Title: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain: A Handbook for Visitors to 1789–1830
Author: Ian Mortimer
Publisher: Pegasus Books, Vintage
Copyright: April 5, 2022
Format: E-Book, 432 Pages
Genres: Historical Nonfiction
A vivid and immersive history of Georgian England that gives its reader a firsthand experience of life as it was truly lived during the era of Jane Austen, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the Duke of Wellington.
This is the age of Jane Austen and the Romantic poets; the paintings of John Constable and the gardens of Humphry Repton; the sartorial elegance of Beau Brummell and the poetic license of Lord Byron; Britain’s military triumphs at Trafalgar and Waterloo; the threat of revolution and the Peterloo massacre. In the latest volume of his celebrated series of Time Traveler’s Guides, Ian Mortimer turns to what is arguably the most-loved period in British history: the Regency, or Georgian England.
A time of exuberance, thrills, frills and unchecked bad behavior, it was perhaps the last age of true freedom before the arrival of the stifling world of Victorian morality. At the same time, it was a period of transition that reflected unprecedented social, economic, and political change. And like all periods in history, it was an age of many contradictions—where Beethoven’s thundering Fifth Symphony could premier in the same year that saw Jane Austen craft the delicate sensitivities of Persuasion.
Once more, Ian Mortimer takes us on a thrilling journey to the past, revealing what people ate, drank, and wore; where they shopped and how they amused themselves; what they believed in, and what they feared. Conveying the sights, sounds, and smells of the Regency period, this is history at its most exciting, physical, visceral—the past not as something to be studied but as lived experience.
If you love the Regency era like I do, then this is the book for you! Within the pages of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Regency Britain, a bygone, glittering age comes to life. This well-researched and well-written nonfiction work covers everything a time traveler would need to know about late Georgian Britain. Ian Mortimer writes in an engaging and informative manner that hooks the reader.
He covers many fascinating topics: Britain under George III and George IV (Chapter 1); the importance of London as the crown jewel of it all (Chapter 2); what the people were like during the era, especially some of the more colorful figures (Chapter 3); the prevailing behaviors and beliefs (Chapter 4); the specifics of everyday life (Chapter 5); the attire that was worn (Chapter 6); what it was like to travel and how to do so (Chapter 7); where a person could stay when traveling or where they lived (Chapter 8); what people ate and drank (Chapter 9); health, medicine, and hygiene (Chapter 10); how the justice system functioned (Chapter 11); and what people did for entertainment (Chapter 12). It is important to mention that this exhaustive work includes information about people from different strata of society.
To say that I adored this book is an understatement. I finished this book in two days because I was engrossed. As someone who is a fan of Ian Mortimer’s other books, this one did not disappoint. Not only does Mortimer present the reader with fascinating facts and stories, but he explores topics one would not initially think about. I enjoyed that the chapters are interspersed with quotes from famous figures of the time. At the end, Mortimer includes an Envoi where he shares some of his thoughts on the Regency era. This adds a nice touch.
Originally featured on the History Novel Society website.