A globe-spanning narrative history of the 1850s - a time of electrifying change - seen through the eyes of the men and women who embraced the adventurous spirit of the times
'Excellent . . . This is narrative history of the highest quality' Andrew Lycett, Sunday Telegraph
'Wonderfully engrossing and intelligent . . . clever and entertaining' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
HEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. The 1850s was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The world was reshaped by technology, trade, mass migration and war. The global economy expanded fivefold, millions of families emigrated to the ends of the earth to carve out new lives, technology revolutionised communications, while steamships and railways cut across vast continents and oceans, shrinking the world and creating the first global age.
In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, the acclaimed historian Ben Wilson recreates this time of explosive energy and dizzying change, a rollercoaster ride of booms and bust, focusing on the lives of the men and women reshaping its frontiers. At the centre stands Great Britain. The country was the peak of its power as it attempted to determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people. A dazzling history of a tumultuous decade, HEYDAY reclaims an often overlooked period that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.
The world began speeding up in the 1850s and hasn't stopped since . . . Ben Wilson's richly detailed and compelling narrative of this whirlwind period catches its exhilaration - PROSPECT
Scholarly, intelligent and readable . . . an original prism through which to view the mid-19th century and, essentially, about the invention not so much of modernity as of globalisation - THE SPECTATOR
Immensely enjoyable . . . highly recommended
Ben Wilson is the author of four critically acclaimed books including WHAT PRICE LIBERTY?, for which he received a Somerset Maugham Award, and the bestselling EMPIRE OF THE DEEP. He was born in 1980 and educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a first-class degree and an MPhil in history. He lives in Suffolk.