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Elizabeth's London


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Hardback edition was a Sunday Times bestseller Vivid social history of London in one of its greatest and most popular periods Paperback editions of Restoration London and Dr Johnson's London have been reprinted many times 20,000 copies of hardback edition already sold 'An exuberant book...a conscientious and scholarly analysis of London's condition in the 16th century...Reading this book is like taking a ride on a marvellously exhilarating time-machine, alive with colour, surprise and sheer merriment' Jan Morris, New Statesman

About the Author

Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law at the London School of Economics and qualified as a barrister, but did not practise.She worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue and lived in Gray's Inn and Hackney, before retiring to live in Oxford.RESTORATION LONDON, the result of many years' interest and research into London life, was her first book.Previous titles:Elizabeth's London (HC May 03);Dr Johnson's London;Restoration London


Picard's latest historical guided tour, of 16th-century London, entertainingly rounds out her trilogy (with Dr. Johnson's London and Restoration London) revisiting the great city's past. Although Elizabethan London boasts no single great diarist like Samuel Pepys or James Boswell, Picard ably sifts through an enormous variety of records, letters, books and other accounts to re-create the urban expanse. Starting with topography and architecture, Picard takes her readers across the Thames and through the neighborhoods of the emergent metropolis, noting the housing and development boom touched off by Henry VIII's appropriation of papal real estate. Her tour continues through every aspect of Elizabethan life, from clothes and food to family and education, from crime and law to jobs and welfare. In such a wide-ranging scheme, the theater, along with other entertainments, is only one aspect of a flourishing society. Picard's discursive, conversational tone prevents even the topic of the water supply, with its newly engineered pipes, from seeming too dry, and her eye for facts (and factoids) can spot intriguing details in even immigrant census data. Despite the book's comprehensive structure, Picard's impressionistic style leads to the occasional oversight. Her section on religion is comparatively brief (though still interesting) for the era's most important political and social issue. Although she discusses the endemic smallpox, which scarred even the queen, she hardly touches on "the French pox," i.e. syphilis, which had been recently introduced. Nonetheless, this vibrant social history makes the city of five centuries ago seem as alive as today's, if not more. 32 pages of color photos, maps. Agent, Catherine Clark, with Felicity Bryan, U.K. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

'this is a book for ducking and weaving through... this makes satisfying toilet reading - especially the bits about how private loos in the age of Shakespeare were even nastier than our nastiest public loos today.' -- Christopher Bray THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Liza Picard brilliantly captures the spirit of the age.' EXPRESS 'ELIZABETH'S LONDON is satisfyingly rich and substantial.' -- Daniel Hahn AROUND THE GLOBE

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