The People of the Abyss

Overview

In the summer of 1902, respected American author Jack London (1876–1916), previously known for his descriptions of life during the Klondike Gold Rush, spent two months living 'down by the docks' in London's East End among the city's poorest residents. During this time he often slept in workhouses or on the streets, seeing first-hand how the impoverished struggled daily for adequate food, clothing and shelter while the rest of the city lived in relative prosperity - a prosperity which the author believed was ...
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The People of the Abyss (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

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Overview

In the summer of 1902, respected American author Jack London (1876–1916), previously known for his descriptions of life during the Klondike Gold Rush, spent two months living 'down by the docks' in London's East End among the city's poorest residents. During this time he often slept in workhouses or on the streets, seeing first-hand how the impoverished struggled daily for adequate food, clothing and shelter while the rest of the city lived in relative prosperity - a prosperity which the author believed was gained at the expense of the poor. One of the earliest eyewitness descriptions of life in the slums of London, this book would influence later socially minded authors such as George Orwell. The text is also illustrated with photographs of the places and people mentioned, offering an important insight into the living conditions of the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.
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Editorial Reviews

James Williams
It is written with the smoldering anger of turn-of-the-century revolutionary socialism. There are no gray shadings in London's economic world. There is only the evil of capitalism and the saintly suffering of the poor. The rich had had their stories told in mass periodicals, and London felt it was time to let the ignored speak. He thus wrote the biographies of the people who have been exploited by imperialism and capitalism. This is the book that counters the Horatio Alger story. For every Alger, for every Rockefeller, there is a mass of sufferers whose plight enabled the speedy rise to wealth of a few. In its sociological and journalistic documentation of poverty is a call for direct action. Wealth blinds, and London makes us see. With this reprinting of London's incredibly important and readable book, Pluto Press and London remind us of how economic exploitation must always be fought, that we must always be educated in the lives of the unfortunate.
Jack London
No other book of mine took so much of my young heart and tears as that study of the economic degradation of the poor.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Novelist Jack London (1876–1916) is best remembered for The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and his numerous other tales of travel and adventure. Alexander Masters is an author, screenplay writer, and worker with the homeless. He is the writer and illustrator of the award-winning Stuart: A Life Backwards.

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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. The descent; 2. Johnny Upright; 3. My lodging and some others; 4. A man and the abyss; 5. Those on the edge; 6. Frying-Pan Alley and a glimpse of the inferno; 7. A winner of the Victoria Cross; 8. The carter and the carpenter; 9. The spike; 10. Carrying the banner; 11. The peg; 12. Coronation day; 13. Dan Cullen, docker; 14. Hops and hoppers; 15. The sea wife; 16. Property v. person; 17. Inefficiency; 18. Wages; 19. The ghetto; 20. Coffee-houses and doss-houses; 21. The precariousness of life; 22. Suicide; 23. The children; 24. A vision of the night; 25. The hunger wail; 26. Drink, temperance and thrift; 27. The management.
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