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The People of the Abyss: The Underworld in the East End of Victorian London, 1902

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Overview

The experiences related in this volume fell to me in the summer of 1902. I went down into the under-world of London with an attitude of mind which I may best liken to that of the explorer. I was open to be convinced by the evidence of my eyes, rather than by the teachings of those who had not seen, or by the words of those who had seen and gone before. Further, I took with me certain simple criteria with which to measure the life of the under-world. That which made for more life, for physical and spiritual ...

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2008 Paperback Good 075 Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access ... codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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The People of the Abyss

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Overview

The experiences related in this volume fell to me in the summer of 1902. I went down into the under-world of London with an attitude of mind which I may best liken to that of the explorer. I was open to be convinced by the evidence of my eyes, rather than by the teachings of those who had not seen, or by the words of those who had seen and gone before. Further, I took with me certain simple criteria with which to measure the life of the under-world. That which made for more life, for physical and spiritual health, was good; that which made for less life, which hurt, and dwarfed, and distorted life, was bad.

It will be readily apparent to the reader that I saw much that was bad. Yet it must not be forgotten that the time of which I write was considered "good times" in England. The starvation and lack of shelter I encountered constituted a chronic condition of misery which is never wiped out, even in the periods of greatest prosperity.

Following the summer in question came a hard winter. Great numbers of the unemployed formed into processions, as many as a dozen at a time, and daily marched through the streets of London crying for bread. Mr. Justin McCarthy, writing in the month of January 1903, to the New York Independent, briefly epitomises the situation as follows:-

"The workhouses have no space left in which to pack the starving crowds who are craving every day and night at their doors for food and shelter. All the charitable institutions have exhausted their means in trying to raise supplies of food for the famishing residents of the garrets and cellars of London lanes and alleys. The quarters of the Salvation Army in various parts of London are nightly besieged byhosts of the unemployed and the hungry for whom neither shelter nor the means of sustenance can be provided."

It has been urged that the criticism I have passed on things as they are in England is too pessimistic. I must say, in extenuation, that of optimists I am the most optimistic. But I measure manhood less by political aggregations than by individuals. Society grows, while political machines rack to pieces and become "scrap." For the English, so far as manhood and womanhood and health and happiness go, I see a broad and smiling future. But for a great deal of the political machinery, which at present mismanages for them, I see nothing else than the scrap heap.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847780645
  • Publisher: Meadow Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 108
  • Product dimensions: 0.26 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Dr sax

    Great read. This man was a literary innovator.compelling story of a haunted adolescent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    Perspective

    Like mom used to say
    To know how the other half lives helps one appreciate what we do have

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Interesting

    It is a slow read. The story of the poor in London. You must be interested in history, older history and how people were affected. It is much like the poor today, once there they stay there. But today it is a way to get something for nothing and then there was no way out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Amazing

    Amazing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

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    Posted November 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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