all know what shocks or disgusts people in our own time and
location, but this enjoyable book takes a look at what people
found unpalatable during 1550-1650. Delve in for a good look
at a time when it wasn’t considered a good idea to call
a man a fool when people believed in curses and thought that
quoting Shakespeare was very low class.
History isn’t all battles and dates; Ms. Goodman is
adept at making it entertaining and relevant. Although this
book is a lot of fun it is also a look at social history and
what people found wrong is a good indicator of what they thought
right and acceptable. In the introduction the author says
why she chose the time; one of great change and upheaval.
To give a good example at the beginning of the period puritans
were outside society and by the end, they were running it!
Individual chapters take a look at topics such as offensive
speech, violence, bad habits, rude gestures and the human
body. Many of our own taboos were around then but many more
have been consigned to the dustbin of history along with the
social customs that accompanied them. Differing attitudes
to women, religion, foreigners, dress, and politics all contributed
to people finding things shocking, comical or the mark of
the socially inferior. You don’t need to be very knowledgeable
about this time to get a lot out of this book either. Ms.
Goodman explains the context of all the topics she addresses
and she writes in an easy-to-read, lively style that brings
the topic to life. If you want to know what it was like to
live during this period in the UK and how to follow society’s
rules (or break them) you can find it all in here. A lot of
fun, and like all the best history books shows that people
in the past were as real as people today