DOMINION: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo


DOMINION: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo

PETER ACKROYD    Book Number: 87210    Product format: Hardback

As always with Peter Ackroyd, the magnificent fifth volume in his magisterial history of England gives you the familiar story presented in ways that make it seem completely new. At the start of the period Wellington was the national hero, and the acquisition of 17 new colonies in the Napoleonic wars had given the country a boost of national feeling. By 1851, a population of 12 million in 1811 had grown to 21 million, with approximately half under 20. But the advance of technology was putting people out of work and former veterans engaged in Luddite machine-breaking, while an out-of-touch aristocracy still kept carriages driven by coachmen in wigs. Politically speaking, the Whigs and Tories were almost indistinguishable, satirised as two rival stagecoaches splashing mud at each other while travelling along the same road. In October 1834, it became apparent to Londoners that the Houses of Parliament were burning down. Was it the Catholics? The Russians? Trade unionists? The King unilaterally dismissed Melbourne's government and in the ensuing chaos there was no clear way ahead until the succession of the 18-year-old Victoria ushered in a new era. Peel and Palmerston struggled over the issue of free trade, with their duel being replicated later by Disraeli and Gladstone, the Irish Question now dominating. Meanwhile women were on the move, uniting to organise anti-slavery petitions, and their demand for equal pay was supported by many men, worried about being undercut. The author ends with Victoria's controversial friendship with the munshi, her Indian servants. Ackroyd brilliantly dissects the gap between public and private behaviour in this "age of cant". 387pp, colour reproductions.
Published price: $29.99
Bibliophile price: £12.00


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ISBN 9781250003652
Browse this category: History

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