport and traffic; from occupations and work to pleasure and amusements; from health and medicine to sex, food, and fashion. Stops along the way focus on education, etiquette, public executions as popular entertainment, and a melange of other historical curiosities.

This book spans the period from 1740 to 1770--very much the city of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who published his great Dictionary in 1755. It starts when the gin craze was gaining ground and ends just before America ceased being a colony. In its enthralling review of an exhilarating era, Dr. Johnson's London brilliantly records the strangeness and individuality of the past--and continually reminds us of parallels with the present day.

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Liza Picard
Kindle Edition
Kindle eBook
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

I'm in the process of writing a novel centered in 18th century London and I've made my way through nearly a dozen "research" books covering a wide variety of topics. Picard's "Dr. Johnson's London" has easily been the most enjoyable I've read thus far; she covers hundreds of topics at a very high level, which allowed me to make note of those I wanted to research further.

Lots of interesting, and humorous, tidbits. Plenty of excerpts and quotes from contemporaries, as well. I also appreciate the collection of photos spread throughout the book, which tie to the various topics she has introduced.

I suppose my only complaint is that some areas had more detail than I would like (e.g. gardening habits) and some had less (e.g. hygiene.) But, those relate more to personal preferences & applicability to my own book project.

Highly recommend. Thank you, Liza, for the wealth of helpful information and for bringing Georgian London into focus for us.
I'm enjoying this book! I'm almost done with it and I am finding the information very interesting.

I've always wanted to know what London was like back in the pre-Victorian days and this book attempts to do just that.

Since the excerpts were taken from actual written documentations (eg: Dr. Johnson's diaries,etc.)---in other words, a person that was actually there. Liza Picard was merely the person that compiled all the information for this book.
Therefore, I'm reading this book by keeping this fact in mind.

The language expressed in this book may sound "old fashioned" because most of the excerpts were written by a pre-Victorian Era person, and also that person lived in London. Thus, there is a difference between reading a book written today in modern English, as opposed to the written English style of a century ago. (I actually enjoyed reading the written "old fashioned" English excerpts).

There are not alot of photos in this book, so... Read more
This being the first book I read by the author, I was quite impressed and content with her writing. As a writer of a series that takes place in the 18th century, I found this a brilliant resource to help me write accurately. I've studied the 18th century for a while, but in here I found even more things that I didn't have any clue about! The book is easy to read, and it's wonderful to keep on your shelf and refer back to at any point. For the more casual reader, it's an interesting take on a time over 200 years ago - you'll learn much more than you might expect!
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