Samuel Pepys and His WorldBook - 1972
From the critics
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"For the next five years [late 1670s] he was at the height of his career. He restored order to the formerly chaotic state of the [Royal] Navy. Establishments were laid down, governing grades and numbers of men; duties were defined, and pay, discipline and service conditions generally improved. Thirty vessels were built. And, with a seat in Parliament, he was able to explain and defend what was being done. ... No man so rich in friendships could have been [arrogant or pompous], and the character suggested in [his] Diary is not that of a man given to lengthy monologues but essentially that of a good listener." (p. 94)
"For years Pepys had been standing on his own feet - sometimes indeed more firmly in favour than 'my Lord' [his cousin and benefactor, Edward Mountagu, Earl of Sandwich] himself - but he never forgot the kinsman who had given him his chance. 'Chance without merit brought me in,' he had once confessed ... 'and diligence only keeps me so, and will, living as I do among so many lazy people that the diligent man becomes necessary, that they cannot do anything without him." (p. 92)
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Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) experienced the English Civil War, the Great Fire of London, the English-Dutch War, the Plague, and the transition of several kings during a period of strong religious tensions. Much of these events as well as more mundane details of City life and entertainments, and his personal life were set down in an extensive, shorthand Diary from 1660-1669. "He was a first class administrator [of the Royal Navy]; a founding member of the Royal Society, a bibliophile and amateur musician, and a connoisseur of pretty women." [end flap] This biography is very readable and thoroughly illustrated. There is a very brief bibliographical note; a chronology of highlights of Pepys' life; and an index.
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