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Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England
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Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  283 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
From 1810 to 1820, while his father, King George III, declined into madness at Windsor, besieged by nightmares of England sinking into the sea, George, the Prince of Wales, served as Regent, creating an epoch in England now known as the Regency Period.

This was the age of the opulent interiors of the prince’s palace, Carlton House, the grand scenic architecture of his Brig
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 917)
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Melissa McShane
On the one hand, this is a fascinating look at what you could call the "other side" of the Regency era (taking Georgette Heyer as popularizer of its bright, fashionable, elevated side). Erickson tells a story, and it reads like a story, spanning the years of the Regency, 1811 to 1820, touching on some of its more interesting characters as well as the political climate that Heyer ignores. It's at the very least eye-opening, and there were a few events, such as the Peterloo massacre, that it put i ...more
K.M. Weiland
Oct 08, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading many books about the particulars of life in the Regency, this book was an appreciated overview of the politics and major events that were actually happening during the period. I would have liked some descriptive chapter headings to help orient me, but, really, that's the ONLY problem I have with this book. It's well-researched and presented in a highly entertaining (almost novelesque) and easy to follow format. I closed the back cover feeling very educated.
Feb 04, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, history, nonfiction
Carolly Erickson is not one of my absolute favorite historians, as I feel that she tends to skim over the top a bit, but she's definitely up there for her chatty, conversational style and her knack of picking out interesting anecdotes that somehow frame an era. Our Tempestuous Day is no different, taking the Regency and picking out several anecdotes like the Peterloo massacre, Waterloo, the fight over the installation of the Regency in the first place, and the death of King George III and using ...more
Aug 21, 2013 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Another audible purchase. A decent overview of the Regency period (1810 - 1820) in the UK from the "top down." Although the book covered movements such as the Luddites and the Peterloo massacre, and discussed the Corn Laws (but hardly anything on the anti-slavery movement), you could tell that the author's real passion is discussing royalty and the aristocracy, and you will hear every tiring detail about the Prince Regent. So if you are in to that (it is interesting and somewhat salacious) you w ...more
Jun 27, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-periods
Although I've read quite a lot of the literature of Regency England, I had read about its history only minimally. I was interested in entering into a new period, and had high hopes for this book because I had read and admired some of Erickson's biographical works.
I did get something of a view, but such an overpoweringly negative view! The unpleasant personal habits of the royal family and the very sad lot of the poor, winding up with a horrific clash between protesters and police, and the truly
Nov 01, 2013 Alvin rated it really liked it
A fun, breezy popular history of a thoroughly demented era with information and anecdotes about life amongst the downtrodden, the royals, and the Napoleonic wars.
Full of anecdote and detail, this book goes year by year through the Regency period, beginning with the illness of George III and the accession of George IV. While one learns a lot about a number of aspects of life during this period (e.g. climbing boys, the Corn law and riots--it does not go into a lot of social history detail. The pictures are B&W prints from the period. The book is carefully researched well-written. It is a good book to start with as it gives an overview of the period, fr ...more
Margaret Pinard
Apr 14, 2015 Margaret Pinard rated it really liked it
Each chapter takes a different focal point, while moving through the decade of 1810-1820. There are a lot of interesting facts, reports of incidents, gossip of personages, and descriptions of parties. There were many more reports of upper class events than poor people's, although the last couple of chapters reported on the 'climbing boys' and the Peterloo Massacre. Also, as the Age was, very focused on London, although the last couple chapters reported on the industrial cities of the North, Manc ...more
Katherine Cowley
Oct 05, 2014 Katherine Cowley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, adult
This history of Regency England (1810-1820) is readable and accessible for the non-historian, framing larger movements of the era in engaging human anecdotes. Most of my exposure to Regency England has been through Jane Austen. And yet while Austen's novels include bits and pieces of history and social issues, they do not address them head on. Our Tempestuous Day does so, and in some places reads like a Charles Dickens novel. Really, in the Regency, you have terrible conditions for the poor, upr ...more
This is not a scholarly historical piece. The author spends too much time telling us how the regent "feels" and writes as though she was a witness to King George's mental deterioration. But it presents a great snapshot of history during a very specific decade in a way that is easy to follow, yet still has enough fact and detail that most readers can walk away learning something new about the time period. And while the book spends a great deal of time on the celebrities and main events of the dec ...more

This book had some very interesting information to contrast with the glimmer and glitz of this time period put forward by Jane Austen novels as well as countless historical fiction novels.
The darker side of history is always something that I find very entertaining, especially during this period of time. The Prince Regent perpetuated extravagance and encouraged the aristocracy to do the same while the lower classes suffered for it. It was a time of boredom and pointlessness among humans.
Apr 19, 2012 Jen3n rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short look at the years between 1810 and 1820, with a focus on the larger social issues and politics of the Regency Period like the Luddite revolts, the Peterloo Massacre, and the extremely unhealthy relationship between the Regent and Princess Caroline, just to name a few.

