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Department of History
University of Mississippi

London: A Social and Cultural History 1550-1750

By Robert O. Bucholz and Joseph P. Ward

Between 1550 and 1750 London became the greatest city in Europe and one of the most vibrant economic and cultural centres in the world. This book is a history of London during this crucial period of its rise to world-wide prominence, during which it dominated the economic, political, social and cultural life of the British Isles, as never before nor since. London incorporates the best recent work in urban history, contemporary accounts from Londoners and tourists, and fictional works featuring the city in order to trace London’s rise and explore its role as a harbinger of modernity, while examining how its citizens coped with those achievements. London covers the full range of life in London, from the splendid galleries of Whitehall to the damp and sooty alleyways of the East End. Readers will brave the dangers of plague and fire, witness the spectacles of the Lord Mayor’s Pageant and the hangings at Tyburn, and take refreshment in the city’s pleasure-gardens, coffee-houses and taverns.



“As an account of how and why London is London, however, this is the best book to come along in a generation.” -British Heritage Magazine

“Bucholz and Ward explore the rise of Europe’s preeminent entrepôt and metropolis in this engaging account of London and its people. Their superlative integration of the worlds of high culture and popular experience will enrich the study of English literature, society, and politics from the Reformation through the Enlightenment.” – Gary De Krey, Professor of British and European History, St. Olaf College

“There is a big story here – how, between 1550 and 1750, London became a great world capital – but there are also a thousand small and even more wonderful stories about the men and women who walked the city’s streets. Their experiences, their hopes, and their disappointments come vividly to life in this compulsively readable account.” – Lena Cowen Orlin, author of Locating Privacy in Tudor London

“This book is a must for anyone interested in London. It covers the period when London rose from being a quite important Northern European trading center to become the greatest international port in the world at the hub of not just the emerging British Empire but European and North American trade. The internationally connected city, at the center of trade, determined the character of the city it has become today, including the weight of its international finance and trade sectors, its globally diverse population and the worldwide influences on its heritage and contemporary culture.” – Ken Livingstone, first mayor of London

“A compass to navigate in the dark, an A to Z of London’s past, from beggars to kings, from Shakespeare to Dr. Johnson; Bucholz and Ward have created a compelling picture of the Great Wen in all its premodern glory.” – Tim Hitchcock, Professor of Eighteenth-Century History, University of Hertfordshire, Co-Director of Old Bailey Online