In this chronicle of Regency England (18101820), popular historian Erickson shows that her considerable skills aren't limited to the depiction of Tudor monarchs (Bloody Mary, Great Harry, etc.). The change in period has been beneficial: her recent 16th century biography, Mistress Anne, had a desultory quality that has been avoided in this colorful, entertaining portrait of a turbulent time. In 1810, when George III was declared mentally incapable of governing, his eldest and least favorite son, later George IV, became Regent. He was a fitting figurehead for a gaudy, self-indulgent age, when aristocrats drank, dined and gambled until dawn while an increasingly restless populace chafed under miserable living conditions and an economic crisis created by a century of near-constant warfare. The battle of Waterloo in 1815 ended the Napoleonic Wars, but only made the situation in England more volatile, as thousands of soliders returned home to unemployment and poverty. Erickson vividly recreates an unsettled, intriguing era, focusing on a few key events and personalities to give readers a sense of the Regency's flavor. 25,000 first printing, $20,000 ad/promo. Foreign rights: Lynn Nesbit, ICM. (February 21)
This is a fine portrait of a fascinating agethe Regency period in English history. The author, who has biographies of several English monarchs to her credit, leads her reader through the complex personalities and events of the decade (George III was insane throughout the period and his son ruled as Regent) with considerable dexterity. The result is an entertaining and generally solid essay in the often difficult field of social history. One might wish for a bit more on the impact of the Industrial Revolution and Wesleyanism, but on the whole the book exemplifies what popular history should be. It is instructive, solidly researched and written, and of a quality to appeal to the novice and specialist alike. Recommended. James A. Casada, History Dept., Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.