This book considers in detail, and using attractive language, the worst professions witnessed in Britain over its long history. The author, Tony Robinson, attempted to unveil the extreme misery of population growth, forgotten or ignored by history and its writings, instead focusing on the actions of kings, queens and knights. He did so by shining a light on some of the professions which people worked, whether joyfully or scornfully.
Despite Robinson's admission that his choices were entirely personal, he worked hard to be objective in identifying and discussing the worst professions of each age of history, beginning with Roman times and finishing with the Victorian era. As such, the book is a historical record of social, economic, and political life, and through it we can obtain a glimpse of specific historical periods in which a given profession arose. Examples include bleaching, which appeared in the Middle Ages, the invention of the loom, which was developed during the Victorian era, or the occurrence of significant events such as the plague, which spread in England during the Stuart period.