London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550-1750

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Between 1550 and 1750 London became the greatest city in Europe and one of the most vibrant economic and cultural centers in the world. This book is a history of London during this crucial period of its rise to world-wide prominence, during which it dominated the economic, political, social and cultural life of the British Isles as never before nor since. London: A Social and Cultural History incorporates the best recent work in urban history, accounts by contemporary Londoners and tourists, and fictional works featuring the city in order to to trace London's rise and explore its role as a harbinger of modernity as well as how its citizens coped with those achievements. This book covers the full range of life in London, from the splendid galleries of Whitehall to the damp and sooty alleyways of the East End. Along the way, readers will brave the dangers of plague and fire, witness the spectacles of the Lord Mayor's Pageant and the hangings at Tyburn, and take refreshment in the city's pleasure gardens, coffeehouses, and taverns.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bucholz and Ward paint a vivid picture of the vibrant, growing city, warts and all … As an account of how and why London is London … this is the best book to come along in a generation."
British Heritage

"Bucholz and Ward explore the rise of Europe’s preeminent entrepôt and metropolis in this engaging account of London and its people. Their superlative integration of the worlds of high culture and popular experience will enrich the study of English literature, society, and politics from the Reformation through the Enlightenment."
Gary De Krey, Professor of British and European History, St Olaf College

"There is a big story here – how, between 1550 and 1750, London became a great world capital – but there are also a thousand small and even more wonderful stories about the men and women who walked the city’s streets. Their experiences, their hopes, and their disappointments come vividly to life in this compulsively readable account."
Lena Cowen Orlin, author of Locating Privacy in Tudor London

"This book is a must for anyone interested in London. It covers the period when London rose from being a quite important Northern European trading center to become the greatest international port in the world at the hub of not just the emerging British Empire but European and North American trade. The internationally connected city, at the center of trade, determined the character of the city it has become today, including the weight of its international finance and trade sectors, its globally diverse population and the worldwide influences on its heritage and contemporary culture."
Ken Livingstone, first Mayor of London

"A compass to navigate in the dark, an A to Z of London's past, from beggars to kings, from Shakespeare to Dr Johnson; Bucholz and Ward have created a compelling picture of the Great Wen in all its premodern glory."
Tim Hitchcock, Professor of Eighteenth-Century History, University of Hertfordshire, and Co-Director of Old Bailey Online

"[London is] a serious and remarkably successful attempt to describe how the city reached the cusp of 'modernity', how it emerged from relative obscurity in the middle of the sixteenth century to become, about 200 years later, 'the greatest city in Europe', with a population whose distinctive traits are recognizable to this day."
Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"Grounded in the latest scholarship and crafted in engaging prose, this wbook will instruct and delight generations of students and a broader reading public alike. Highly recommended."

"… I can give it a strong recommendation."
Tyler Cowen,

"A fantastic resource for students and scholars of London’s diverse and changing communities during the early modern period. Handsomely illustrated with maps, engravings, etchings, paintings and news-sheet covers, the book takes a holistic approach to its subject."
Adam Hansen, The Literary London Journal

"… Robert Bucholz and Joseph Ward have achieved their aim of writing an accessible work which will be of particular value to newcomers to metropolitan history."
P. Gauci, The English Historical Review

The Washington Post
Make no mistake about it…this encyclopedic survey…is no guidebook for the tourist, but a serious and remarkably successful attempt to describe how the city reached the cusp of "modernity," how it emerged from relative obscurity in the middle of the 16th century to become, about 200 years later, "the greatest city in Europe," with a population whose distinctive traits are recognizable to this day.
—Jonathan Yardley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521896528
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 438
  • Sales rank: 368,141
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert O. Bucholz is Professor of History at Loyola University, Chicago. He is the co-author (with Newton Key) of Early-Modern England, 1485–1714: A Narrative History (2nd edition, 2009) and Sources and Debates in English History, 1485–1714 (2nd edition, 2009) and the co-editor (with Carol Levin) of Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England (2009).

Joseph P. Ward is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Metropolitan Communities: Trade Guilds, Identity, and Change in Early Modern London (1997) and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2000.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: London's importance; 1. London in 1550; 2. The socioeconomic base; 3. Royal and civic London; 4. Fine and performing arts; 5. The public sphere and popular culture; 6. The people on the margins; 7. Riot and rebellion; 8. Plague and fire; Conclusion: London in 1750.
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