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Shadows Of The Workhouse Hardcover – January 1, 2008


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Hardcover, January 1, 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297853260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297853268
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (676 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Well written and very enjoyable book.
TaWanda Sharon
Told with love, & affection for people just like us, who lived in filth we can not imagine now.
Cling Peaches
Jennifer tells this story with compassion and insight.
Glenda Ireland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Afternoon Attic Reader on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
In her first book, Jennifer Worth introduced us to the life of a midwife in London's East End in the 1950's, and in this second book, we take up the stories of some secondary characters from the first book (Jane, Frank & Peggy, and Sister Monica Joan) as well as the story of an old soldier by the name of Joseph Collett. This book contains much less of Worth's own experiences and more of the stories of others that she encountered while working as a midwife. Some of the stories within have more to do with the institutional workhouse than others, but most have some connection thereto. I enjoyed the layout of the stories, logically arranged into three parts and appreciated the author's reflective, non-judgmental voice throughout the telling never condemning a person for actions or choices that were clearly a product of the times and the situations people found themselves in. Wonderful read and an excellent continuation of the first book in this series!
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A. Penwell on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book and I can say I loved it! It was painfully hard to read in many parts, especially parts about brutality towards children. the story needs to be told though, even the hardest parts because we have to acknowledge what a painful time this was and how not to repeat these mistakes.
there are several different stories throughout. All interwoven. All painful and joyful.

if you like to see into peoples lives and hear their stories, this is the books for you. Amazing.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Whitney on February 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are thinking of picking up Shadows of the Workhouse because you've seen the BBC series and or read a Memoir of Birth Joy and Hard times, don't expect it to be the same. This book is clearly less a memoir than an extrapolation of stories she heard and gathered while working as a midwife. There are details she clearly could not know presented as fact and there is not much at all about being a midwife. I did enjoy the portion about Joe the ex-military gentleman with ulcers on his legs (presented in the BBC series), but overall it doesn't measure up to the original Call the Midwife book.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Heather Arthur on May 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book and very well written. I could not put it down!The workhouses of early last century and before, were terrible places.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carpe Librum on July 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
'Shadows of the Workhouse' is a brilliant memoir by Jennifer Worth that carries on her story of working as a nurse in the East End in the 1950s which began in her first installment, 'Call the Midwife.' Her descriptions of hardships endured by those who were forced to enter the workhouses near the turn of the century are heart-wrenching. Though she points out that in terms of social welfare they were well ahead of their time, that doesn't change anything for those people who suffered under the system. The first section especially focuses on people she encountered who grew up in the workhouse system. I found it curious that the second section centered on a woman who had never entered the workhouse, though she would have worked with people who were its victims. The third, and final, section tells the story of a man who entered the workhouse only in his old age after it was converted into a home for the elderly. Therefore, the title is somewhat misleading, but the stories are still amazing.

The story of Jane, Frank, and Peggy growing up in the workhouse together, and the long-term emotional effects that it had on them was full of emotional highs and lows. The reader cheers for their successes and cries for them when they are hurt. This story was the most relevant to the author's theme of the effects of the workhouse on those who were still alive two decades after they were officially closed. (Officially only because it would be impossible to just release thousands of poor people into the streets, so the workhouses carried on under other names with only slightly improved conditions for decades.) After this third of the book, I was ready to give it five stars.

The second portion of the book tells the story of Sister Monica Joan being on trial.
Read more ›
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The 3 Hares on May 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An illuminating visit into the world of post-war Britain. A great read for social historians or for simply anyone who is interested in how people manage to cope with extreme poverty.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Carol on May 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After avidly reading Call the midwife,I looked forward to reading Shadows of the workhouse,expecting it to be just as good as it's predecessor. However,this was not the case-although Jennifer's account of life in the workhouse was gripping and extremely sad,I felt almost like I was reading a book that focussed entirely on this-I was expecting to read more stories about the women in Jennifer's care and the midwives' daily activities,but alas,there was'nt a lot relating to this.I finished the book feeling a little bit let down,although I cannot say I did'nt like the book-I did,but it was'nt quite what I was expecting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful series. having watched the DVDS . I was eager to read the books. I loved this book and the way jennifer has detailed historical facts and laws to explain the way people lived in the East End in the era. Literary genius
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