Meet the Georgians

Epic Tales from Britain’s Wildest Century

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Pub Date 8 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2022


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 people who defined it. Some seized the more enjoyable opportunities of this new era. Others fought fiercely for change, the advancement of knowledge or personal freedoms.

This book blows the dust off a riotous century and its people. Each of the extraordinary characters contained within made the Georgian era their own, and in doing so made history.

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


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ISBN 9780008437046
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Featured Reviews

This is a really interesting collection of shorter stories of different famous individuals from Georgian times. It wasn't at all what I expected, but in a good way, and made a good book to pick up when you have a spare 10 mins to read someone's story, without having to worry about being caught up in a larger story, as they're all stand alone. 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

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Georgian era, between 1714 and the 1830s, was era full of fast changes; new foods, such as pepper, pineapple, chocolate, spices, chillies and coffee became available, fashion was colourful and exaggerated, alcohol (especially gin) consumed in vast quantities, British Empire expanded and with it human rights, questions about God, freedom, celebration of sex and much more.

The author introduces this era through lives of twelve Georgian people who defined it. Pirates, prince, former slave, women, poets and others, all exceptional in their competence area.

The book is full of facts, funny stories, witt, entertainment, education and captivates all history lovers.

And ... maybe you will consider to join the "farting" club, whose members met once a week in order to "poison the neighbouring air with their unsavoury crepitations." ;)

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The Georgian period is told in the form of stories from several Georgians, each having a very different perspective. Also there is an intriguing bit at the beginning that introduces the Georgian and their colourful world, where spices like cinnamon were brought in in large quantities for the first time, also fruits such as pineapple. The tales of life in the Georgian period included someone who was about to be executed being trailed around first, so that he could drink with the crowd. Also the unforgettable farting club. Make up was worn and bright clothing, in a period that shines, just before the Victorian age. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the period, and even those who are not yet familiar with it.

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I’m fascinated by the Georgians so was delighted to be sent an ARC of this book .which tells the story of 12 key figures of the age, but not all are necessarily people you might have heard of.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author is a history teacher ,as he writes in a very easily accessible, conversational style using some colloquial language which I think would appeal to younger readers as well as anyone interested in the period.The individual essays are all fairly short but extremely informative ,and the opening and closing sections are particularly interesting .
It’s a very easy ,enjoyable read for anyone who would like to know more about the Georgians and definitely one to recommend to those who enjoy history.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley .

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I enjoyed the author’s introduction to the book which gives context to the time and the lives of those explored further in later chapters..

He’s chosen an engaging mix of people; lady pirates in Nassau, a slave, a sultan, an author, unconventional ladies and more. Each have a highly interesting and engaging story to tell and on the whole I enjoyed the book. It’s one to dip into with a coffee and the chapters fly by. The written style seems to target maybe a YA audience. I wasn’t keen on use if ‘crap’ and other colloquial descriptions, but if that helps to make the title more accessible to a wider audience, then I guess it’s OK. It seems well researched and it gives a taste of life and colour to this era, often ignored.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.

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I really enjoyed this book, which is perfect for those with a casual interest in history. The stories of each of these Georgian notable figures are lively, amusing and entertaining but also informative, and cover a good range of people from different walks of life - inventors, freed slaves, a lesbian couple, social climbing ladies, and of course Lord Byron because he has to pop up everywhere. It definitely challenges the notion that we have that all historic people were stuffy and boring.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Before reading this book I didn't know a great deal about the Georgians...but here I am now wishing I was a fly on the wall during the whole era. Full of debauchery and raucous behaviour, a bit too much to drink, a few too many parties and extra marital liaisons, it certainly wasn't a boring piece of history. I appreciated how Peal balanced out the reckless, laugh out loud moments with the darker side of slavery, abandoned women and infant mortality amongst many more. It was an extremely well balanced and informative look into a part of history that sometimes gets glossed over. I particularly loved the chapter on the Ladies of Llangollen which is a bit of local history for me and also (years ago) I read a book on the Ladies and I wrote a letter to Plas Newydd House and they posted it on their noticeboard. I don't know whether it's cringe or cute. This must be 20 plus years ago by the way, not last year, FYI. Roll on the next book, I can't wait to Meet the Victoria's.

Thank you @netgalley and @4thestatebooks and @wmcollinsbooks for the ARC in return for an honest review. Meet the Georgians is out on July 8th 2021.

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*Many thanks to Robert Peale, William Collins, and Netgalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*
Having read several books on the Georgians, I was nicely surprised to find stories of some people I have never heard before. This is a good collection of tales of those who lived under the Hanoverians and did most unusual things and had extraordinary lives. Not only Lord Byron left his mark on the period.
This non-fiction is easy to read and provides detailed descriptions of some figures who definitely deserve our memory.

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