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London Labour and the London Poor Volume II Paperback – January, 1969

ISBN-13: 978-0486219356 ISBN-10: 0486219356

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Paperback, January, 1969
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486219356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486219356
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,229,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Henry Mayhew (1812–1887) was a journalist, social investigator, novelist, and author— his work distinguished by vivid reportage, unsentimental sympathy, humor, and an eye for detail.

Victor Neuburg is a former senior lecturer at the School of Librarianship, University of North London. His publications include Popular Literature and A Guide to the Western Front. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Lukoff VINE VOICE on July 9, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Henry Mayhew, founder of Punch magazine, wrote this four-volume sociological classic during the 1850's. If you are at all interested in the Victorian era, in British history, in London, or in urban history in general, this is a must-read. The Penguin version is abridged and is a distillation of the "best" of the multiple-volume set. This distillation is itself over 500 pages, so imagine the impact of the entire set! The utter destitution of the London poor is set out in such vivid detail than one cannot help being shocked at the conditions human beings were forced to live in in the greatest city of its time. The only fault I find with this book is Mayhew's occasional lapses into preaching. Otherwise a fine book
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This review refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Henry Mayhew's 'London Labour and the London Poor' which is an abridged version of the original four volume version published in 1851-52.

Though Henry Mayhew wrote several novels, his name is primarily remembered as the author/complier of this journalistic work 'London Labour and the London Poor.' The present selection gives the best part of the original four volume book, which captures exactly what the title says -- London labour and the poverty-stricken people living there.

The selction includes some figures or statistics about the working class people, such as the estimated amount of money these workers gain every day (and meagre one), but the most interesting part is the first-hand records about the ways of life of various lines of works in London, directly taken from the people engaged in these works.

The jobs (and some of them hardly deserve the name 'jobs') recorded here are, to name a few, street-sellers such as fried fish, watercresses, matches, baked potatoes, etc.; street-buyers such as old clothes or 'dust'; street-performers like 'conjurors,' musicians, or fire-eaters (with his own descriptions about how to eat fire), but the most fascinating is the records about boys (and some girls) who run away from parents, and lives in the street of London, who literally lives by begging or stealing.

Many interesting facts are recorded by Mayhew (or his assistants), directly from the persons the book deals with, and the original words spoken by there labourers are preserved as much as possible.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Henry Mayhew, having created this delightful encyclopoedia of humanity, has probably been ripped off more frequently than any writer since Shakespeare. His characters are so animated they have jumped full-fleshed from the pages of his books into the works of many another humorist or novelist, and we all owe more to him than we can know.
While the living conditions suffered by the poor were truly deplorable, Mayhew might have enjoyed the company of street people more than that of his peers. He put so much life into his characters we can see them, hear them, smell them. I only wonder what the street people thought about Mr. Mayhew, the journalist who bought them beers,inveigled invitations to tea, listened tirelessly to their stories. Mayhew is neither sentimental nor brutal, but rather a true and tolerant humourist, and I believe that, for all the misery depicted, his work was undertaken with great, and contagious, joy.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Gregory M. Wasson on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review does not refer to the contents or substance of this abridgment of Henry Mayhew's classic study of the living conditions of the working classes in 19th Century London. This review refers entirely to the design and format of this new Bibliolife edition. Buyer beware - unless your eyesight is substantially better than 20/20, the book is literally unreadable. Although it claims to be an "enlarged print" reproduction of the original first edition typeface, it is simply a large, and expensive, paperback with font so small it is difficult to imagine that the font used in the original publication could possibly have been any smaller.

Knowing that other available copies were published by Penguin, which uses what I find to be an uncomfortably small font, I compared the size and weight of the Bibliolife edition to the Penguin version. The Bibliolife measured substantially larger in page size and was twice the weight. When I received the book, however, it turned out that approximately 40% of each page was blank bordering. To make matters worse, the page copy looked like it was badly mimeographed at Kinko's. The print was light and at times portions of letters were simply missing. The contrast between type and paper was also poor. All in all, any reader would find the average Penguin paperback a paragon of readability, and considerably less expensive.

To add insult to injury, Bibliolife, in a preface introducing its edition, claims to have undertaken an "important mission" in the "difficult task of re-creating" this work as an "attractive, readable, and affordable" book, and calls it's edition an "enlarged print" version. The publisher goes on to note, however, that "because of font variation" in the original book, it may not "technically qualify as 'large print'." Indeed.
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