Book review: Behind Closed Doors

Posted on: 11/11/2009

By Michael Goode

Title: Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England

Author: Amanda Vickery

Pages: 368

Price: £11-15 (Amazon UK)

Rating: ***

Behind Closed Doors pulls you into a different world looking at the everyday worries and aspirations of Georgian people, from the landed gentry to the hopelessly poor, it lets you step into someone else’s shoes and walk about in the nosiest way.  

The book is important because it lets you understand the idea of a home, one of the most central features of our life. Taking you through the Georgian house, this book helps to explain why our house and our domestic fashions are as they are.

Vickery examines various aspects of the house, for instance, the importance of locks and wallpaper (both of which had different roles then) and how a householder was allowed to gather up to 11 men to defend the property. Sometimes the book became a little mundane, no in fact quite dull, but this is like modern day, the household can be the witness of great battles and arguments, stories of human tragedy and triumph as well as boring day in day out places to live and Vickery explores this beautifully.

This book pulls you into a fundamentally different world and offers a good insight into all the intimate details of life and the status of householders. I recommend it as a way of understanding the lives of our ancestors in the Georgian period.


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