Plague, War and Hellfire
By Rebecca Rideal
In sixteen hundred and sixty-six . . .
1666 was a watershed year for England. The outbreak of the Great Plague, the eruption of the second Dutch War and the Great Fire of London all struck the country in rapid succession and with devastating repercussions.
Shedding light on these dramatic events, historian Rebecca Rideal reveals an unprecedented period of terror and triumph. Based on original archival research and drawing on little-known sources, 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire takes readers on a thrilling journey through a crucial turning point in English history, as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary cast of historical characters.
While the central events of this significant year were ones of devastation and defeat, 1666 also offers a glimpse of the incredible scientific and artistic progress being made at that time, from Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity to Robert Hooke's microscopic wonders. It was in this year that John Milton completed Paradise Lost, Frances Stewart posed for the now-iconic image of Britannia, and a young architect named Christopher Wren proposed a plan for a new London - a stone phoenix to rise from the charred ashes of the old city.
With flair and style, 1666 shows a city and a country on the cusp of modernity, and a series of events that forever altered the course of history.
Rebecca Rideal is a factual television producer and writer. She runs the online history magazine, The History Vault, and is currently studying for a PhD on Restoration London during the Great Plague and the Great Fire at University College London.
- Other details
- Publication date:
23 Feb 2017
- Page count:
An impressively vivid account of an extraordinary piece of England's history. Rideal is particularly good on the great set pieces - the plague, the fire and (especially) the naval battles - which she brings to dramatic life with telling details — The Times
A book firmly anchored in the grain of contemporary accounts, sparking with the crackle of first-hand reports — Guardian
Sympathetic and sharp-eyed ... an enjoyable book about an exciting period of history — Daily Telegraph
Rideal's London pulses with humanity . . . It is Rideal's vivid and confident style, teamed with meticulous research and a curiosity for the quotidian that makes 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire a memorable, gripping and very satisfying read — Historia
Accessible and entertaining . . . a keen eye for engaging anecdote and historical personality — The Spectator
1666 is described brilliantly . . . a rollicking new book — Evening Standard
Bound to reveal secrets you won't have heard before — History Revealed
Gripping and beautifully written . . . extraordinarily vivid — BBC History Magazine
It's just extraordinary, just taking a single moment, albeit a very significant one in history and weaving in the political, the social the military history. But she writes like a novelist and has clearly done her research, it's a very scholarly book. I literally couldn't put it down — Tracy Borman, Open Book