Integrating in detail the experiences of both Britain and Ireland, 1820 provides a compelling narrative and analysis of the United Kingdom in a year of European revolution. It charts the events and forces that tested the government almost to its limits, and the processes and mechanisms through which order was maintained. This book will be required reading for everyone interested in late-Georgian and early nineteenth-century Britain or Ireland. 1820 is about much more than a single year. Locating the Queen Caroline divorce crisis within a broader analysis of the challenges confronting the government, it places that much-investigated episode in a new light. It illuminates both the pivotal Tory Ministry under Lord Liverpool and the Whigs (by turns febrile and feeble) who opposed it. It is also a major contribution to our understanding of popular radicalism and its political containment.
Malcolm Chase is Professor of Social History at the University of Leeds