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We know the thrilling, terrible stories of the battles of the Napoleonic wars – but what of those left behind? The people on a Norfolk farm, in a Yorkshire mill, a Welsh iron foundry, an Irish village, a London bank or a Scottish mountain? The aristocrats and paupers, old and young, butchers and bakers and candlestick makers – how did the war touch their lives?
Every part of Britain felt the long twenty years of war against the French: one in five families had people in the services and over 300,000 men died. As the years passed, so the bullish, flamboyant figure of Napoleon – Boney, the bogeyman – came to dominate so much that the whole long conflict was given his name.
Jenny Uglow, the prize-winning author of The Lunar Men and Nature’s Engraver, follows the gripping back-and-forth of the first global war, but turns the news upside down, seeing how it reached the people. Illustrated by the satires of Gillray, Rowlandson and the paintings of Turner and Constable, and combining the familiar voices of Jane Austen, Wordsworth, Scott and Byron with others lost in the crowd, In These Times delves into the archives to tell the moving story of how people lived and loved and sang and wrote, struggling through hard times and opening new horizons that would change their country for a century ahead.
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