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BOOK OF THE MONTH
THE ICKABOG
J.K. Rowling
1299

'The Ickabog is coming... A mythical monster, a kingdom in peril, an adventure...(+)

Author Spotlight

Marina is an Anglo-Indian, London-based barrister specialising in constitutional and human rights ...(+)

  Marina Wheeler  
 
 
 
Heyday
Ben Wilson

Classification : History
Pub Date : Apr 15, 2016
Imprint : Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Page Extent : 496
Binding : PB
ISBN : 9781474604789
Price : 699

About the book

HEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. Over the course of the 1850s, 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.

It was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The 1850s saw the laying of the first undersea cable in 1851, the rush for gold from California to Australia, while fleets of pirate vessels docked in Hong Kong harbour, eager to take advantage of booming trade. The West's insatiable hunger for land, natural resources and new markets encouraged free trade, bold exploration and colonisation as never before.
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 decade that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.


Read Review   Want to write a review?
A fascinating and sweeping account of one of the most eventful decades in world history, a period when the nation was fast-tracked into the modern age ... compellingly written and intricately researched ... Wilson skilfully examines how a series of intertwined events gave birth to today's society ... readers of this excellent book will undoubtedly find that the events of more than 150 years ago have a great deal of light to shine on our own supposedly more advanced civilisation
Ben Wilson argues that the 1850s should be seen as a distinct period within the Victorian era because its developments shaped the world for decades. Key among these are the 1851 Great Exhibition; the 'gold rushes', migration to area with newly discovered deposits of gold; and the first underwater transmission of a telegraph message, from London to Paris in 1851 - which, in theory, meant that the whole world could be linked in such a away. The Crimean War (1853-56), meanwhile pitted Russia against the UK, France, Sardinia and the Ottoman empire in a conflict that altered global alliances.
I finished Ben Wilson's immensely enjoyable new book, Heyday: Britain & the Birth of the Modern World. Highly recommended.
This is a scholarly, intelligent and readable book. This book is an original prism through which to view the mid-19th century and, essentially, about the invention not so much of modernity as of globalisation.
In this rollercoaster of a book, Ben Wilson describes the 1850s as the most explosive period in history, a decade that gave birth to modernity and trampled those who resisted it ... So much of current transnational history is, quite frankly, perishingly dull, with arcane analysis smothering the wonderful stories the past provides. Heyday stands in refreshing contrast: the scholarship is certainly impressive but the drama is what delights. Wilson's knack for detail brings this history alive ... Heyday is a lot like its subject; it's a big-bearded book of enormous scope and unstoppable momentum. However, it's also a sobering tale of greed gone wrong.
Engrossing study of the explosion of the new technology that reshaped the world in the 1850s, and Britain's role in it
With a rip-roaring style to match his subject, Ben Wilson charts the heady spirit of the 1850s. It was a decade of invention in which prospectors rushed to gold mines in California and Australia, laying down railways and telegraph lines, opening up continents. It was also the era of opium wars and conflicts over slavery. Narrative history of a high order.
With a rip-roaring style to match his subject ... excellent ... His grasp of the interplay between politics, economics and individuals is admirable. This is narrative history of the highest quality.
Wilson's account of the 1850s is a wonderfully engrossing and intelligent read... He has clever and entertaining things to say about even the most banal topics, tracing the Victorian enthusiasm for beards, for instance, to the impact of the Crimean War... He even manages to make the history of Minnesota exciting
     
Ben Wilson
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 a...(+)