It had some very interesting anecdotes and was fairly well written. I found it interesting how history tends to change based on which historian is telling the story, though. Take, for example, the fairly well-known scandal b
Shala Howell
Oct 14, 2011 Shala Howell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. It was sort of amazing to think that this was the period Jane Austen wrote in, as Austen's books, while marvelous, don't touch on the seedy underside where this book often dwells (not that I mind in either case). I found myself marking page after page where the writing or the information (or both) appealed to me. Some tidbits:

p. 233: On Byron after his years in Venice, when apparently his personality and his physique had become a bit coarse: "Women still sometimes fain
Mar 22, 2014 Melora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a class, and I think it was excellent. Nonfiction isn't really my usual go to, but this book tells a story per chapter about the conditions of the Regency. The author ranges from the scandals of the royalty to the plight of the little chimney sweeps. Want to learn about the Regency in a non history book way? Read this book.
Savannah Toner
Feb 23, 2012 Savannah Toner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
First and foremost, the author’s main aim is not to write a comprehensive view of regency England. Instead this is a scholarly, but not dry, examination of the contradiction between two competing images, glittering elegance against violent chaos present in this age. Particularly interesting are the individual human stories that open into broader discussions of cultural trends. For example, the marriage of Princess Charlotte is used to introduce the change in the view of women. These accounts hum ...more
Lauren Albert
May 19, 2011 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-british
The Regency period from 1810-1820 is too often seen through the lens of a Jane Austen novel. Erickson does a very good job of showing you the underside as well. The same period saw the luddites smashing homes and workplaces, soldiers killing and wounding unarmed protestors in the “Peterloo Massacre,” and evangelicals trying (and often succeeding) in changing social mores. Unrest was widespread because of poverty and hunger—unrest which was accelerated by the Corn Laws—import tariffs--which furth ...more
I was a little worried about Carolly Erickson, because the last of her books I read, Mistress Anne, didn't impress me much. Fortunately, Our Tempestuous Day was much better, perhaps because the period is better documented. At less than 300 pages, it's not a long book in which to document the ten tumultuous years of the Regency (when the future George IV ruled as regent for his mad father, George III), but Erickson skillfully mixes social, cultural, and political history to provide a good overvie ...more
Junemarie Brandt
Apr 05, 2016 Junemarie Brandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book's biggest fault is assuming the reader has a knowledge of how British politics worked in the early 19th century. The stances of the Whigs and Tories aren't explained and some of their prior power shifts during the reign of George III.
Sep 24, 2015 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
Thoroughly enjoyable. A very fast and well-written pop history of the Regency period that covers all the expected territory but also ranges into unexpected and insighful areas (the Evangelical movement, British women with their crushes on Napoleon, fashion shifts between France and England, etc). Very fun to read, fast moving and informative (though I do get the feeling that she was playing a bit fast and loose with the facts in some places.) A great overview of the time. Recommended.

Jun 02, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent overview of a period, if not perhaps as in-depth as some might like.
Mar 02, 2016 Lezley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a short time, I was living in Regency England, enjoying all the aristocratic luxuries and suffering with the poor children working as chimney sweeps. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by Carolly Erickson.
Dec 30, 2012 Julia rated it liked it

This was an excellent overview of the Regency period, told in an engaging fashion and covering most aspects of life at the time. There was a greater focus on the political than I was expecting and I learned a lot about some of the riots that occurred around that period.

If I had one issue, it was that details were not pinpointed enough in time. This would probably not be an issue if you were reading for enjoyment, but if your novel is set in a specific year you will need to look up almost ev
Jan 08, 2016 Millie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mills College Library
306.0942 E682 2011
Aug 04, 2011 Ting rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brief history of a very brief period, from 1811 to 1820, in English history. The author has captured the turbulent period when the Prince of Wales had to act as Regent of England in the wake of George III's illness in an easy to read account. She recounts the ups and downs of war with France, high society, politics, and social awareness. A good starting point if one is interested in this period.
Oct 05, 2014 Nikka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this about 3 stars worth, but only because I wasn’t all that genuinely interested in the topic. If you’re into British history or the Regency Period or curious how someone might make certain kinds of cultural history eminently readable to lay audiences, it’s probably good for a 5.
Aug 04, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant birds-eye view of the era and its personalities. A good read for both scholar or student...especially for those who want to know Jane Austen's or Patrick O'Briens' Britain.
Feb 05, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating account of the history of Great Britain from 1810 to 1820. Perhaps a bit on the dry and scholarly side, but I found it to be a super satisfying read.
Cynthia Karl
Not the best written history I've ever read but still full of interesting information and details about this period - a period that does not get a lot of coverage.
Jun 05, 2009 Vic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous insights about the regency. No dry prose here, and one really gets a sense of how the Prince Regent's tastes and actions affected the era.
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Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Great Catherine, Alexandra and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Hawaii.
More about Carolly Erickson...

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