Voices of the Georgian Age

Times may change but human behaviour does not

Rating: 4 out of 5.

‘Voices of the Georgian Age’ is a curated taster of what Georgian life was like. Using 17 character examples from all walks of life: aristocracy, criminals, artists, authors, working class, and poor, the book covers the gamut of livelihood. ‘That they are human beings, with fundamentally the same emotions and core desires is obvious…It is the differences that tell us much more.’

What indeed becomes clear, is that the quirks and nuances of human nature have remained the same; albeit with different triggers. We might judge people today on their clothes and the model of their car. 400 years ago, people were still classified by their attire and whether they owned a carriage, or could at least hire one. Then, as today, people were highly suspicious of strangers and scams. We might believe that the rise in social media has increased criminal activity, but in reality only the medium has changed; the behaviour was always just as rife. The biggest difference was the overt cruel behaviour and the harsh reality of life. Mostly for the poor to middle class but even the rich weren’t exempt from illness, early death, beatings, and loveless marriage matches.

James Hobson has scoured a diverse range of primary sources and collated a plethora of voices to represent the age, within a concise book. Each chapter discusses a new person and is introduced with the context of their life and the pertinent focus for that chapter. It is inevitable that some characters might be more interesting to read about than others, and therefore the pace of the book varies accordingly. This book is a good read for history lovers who will enjoy a taste of what life was really like – aside from a version represented in a Jane Austen book (although she is, in fact, also represented in this book).

Thank you NetGalley and Pen & Sword for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Pen & Sword History


30 January 2023

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