Pepys left us a fascinating and insightful account of life in Restoration London. Ms Tomalin's biography is a welcome modern examination of the man himself.
Ken Lucid was supposed to review this book when the paperback was published in 2003. He's just found his notes…
Oh come on! This bloke's famous for writing a diary.
Hello-o! What the bloody hell do you need a biography of a guy who wrote a bleeding diary for?
I've been asked to review some crazy books in my time (old Eric Hobsbawm always gives me a laugh. Daft old commie bugger!). But I have never had to look at a book about a diary guy.
This was Whitbread Book of the Year! What the Hell do bloody ex-brewers know about history?
Let me give you a little history lesson about Big Beer - brewers like Whitbread used to be…
They went around buying up all the local breweries (I had family worked at Brickwood's in Portsmouth, so I know) and shut them all down.
Then, when they got all big and unweildy, they got broken up and taken over themselves (like Bass) by huge multi-national monsters or got out of the business altogether (Whitbreads).
What does that tell you?
And they reckon to judge history books! Tossers!
Ken Lucid is Professor of Modern History at the University of Thames Valley East.