Tag: #history

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

“Death, Disease & Dissection” by Suzie Grogan

The life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850

It’s time for another corner of history. In this book Suzie Grogan explores the history of the Surgeon-Apothecary. The period 1750 – 1850 was a pivotal one in the development of the roles of Surgeon and the Apothecary. Prior to 1750 there was no formal training required for either one, but during this time the official association were formed, licensing was introduced, qualification exams were created, and the roles of these professional men were defined in the communities.

I think the author has done a wonderful job of researching the topic and presenting the history of the profession, and biographical information on some of the most influential Surgeon-Apothecaries of the period. There is also discussion in the book on what kind of ailments these men were able to treat and some of the remedies they had available to them. The author also presents a discussion of the “Quacks” and their “remedies” as well. This book is well organized and full of fascinating information on the topic.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

“Children’s Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young” by Peter Higginbotham

This book is exactly as it describes itself, a history of the care of children. In this case we are talking about orphans, waifs, strays, kids who today would be in the care of social services. The author has chapters discussing the different charitable and governmental organizations that had responsibility for the care of these children. There is also a look back at the development of child care philosophy, from large institutional care to the foster system we are more familiar with today. The author discusses the most prominent movers and shakers in the history of children’s homes and also some of the lesser known lights. The book concludes with a discussion of day to day life in the different types of children’s homes and some of the more notable instances of abuse.

I found this book to be another well written history of a social issue in Britain. It’s a very approachable book and not a heavy history tome. I really appreciated learning about how social services for children got to where they are today and how they have changed along with the changing of the surrounding culture. All in all, an enjoyable look at a critical but often overlooked social issue, probably best enjoyed by those interested in these issues.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

When this book popped up on my TBR I couldn’t help but wonder what I was thinking when I picked out such a gory sounding book. But I read it anyway and it turns out to be a fascinating look at the potential pitfalls that children in Victorian England faced. The book is broken down into 5 chapters each covering a different “cause of death” including Industrial Mishaps, Accidents, Poverty and Health, Murder, and Infant Deaths. It was a bit surprising to me as read the different chapters that the only category that as a society we have really eliminated is Industrial Mishaps. We still see childhood deaths in the other 4 categories on a pretty regular basis, at least here in the U.S. I am constantly reminded, when reading history books, that the human struggles never really change, whether you’re talking about our vulnerability to disease or the presence of evil.

The author uses real stories to relate the conditions of the time and it was really interesting to see how far our culture has come in the last 200 years in some of the categories. Thank goodness we don’t have 8 year olds working in factories anymore. It’s also eye-opening to realize that the concept of a carefree childhood that we have today only existed for a very few in the Victorian period. The book is written in a way that is easily readable for anybody but I expect will be particularly interesting to those who enjoy social history or the Victorian period in particular.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“The Kings of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

“The Kings of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon

Who knew that reading history could be fun! Catherine Curzon takes the reader on a journey through the lives and reigns of the four Kings George and she does it with a sense of humor. This is not your stereotypical dry history narrative. The book is broken down into sections, one for each King and tells their story starting with their birth and ending with their death. She will see what they’re their childhoods were like, who had the strongest influence on them, what kind of fathers and husbands they were, and the politics of their respective monarchies.

As you can probably guess, I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure I would because the British monarchy is so complicated, there are tons of players, and I’m an American, so I was delighted that this was such a great read. George the First’s story was a little confusing at first but only because there were so many women named Sophia in his life. I recently received the companion book “The Queens of Georgian Britain” and I’m very excited to read it after enjoying this one so much. For American readers the section on George III would be very interesting as he was the king during the War for Independence. The author really made these men come alive and in a reader-friendly way. I highly recommend this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon Canada

“The Modoc War” by Robert Aquinas McNalley

“The Modoc War” by Robert Aquinas McNalley

A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America’s Gilded Age

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating

This is the story of the war that the United States waged against the Modoc Indians in the Lava Beds of southern Oregon in the late 19th century. The author has done a great job of bringing to life the main players of the story, both Americans and Indians, and discussing their motivations. The Americans were determined to destroy the Modocs largely for the purposes of profit but also because of the mindset at the time that saw the Indians as little better than animals. I appreciated the author’s dip into the history of how this attitude came about in the culture of the time. I found this story to be riveting and thoroughly researched. It still surprises me that as a culture we know so much about the atrocities committed against blacks, but almost nothing about what was committed against the Indians. This is an excellent book in its category and I highly recommend it.

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“Children in the Second World War” by Amanda Herbert-Davies

“Children in the Second World War” by Amanda Herbert-Davies

This book, for me, was a real eye-opener. Being an American, born after the war I had no real understanding of what conditions were like in a country where the war was actually being fought. This book focuses on the experiences of children in Britain, and while I’ve seen movies and TV shows set during the period, it’s a whole different understanding when you hear (or read in this case) from the people who actually lived through it.

