Meet the Georgians: Epic Tales from Britain’s Wildest Century
‘The way Robert Peal describes Georgian England, you’d be mad not to want to live there yourself’ GUARDIAN
Anne Bonny and Mary Read, pirate queens of the Caribbean
Tipu Sultan, the Indian ruler who kept the British at bay
Olaudah Equiano, the former slave whose story shocked the world
Mary Wollstonecraft, the feminist who fought for women’s rights
Ladies of Llangollen, the lovers who built paradise in a Welsh valley
‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’ is how Lord Byron, the poet who drank wine from a monk’s skull and slept with his half-sister, was described by one of his many lovers. But ‘mad, bad and dangerous’ serves as a good description for the entire Georgian period: often neglected, the hundred or so years between the coronation of George I in 1714 and the death of George IV in 1830 were years when the modern world was formed, and changes came thick and fast.
Across this century, new foods – pineapples, coffee and pepper – suddenly became available in the shops. Fashion exploded into a riot of colour, frilly shirts and wigs. Gin was drunk like it was water. Demands for women’s rights were heard, and it became possible to question the existence of God without fear of prompt execution.
These exciting new developments came, of course, from the expanding British Empire. Britain’s wealth and its sudden access to chocolate, chillies and spices, was entirely bound up with the conquest of overseas territories and the miserable suffering of enslaved workers.
This is the backdrop to Robert Peal’s new book, which introduces the Georgian era through the diverse lives of twelve ‘magnificent – if not moral’ people who defined it.
‘The way Robert Peal describes Georgian England, you’d be mad not to want to live there yourself … He does make us think about the extraordinary breadth of experience on show in a period that tends to get written off in popular history … Peal has a sharp awareness of the best scholarly work on the subject and where to find it … An excellent entry point’KATHRYN HUGHES, GUARDIAN -
‘[A] lively portrait of 12 notable Georgians … This book will keep you awake. Steering clear of pompous, soporific vocabulary … There are some good life stories here, gutsily told’DAILY MAIL -
‘Peal brings the era to vivid, outrageous life, writing chattily, with a scattering of slang that wouldn’t have made the Georgians turn a hair’CAMDEN NEW JOURNAL -
‘This is a form of history book that I very, very much enjoy … A really good, fun, interesting read. It’s very accessible. It’s very irreverent and witty, laughing at the madness of the Georgian period … I would definitely recommend it’BOOKS AND THINGS -
‘I wish Robert Peal had been around when I did A-level history … I feel that Peal would have inspired me to achieve grade A stardom. The sheer energy and enthusiasm he brings to his subject is thrilling … Meet the Georgians uncovered in a wild and witty romp through the long 18th century’JANE AUSTEN’S REGENCY WORLD -
‘Really interesting … I learnt some interesting facts I didn't already know, and enjoyed the way the author told the stories of their lives. I would recommend, and hope the author considers writing more like this, but set in other eras also’NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 5/5 STARS -
‘A most enjoyable, witty and let's not forget educational read! I think this book can be a great way to attract teens to history. But it is definitely not only a read for teens … I would love to see this made into a series(patiently waiting for 'Meet the Victorians' to be made a reality)’NETGALLEY REVIEWER, 4/5 STARS -