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Capt Gronow and Sir Harry Smith Write their Memoirs

Captain Gronow:
His Reminiscences of Regency and Victorian Life, 1810-60
By Christopher Hibbit

 

This is a very difficult book to review as I liked it a lot, but I still have a number of reservations about it – mostly about its editing.

First, let me tell you about Captain Gronow – he was one of life’s observers, and might have slipped through history with only the vaguest of mentions in a few diaries had he not needed to resort to his pen in the 1860’s in order to support himself. He wrote four books which were stacked to the gunnels with anecodotes, slanderous stories and all sorts of gossipy snippets. These were snapped up by his Victorian audience who were keen to read about the sinful vagaries of that bygone era, the Regency.

Christopher Hibbert has done a pretty good job in collecting together some of the better stories and putting them into this one volume. He has also created some sense to the mass of stories by organising them into chapters. These chapters include subject headings like “The Prince Regent, His Family and Friends” and “Rakes, Dandies and Men about Town”. So it makes it an easy volume to browse for those of you reading this for fun.

There are a few things with this book that I do find difficult. The

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