Though for well over a century the novels of R.S. Surtees have maintained a steady readership, his books have been comparatively neglected in the literary and social studies of his period. Norman Gash's stimulating book is both a contribution to Surtees studies and to Victorian social history. It has often been observed that Surtees' fiction furnishes a wealth of material for social historians, and Professor Gash sets out to exploit the opportunities it offers. He places Surtees' novels in their historical context, and uses the novels and other writings to enlarge the historicalevidence. Through the views of an unorthodox and sceptical early Victorian novelist, Norman Gash examines a familiar landscape from an unfamiliar angle, illuminating the conservative world of the countryside, small provincial towns, and the seedier side of London. This is a scholarly and entertaining studyby an eminent historian of the nineteenth century.