Beginning with an overview of the age of Dickens, Professor Jeremy Black guides the reader through the biography and writings of the great man to show how his work not only expressed his experience of Victorian England, but also defined it, for his contemporaries and for generations to come. In some ways for us, Victorian England simply is Dickens’ England. Professor Black considers London as the centre of all but also examines Dickens’ effect on concepts of gender and social structure. Then there is government – from the Circumlocution Office to Britain as the supreme imperial power. There is also a valuable account of Dickens’ relationship with America. Dickens describes a culture – popular, middle and élite - and at the same time creates one. It takes a historian of Professor Black’s standing to differentiate between the two and show how they inter-react.