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Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  244 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Marc McCutcheon illuminates the 1800s, decade by decade, in the pages of this comprehensive volume.

Beginning with a lively overview, major sections contain dozens of quotes from magazines and books published during the time, illustrating the proper context for terms in everyday speech. Quick-reference chronologies of events, popular magazines and books and songs make fact

Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 24, 2009 J.M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a phenomenal book. I use it frequently when writing historical stories, particularly those set in the Old West or during the Civil War. Whole sections of this book are dedicated to slang, curse words, apparel, the Civil War, slave lingo, ranch talk, money, transportation, medicine ... the list goes on.

Mostly this book seems to focus on American life during the 1800's, so I'm not sure how helpful it would be to authors who write stories set in other countries during that era, but it's pro
Dec 09, 2011 Kate rated it liked it
I used this book as a reference this year during Nanowrimo, as my story took place in 1888 (or thereabouts). The book does span an entire century, but it did help me with some details about whether or not things like electricity or indoor plumbing was used, how people lived in the Midwest pioneer days, and some of the medical information. If you need more detailed information for your novel, this might not be specific enough for you, but it definitely gives a general sense of the times and might ...more
This is a good one-stop dictionary, but it does need to be read in conjunction with other sources. The entries often include dates (i.e. when something first became popular0 and sometimes short quotes from period sources which are useful. Given its "dictionary" like structure, it makes for rather dry reading, and a better book to really get a more "overall" picture in terms of culture (and not merely add appropriate period words to a work of fiction) would be Victorian America: Transformations i ...more
May 09, 2012 Kasey rated it it was amazing
This book is pure amazingness! It was exactly what I was looking for in the library and then some! I am not a writer, student, or historian just someone interested in life during the 1800's. I do with there was more background instead but just explaining things in a dictionary like format but I'm not complaining there hadn't been many history based books like this that have held my attention for long. GREAT BOOK!
Jul 31, 2011 Diana rated it really liked it
I really need to buy myself a copy of this book, so I can leave the library's copy for someone else. This series of books is meant to help authors get their facts right in historical novels or non-fiction. Even though I'm not a writer I love reading about History and these are the books I go to if I need information on a word or phrase I didn't understand in the book I'm reading.
Dec 10, 2014 Candice rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was really interesting. I found out some slang (typically used for drunk folks) that were highly entertaining. I think that someone doing research about 1800s life can find some value in this book.
KV Taylor
Apr 21, 2009 KV Taylor rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
While obviously not totally comprehensive, this book deserves insane props for the amount of work it does for you, and the way it sets you on the path toward exactly what you need, if it doesn't tell you. You could pull your hair out figuring where to start, so thank god for this one.
Lisa Potocar
Aug 28, 2012 Lisa Potocar rated it really liked it
A superb reference to help writers bring the 1800s alive for their readers when they delight them with some of the period details within. The avid reader of this period in history will, I'm sure, be elate to learn many new things from this incredibly inclusive guide.
Jul 11, 2009 Misha rated it liked it
A useful glossary of items and terms from the 19th century, but it doesn't really give the full cultural context, I think. It's essentially just an encyclopedia. Also, it's limited to coverage of 19th century America.
Aug 22, 2009 Joyful rated it liked it
This is a great resource for anyone writing about life in the 19th century. As a read for the pure fun of reading, it may get a little dry unless you are a particularly familiar with the history of the time.
Dawn Turner
Jan 14, 2015 Dawn Turner rated it it was amazing
Fabulous reference for terminology and various elements of society/culture in the 1800s. It's not complete by any means, but it's got enough information in it in an easy to read format to give someone an excellent start to researching life in the 1800s.
Aug 16, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: history
The dictionary-style reference guide only gives the bare minimum of explanation. You will need other, more detailed books to make your research complete. But it is quick and dirty, if that's what you're looking for. I prefer more information.
Aug 02, 2015 Nic rated it really liked it
I put this on the "skimmed for info" shelf because there are one or two brief sections I did skim, but for the most part, I read the book thoroughly and enjoyed it. It's relevant, interesting, clever, and full of great citations from period documents.
Jan 14, 2013 Maureen rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Good reference book.
May 30, 2013 Kellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, non-fiction
Very helpful guide of those elusive facts. I have the books in this Writer's Digest series and they are irreplaceable.
Liz Parker
Dec 27, 2013 Liz Parker rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for anyone writing a story set during this era. It gives a good understanding of just about everything from fashion to food to language (including swear words).
Jan 21, 2009 Shane rated it really liked it
Great resource book.
Jun 05, 2012 Kellie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction
Nice little book of tidbits on life in the Old West. I used this as a reference guide before computers were the norm.
Sep 27, 2012 Lizz rated it it was amazing
I absorbed this book like a sponge.
Apr 01, 2007 Beth rated it liked it
Interesting factoids and it is what it says it is, a guide and really more a reference book about that time period for young people.
Aug 10, 2011 Leah added it
A good reference for quick facts.
Leah Good
Jul 19, 2012 Leah Good rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Love this book!
Nicole rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2012
Cari rated it liked it
Oct 11, 2009
Rebecca Renner
Rebecca Renner rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2015
Barbara Puccio
Barbara Puccio rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2014
Terri Jacobson
Dec 20, 2013 Terri Jacobson marked it as abandoned
This is more of a reference book for writers than a readable history of the 1800s.
audie k richardson
audie k richardson rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2014
R. Garrett/P. A. Pinder
R. Garrett/P. A. Pinder rated it it was amazing
Oct 15, 2016
Geoffrey Blaha
Geoffrey Blaha rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2016
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