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The Rise of Respectable Society: A Social History of Victorian Britain, 1830-1900
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The Rise of Respectable Society: A Social History of Victorian Britain, 1830-1900

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  23 ratings  ·  4 reviews
One of England's grand masters of history provides a clear and persuasive interpretation of the creation of "respectable society" in Victorian Britain. Integrating a vast amount of research previously hidden in obscure or academic journals, he covers not only the economy, social structure, and patterns of authority, but also marriage and the family, childhood, homes and ho ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published October 1st 1990 by Harvard University Press (first published September 15th 1988)
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·Karen·
In my next life I'd like to be a social historian.

It apparently makes for a long life - F.M.L. Thompson was born in 1925, and there's no obituary been published yet.

And I like the attitude: people making decisions based on factors that you can understand, not people as driftwood tossed on the tides of economic policy or dialectical materialism.

Take infant mortality for example. That is deaths of babies and infants before they are one year old. The rate was shockingly high in the 19th century, w
...more
Maria
This is a thought provoking book. Thompson doesn't go for the "easy answer" when looking for causes and correlating facts. For example, he discusses at length the reasons that might have contributed to a falling birth rate in Victorian Britain and comes right out and identifies many traditionally given causes as ridiculous. (Okay, he's more polite in the terminology, but you are not left to guess what it is he thinks.) He provides a wealth of statistics, and then uses them to demonstrate some po ...more
Haythem Bastawy
The Rise of Respectable Society is a book on Victorian social history. Unfortunately it throws the reader straight into the depth of information. I would have really appreciated an introductory chapter on the politics of this era in British history. There are also a lot of what I would call auxiliary information which distracted me to some extent from tracing the more important aspects of this era's social history. I found myself in an intense process of sifting throughout most of the book. The ...more
Celia
Mostly this books goes through the things that people tend to think of as being characteristic of Victorian Britain--the rise of the factory, urbanization, the working class, prudishness--and shows how they were more complicated/less complete/less homogeneous than might be assumed. In general this is the sort of thing I like a book to do, but oh god, I do wonder at times what possessed me to want to know about the rate at which the cotton industry became entirely factory based as compared to woo ...more
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