Rating: 4 out of 5
This was a good history but generally did not sound too inspired to me. I guess it’s the problem where the author’s subject is so broad she has to describe everything and yet make the story gripping…
In a lot of ways, this read more like disjointed books on the different topics than as a single narrative of the year. That said, given the variable nature of the topics presented, there was probably no other method of describing these action anyways, making me think that perhaps they don’t belong in one book — or at least not in one which tries to limit itself by time and yet does not use that methodology to carry everything through to its very end.
Some of the source material Ms Rideal used I have seen for myself, however, in the ‘Diaries of Samuel Pepys’, and it was quite enjoyable to see this wealth of information being used here as part of a larger context. However, this and other times where the author brought in contemporary writings were the most interesting episodes of this work.