Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

August Books 6) The Plot Against Pepys, by James Long and Ben Long

An excellent narrative of the chain of events by which Samuel Pepys was imprisoned in the Tower of London as part of the Popish Plot hysteria of 1679 - a truly horrible moment of witch-hunting against Catholics and suspected allies of the Duke of York, the heir to the throne, who had been exiled from England because of his religion. Faced by false accusers who had powerful political allies, Pepys' life was clearly in danger; but he cooly assembled evidence in his own defence and was able to hang on until the political wind changed in his favour. A very nice micro-study of how a well-known set of political events affected a well-known figure of the time. Particularly nice to have detail on Pepys' main accuser, an adventurer who had got enmeshed in the politics of Connecticut, Long Island, and New Amsterdam (which had recently been captured by the British and renamed after the Duke of York).

I watched the 2003 TV play, The Private Life of Samuel Pepys, starring Steve Coogan in the title role last week, but it really didn't work for me - Coogan is too tall (Pepys was only 5'1", 155 cm) and the part was written too awkwardly and naively - the real Pepys was always outwardly confident, especially with women. This book, published 5 years later, is much better.
Tags: bookblog 2011, writer: samuel pepys

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