Reviews


“A lively, imaginative, and impeccably researched tour around the Regency world, this book is thought-provoking and full of surprises.” —Historia: Magazine of the Historical Writers’ Association, August 2020


“In his kaleidoscopic look at British life from 1811 to 1820, Robert Morrison presents the movers and shakers of the Regency as heralds of modernity….Echoing historian Simon Schama’s approach to the Dutch Golden Age, Morrison surveys the extravagant decade when the Prince of Wales ruled Britain as Regent. In addition to taking in the era’s artistic achievements, Morrison reveals the clashes—the guilt and greed, jealousy and fear—that new wealth and a new consumer class created….All told, this entertaining and fast-paced history defies the myth that Austen published from a quiet, doily-clad universe.” —Janine Barchas, JASNA News, Spring 2020


“Morrison…covers a lot of ground in a succinct and extremely readable fashion. He also discusses topics of which even students of the period might not be aware….The Regency Years should ignite new interest in an era replete with drama, innovation and, yes, the seeds of much that would catapult not only Britain, but the world, into modernity.” —Rosemary Michaud, The Post and Courier, February 2020


“Morrison’s breadth of reading is impressive, covering crime and punishment, theatre, sex, war and empire as well as the shifting landscape of the Industrial Revolution….Morrison is best when he provides depth and concentrates on a particular person or event, as in his description of the only assassination of a British prime minister.” —Julie Peakman, History Today, January 2020


“‘I awoke one morning and found myself famous,’ Lord Byron, a Regency poet, once said. The period itself has suffered from the opposite problem—eclipsed by the more solemn and substantial Georgian and Victorian ones that preceded and followed it. Arguing that Britain truly started to become modern in the Regency era, this delightful book explains why it deserves to be better known.” —“Books of the Year”, The Economist, December 2019


“Even the best-informed of Morrison’s readers are likely to learn a good deal….What he offers…is a history of the period as spectacle, a spectacle arranged in five chapters as sharply drawn and brightly colored as the plates with which the Cruikshank brothers embellished Life in London (indeed, a chief attraction of the book, as of the novel, are the illustrations, almost fifty of them and all of them well-chosen). The Regency Years has all the high spirits, the verve, and the narrative pace that Morrison celebrates in its most characteristic cultural productions. It offers a bracing, informative, and always entertaining introduction to the period.” —Richard Cronin, The Wordsworth Circle, Autumn 2019


The Regency Revolution is an absorbing and powerful history of this period….From urban planning to landscape painting, the scope of The Regency Revolution is vast and illustrative of the unique contributions and lasting impact of this era. Robert Morrison has incorporated a wealth of attention-grabbing details (Austen’s mother took opium for travel sickness) and contemporary sources. The words of Lord Byron, Sir Robert Peel, and many others fill the pages. However, this is also an unflinching account of the terrible impact of deprivation, exploitation, and suffering.” —Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, August 2019


“A huge canvas is covered with great brio. There’s no doubt that the Regency was a lively time, and in many ways Morrison catches it with spirited energy and pithy narrative.” —Book of the Week, Times Higher Education Supplement, August 2019


“Zippy and vivid portrait of the Regency era.” —Henry Hitchings, Book of the Week, The Sunday Times (London), June 2019


“A thoroughly entertaining…popular history that will please fans of British history and literature.” —Kelly Blewett, Cincinnati Public Radio, May 2019


“Elegant, entertaining, and frequently surprising.” —Miranda Seymour, New York Times Book Review, May 2019


“Morrison showcases that relatively brief period—less than a decade—as an age of ‘remarkable diversity, upheaval, and elegance’. . . . Given such plenty, what more could one ask from a work of cultural history?” —Michael Dirda, Washington Post, May 2019


“Superb…The Regency period lasted for less than a decade but, as Mr Morrison argues, ‘its many legacies are still all around us.’ It was also, as this book amply proves, marvellously entertaining.” —The Economist, May 2019


The Regency Years reads like a romance novel of its period without the novel but makes an entertaining nonfiction read with superior prose and dialogue.” —Robert Davis, New York Journal of Books, April 2019


“Morrison’s well annotated and engagingly anecdotal book is a worthy romp through one of the most licentious, libertarian and obviously paradoxical decades in British history.” —Eve Zibart, BookPage, April 2019


“This engaging history transports readers to England during the years 1811-1820.” —Tom Beer, Newsday, April 2019


“The Prince Regent…ruled over a period of extraordinary creativity and it is that progressive cultural legacy that Mr. Morrison commends to contemporary Britain and the rest of the world.” —Ruth Scurr, The Wall Street Journal, April 2019


“In this ambitious survey…Morrison…highlights the patterns linking the Regency period with our own time….Morrison gathers a broad range of topics into a strong, cohesive, and fast-moving narrative. An excellent introduction for readers new to the period and a fresh take for Regency enthusiasts.” —Sara Jorgensen, Booklist Reviews, March 2019


“In this delightful history, literary scholar Morrison argues that England’s Regency period (1811-1820) was ‘perhaps the most extraordinary decade in all of British history’, and ‘marked the appearance of the modern world’….Morrison’s lively and engaging study not only illuminates these many and rapid changes, but convincingly argues that ‘its many legacies are still all around us.’” —Publishers Weekly [starred review], February 2019


“A lively new chronicle brings crisp focus to a significant decade in British history and culture….Morrison expertly encapsulates the brief, radical trends and movements of this era of ‘intense sociability.’” —Kirkus Reviews, February 2019