The book opens with the recollections of what children were thinking or doing when the war was announced and then moves on to talk about the evacuations, the bomb shelters, shortages, education, war efforts and culminates with thoughts on the end of the war. I think the author has done a fantastic job of weaving together the facts of the war and the thoughts and recollections of people who actually grew up during the war. There are stories from kids who thought that bombed out buildings were a great playground and those for whom the terror of air raids left them permanently traumatized. The various chapters present a comprehensive look at the living conditions during this time, from those who were evacuated to an idyllic countryside childhood to those who were in the heart of the bombing zones and spending their nights in shelters. I hope that reading this book will give people pause when considering the act of war because it is often the youngest among us who bear the brunt of such action. I highly recommend this book as I found it both informative and moving at the same time.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon US   |   On Amazon UK   |   On Goodreads

“Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots” by Kathryn Burtinshaw & Dr. John Burt

“Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots” by Kathryn Burtinshaw & Dr. John Burt

A History of Insanity in Nineteenth Century Britain & Ireland

This book is for anyone interested in social history. The authors take the reader through the history of the treatment of those with mental illness during the Nineteenth century. The book opens with information about how to trace ancestors who may have been in an asylum. Chapters 2 – 9 talk about the development of asylums and the legal treatment of patients. Each chapter focuses on a different region of Britain and Ireland. Chapters 10 – 20 go on to give information about staff and how they were chosen, the different legal classifications of patients, different types of mental illness, and closes with a rundown of diagnoses and treatments. Throughout the book are scattered case histories of actual patients which illustrate the conditions at the time.

I found this book really interesting. Mental health is something I’ve always had an interest in and it amazes me at times to see how far we have come in western civilization in handling the mentally ill. The book is written in a format that is easy to read and follow. I found a lot of great information and history in this book and would recommend it for anyone interested in history or mental illness.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon US   |   On Amazon UK   |   On Goodreads

Thank you to Pen & Sword Publishing for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

“Mad or Bad” by David J. Vaughan

“Mad or Bad” by David J. Vaughan

Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain. In the 1800’s there was a lot of debate and controversy surrounding the use of an insanity plea in criminal cases. In this books, the author starts by presenting and overview of the points of controversy and introduces the reader to the major players in the medical and legal communities during this time. The bulk of the book is case studies of individuals whose crimes brought into play the issue of insanity. Finally, the author includes an overview of the various changes in the law and their impact on the criminal cases of those using the insanity plea.

I found the stories in this books fascinating. The thinking within the legal and medical communities during this time period was going through a lot of changes and the two sides often clashed in trying to achieve their goals. Public pressure also seemed to play a significant role in the outcome of some of the cases presented. In some cases, the outcome seems obvious until the nuance of the law is applied. Some attempts to improve the situation ended up only making things worse. I think anyone with an interest in legal history or the history of psychology will find this book really interesting as it gives insight to how the legal system got to where it is today.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“The Road to Jonestown” by Jeff Guinn

“The Road to Jonestown” by Jeff Guinn

Disturbing and fascinating at the same time! The tragedy that took place at Jonestown in Guyana has continued to haunt American history since it took place in 1978. I had just entered my teens when it took place and I have always wondered why. What would make a man orchestrate the mass suicide of his devoted followers? I found some answers in this book. The author traces the life of Jim Jones all the way back to his childhood, which was strange in itself. The reader sees him grow up to be a man of high ideals and charming enough to draw others in to his vision of what society should look like. He always had a desire to improve the lives of the downtrodden, especially blacks, and in his early years as an adult his followers are deeply involved in their communities and in establishing programs that will improve lives, such as operating nursing homes for the elderly or drug rehabilitation programs. Many of his programs were applauded for their effectiveness.

As Jim Jones approaches middle age, he becomes very paranoid about conspiracies against him and this transition seems to mark the beginning of the end. I found this book to be very enlightening and the depth of the research the author conducted is to be commended. This is not just hearsay evidence being presented but actual accounts from survivors and Peoples Temple documents. I am highly recommend this book to readers whether you’re interested in Jonestown as an historical event, or looking for a greater understanding of what made Jim Jones the leader he was.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating  5 stars!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

“The Yorkshire Witch” by Summer Strevens

This book is about the life and trial of Mary Bateman. She was hanged on March 20, 1809 after being convicted of murder just days before. But Mary’s crimes began many years earlier when at the age of 5 she stole a pair of shoes. She became a very clever con-woman and thief, and while she was convicted of one murder, there were several other unusual deaths within her circle of influence over the years. The author has compiled the known facts about Mary and the society she lived in, in order to tell the story of this infamous woman’s life from childhood to her death.

I found this book to be very well written. The author has organized the chapters so that each covers a section of her life and her activities during that time. We get to see how her crimes escalate over time. Mary apparently employed the use of fictitious personas to lure her victims into her schemes. She was somewhat educated and knew how to read and write, this gave her a leg up on the neighbors that she was able to use to her advantage. Mary was married and had several children but the knowledge or involvement of her husband has never been definitively established and remains a mystery. I really enjoyed reading this book and history buffs or true crime addicts should enjoy it also.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads