London in 1700 was recovering from the ravages of fire, plague and revolution. It was a capital on the verge of a new century, poised between the medieval past and a fabulous future.
More than a capital city, Londoners had witnessed the unthinkable - the public execution of a king at Whitehall. Thousands had died in the Plague of 1665, then the Great Fire of 1666. But from the ashes rose a modern city, rebuilt with the shining dome of Christopher Wren's St Paul's Cathedral, symbolising a new strength and confidence. London, with a population of over half a million, was now Europe's largest, richest and most cosmopolitian city.
Maureen Waller describes a familiar yet alien world. Using anecdotes, detail and amusing contrasts, she draws on court records newspapers, and recorded eyewitness accounts to create a vividly colourful vision. of a city at a unique moment in its history.
A traditional, well-documented social history, pungent, entertaining and informative - Sunday Times
Impressive learning, lightly worn, gives Waller's portrait a wonderfully vivid feel - The Scotsman
fascinating new book... one realises, when reading this book, that one is reading nothing less than an account of the birth pangs of the modern age - New Statesman