Okay, so let me start with an example: A Christmas Carol. Does that book capture the setting and lifestyle simply because it was based in the time it was written? If Charles Dickens had lived in the twenty-first century, and had written the famous book, would it have been as successful? I mean, if you think about it, some of the best books based in the Victorian era were written during that time. The same goes for other famous literary works. But if you notice, there aren't very many successful books that are based in one era and written during another. At least, none that I can think of off hand though I'm sure there are some out there. So does that mean it would basically be a waste to write a book set in the past?
I can understand why people like Charles Dickens were so successful in creating a mental image of the world their characters lived in, because they lived during that time as well (or at least very close to that time). But people nowadays have only research to guide them. They never had that experience of living during the age of beggars and revolutions. And, as I'm sure most of you know this, the things we read online and in books is never 100% accurate. The world can often exaggerate a little, or hide the facts to protect us. So does that make it a good reason to stick to your own era and leave the past alone?