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Review: ‘Living Large: Wilna Hervey and Nan Mason’, By Joseph P. Eckhardt

Publication Date: June 1, 2015

Published By: Woodstock Arts

ISBN: 9760967926889

Format: Hardback (I received a PDF copy)

Price: £30.50 (Amazon.co.uk)

Blurb

Living Large: Wilna Hervey and Nan Mason, by noted silent film historian Joseph P. Eckhardt, is by turns a rollicking dual biography and a sweet love story. Wilna Hervey—a six-foot-three-inch, three-hundred-pound heiress—won the role of “The Powerful Katrinka” in the Toonerville Trolley comedies of the early nineteen-twenties through her impressive size. Her evocation of Katrinka was so successful that it became a permanent part of her identity.

Wilna’s movie work brought her something else that would long endure—a partner for life. While filming on location in the Philadelphia suburbs, Wilna Hervey met Nan Mason, the surprisingly tall daughter of her Toonerville co-star, Dan Mason. Wilna and Nan became close friends and ultimately life partners.

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Review: ‘Death, Disease, and Dissection: The Life of a Surgeon-Apothecary 1750 – 1850’, by Suzie Grogan

Published by: Pen and Sword

Publication Date: 30th October 2017

 

I.S.B.N.: 9781473823532

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

Blurb

Imagine performing surgery on a patient without anaesthetic, administering medicine that could kill or cure. Welcome to the world of the surgeon-apothecary…During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries significant changes occurred in medicine. New treatments were developed and medical training improved. Yet, with doctors’ fees out of the reach of ordinary people, most relied on the advice of their local apothecary, among them, the poet John Keats, who worked at Guys Hospital in London. These men were the general practitioners of their time, making up pills and potions for everything from toothache to childbirth. Death, Disease and Dissection examines the vital role these men played their training, the role they played within their communities, the treatments they offered, both quack and reputable against the shocking sights and sounds in hospitals and operating theatres of the time. Suzie Grogan transports readers through 100 years of medical history, exploring the impact of illness and death and bringing the experiences of the surgeon apothecary vividly to life.

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Review: ‘The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar’, by Rachel Tsoumbakos

Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum (Viking Secrets 1) by [Tsoumbakos, Rachel]Published by: Myrddin Publishing Group

Publication Date: 15th October 2017

Format: Kindle e-book

Price: £0.99

 

Blurb

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel? And just how long did their marriage last? Was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today? ‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to unravel all these secrets.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ is so much more than a history book though.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and other key historical figures that existed in the Viking era.Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel? And just how long did their marriage last? Was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today? ‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to unravel all these secrets.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ is so much more than a history book though.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

The ‘Viking Secrets’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and other key historical figures that existed in the Viking era.

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Review: ‘A Visitor’s Guide To Georgian England’, by Monica Hall

A Visitor's Guide to Georgian England

Published By: Pen & Sword History

Publication Date: 4th September 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473876859

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

Blurb

Could you successfully be a Georgian? Find yourself immersed in the pivotal world of Georgian England, exciting times to live in as everything was booming; the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the nascent Empire; inhabited by Mary Shelley, the Romantic Poets and their contemporaries. However, rather than just wondering about the famous or infamous, you will find everything you need to know in order to survive undetected among the ordinary people. What to wear, how to behave yourself in public, earn a living, and find somewhere to live. Very importantly, you will be given advice on how to stay on the right side of the law, and how to avoid getting seriously ill. Monica Hall creatively awakens this bygone era, filling the pages with all aspects of daily life within the period, calling upon diaries, illustrations, letters, poetry, prose, 18th century laws and archives. This detailed account intimately explores the ever changing lives of those who lived through Britain’s imperial prowess, the birth of modern capitalism, the reverence of the industrial revolution and the upheaval of great political reform and class division. A Visitor’s Guide to Georgian England will appeal to Romantic poetry lovers, social history fans, fiction and drama lovers, students and anyone with an interest in this revolutionary era.

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Review: ‘Fatal Evidence’, by Helen Barrell

aFatal Evidence

Published By: Pen & Sword History

Publication Date: 4th September 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473883413

Format: Hardback

Price: £15.99

Blurb

If there was a suspected poisoning in Victorian Britain, Professor Alfred Swaine Taylor was one of the toxicologists whose opinion would be sought. A surgeon and chemist at Guy’s Hospital in London, he used new techniques to search human remains for evidence that had previously been unseen. As well as finding telltale crystals of poison in test tubes, he could identify blood on clothing and weapons, and he used hair and fibre analysis to catch killers.

Taylor is perhaps best remembered as an expert witness at one of Victorian England’s most infamous trials – that of William Palmer, ‘The Rugeley Poisoner’. The case of the strychnine that wasn’t there haunted Taylor, setting up controversial rivalries with other scientists that would last decades. It overshadowed his involvement in hundreds of other intriguing cases, such as The Waterloo Bridge Mystery; The Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead; and the investigation into female impersonators, Boulton and Park. Crime struck even at the heart of Taylor’s own family, when his nephew’s death became the focus of The Eastbourne Manslaughter.

Taylor wrote many books and articles on forensic medicine; he became required reading for all nineteenth-century medical students. He gave Charles Dickens a tour of his laboratory, and Wilkie Collins owned copies of his books on poisons. Taylor’s work was known to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and he inspired the creation of fictional forensic detective Dr Thorndyke; for Dorothy L. Sayers, Taylor’s books were ‘the back doors to death’.

From crime scene to laboratory to courtroom – and sometimes to the gallows – this is the world of Alfred Swaine Taylor and his fatal evidence.

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Review: ‘Ribbons Among The Rajahs’, by Patrick Wheeler

Ribbons Among the Rajahs
Published By: Pen & Sword History 
Published: 12th June 2017
ISBN: 9781473893276

Blurb

From the mid-eighteenth century onward, British women started travelling in any numbers to the East Indies, mostly to accompany husbands, brothers or fathers. Very little about them is recorded from the earlier years, about the remarkable journeys that they made and what drove them to travel those huge distances. Some kept journals, others wrote letters, and for the first time Patrick Wheeler tells their story in this fascinating and colourful history, exploring the little-known lives of these women and their experiences of life in India before the Raj. With a perceptive approach, Ribbons Among the Rajahs considers all aspects of women’s lives in India, from the original discomfort of traversing the globe and the complexities of arrival through to creating a home in a tight-knit settlement community. It considers, too, the effects of the subservience of women to the needs of men and argues for the fusion of European and Indian cultures that existed before imperial times.

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Review: ‘Maladies and Medicine: Exploring health & healing 1540 – 1740’, by Jennifer Evans & Sara Read

Maladies and MedicinePublication Date: 4th July 2017

Published By: Pen & Sword 

ISBN: 9781473875715

Format: Paperback

Price: £12.99

 

Blurb

Maladies and Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humours and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualised. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who travelled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs.

The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards, and explanations of some of, the most common diseases and medical conditions in the period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, and cures ranged from herbal potions, cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood.

Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

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