Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Our Tempestuous Day: History of Regency England” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Our Tempestuous Day: H...
Carolly Erickson
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Our Tempestuous Day: History of Regency England

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  360 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Regency England has long been seen as a time of hedonism and romance, when dashing beaux and elegant belles played out their flirtations against a backdrop of opulence and style. Yet beneath the surface glitter of the Regency lay an underlying malaise, a pervasive hollowness and sense of loss, along with an explosive undercurrent of popular unrest and political radicalism. ...more
Published (first published 1986)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Kudos, Erickson! This was both enlightening and entertaining.
Beginning at the end of The Mad King George's reign and ending around the death of Princess Charlotte, it encompasses the military triumphs, the literary accomplishment, and the monarchical shenanigans during the regency of George, Prince of Wales.
This is an excellent source for anyone interested in Lord Byron. He's discussed quite a bit through a few chapters. Such a mercurial character
Another interesting personality is Princess Ch
Feb 04, 2013 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
Jul 09, 2013 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
K.M. Weiland
Sep 30, 2014 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.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good brief overview of the Regency period. The author covers the main features of the time (the social unrest, the Regent himself, attitudes to women, etc), by using contemporary sources. I read this as an adjunct to the more focussed histories of the period and found it very lively and readable. Would recommend it to anyone wishing for a flavour of the period.
Parts of this were really enlightening. The whole perspective on Lord Byron and King George IV's love of Brighton make Austen's book settings more interesting. However, parts dragged on. Such is history. But in the end, I liked it enough to finish it.
Angie The Librarian
Parts of this were really enlightening. The whole perspective on Lord Byron and King George IV's love of Brighton make Austen's book settings more interesting. However, parts dragged on. Such is history. But in the end, I liked it enough to finish it.
A solid, well-written top-down history that covers a range of loosely organized topics but focuses primarily on the life of the Prince Regent (who eventually became George IV). Erickson maintains a good pace and balance of narrative and fact. Because I prefer history that focuses on lives besides the titled and famous, I appreciated the regular sidetracks that explored beyond the usual information about Lord Byron and Princess Charlotte. The most disappointing aspect of this book was Erickson's ...more
Apr 19, 2012 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 K.
Oct 14, 2011 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
Jun 27, 2014 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
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.
Katherine Cowley
Jul 06, 2014 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
Savannah T
Jan 28, 2012 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
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
Lauren Albert
May 16, 2011 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
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

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
Margaret Pinard
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
Aug 14, 2015 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.

Aug 04, 2011 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.
Miss Lemon
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the day to day news seems out of control just pick this up and read what was going on in Regency England when all was corrupt and rioting and a king who was busy doing his Marie Antoinette impression was on the throne. Well written with details that the usual history books don't include. A 'yes.'
Mar 22, 2014 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.
Aug 23, 2014 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.
Junemarie Brandt
Apr 05, 2016 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.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hanovers
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.
May 09, 2012 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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England
  • English Society in the 18th Century
  • The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England
  • Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England
  • Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen
  • Dr. Johnson's London
  • Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England
  • 1700: Scenes from London Life
  • Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History
  • Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
  • City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • Governess: The Lives and Times of the Real Jane Eyres
  • The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace
  • The English Civil War
  • The Romantic Revolution
  • The Making of Victorian Values: Decency and Dissent in Britain: 1789-1837
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...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Decoded
    $9.99 $1.99
  • A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win World War II
    $14.99 $1.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
    $15.99 $2.99
  • Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Beautiful Bodies
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99