I was gifted Terry Deary’s previous book ‘The Peasants’ Revolting Crimes’ and I so enjoyed it that I knew I get to get this one when it came out and I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve always enjoyed Terry Deary’s style of writing, right from when I was little reading the Horrible Histories. He makes you feel engaged and want to read on.
What I like about this book, and the previous one, is that it is scattered with quotes, both contemporary and modern, related to what he’s discussing in any given chapter. This could feel disjointed, but Deary makes it work. It covers so many areas including education, warfare, sickness, work, entertainment, and courtship. You can really begin to get a sense of what things would have been like and how, when people say they would rather live in a past century, they haven’t really thought about what it would be like.
His focus on the peasants offers a new insight into the history we think we know – that of monarchs, politicians, and the nobility. We can begin to see what life would have been like for the bulk of the population, rather than focusing on a small percentage of the elite. It’s so well-written, but there was a small error I noticed when it was said that James II was the son of Charles II, rather than his brother! Overall, you could tell it was incredibly well-researched and that Deary was really engaged with his subject.
It’s thought-provoking in the sense that it’s a section of the population often overlooked and seeing how things didn’t really improve much through the centuries, just being trodden down in different circumstances, was quite an eye-opener. I would really recommend this, to find out more about a section of society which we don’t really focus on.