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The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life That Illuminates a Violent Age Paperback – February 28, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books UK (February 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840467274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840467277
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,368,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harry on May 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
A great insight into the horrors of child exploitation in 18th and 19th century England – a world where struggling parishes relieved the burden of caring for impoverished children by shipping them off as fodder for the satanic mills. In cases such as Robert Blincoe (the real Oliver Twist), the children and their parents were tricked into believing the children were being sent to a better life, a life where they would soon join the gentry. The truth soon became apparent – a short life of crippling labour, starvation rations and brutal treatment by sadistic and/or downtrodden overseers.

Robert Blincoe was an inspiration – he survived, albeit somewhat damaged, made the most of his life, created opportunities and became a rallying point for much needed reform. This book provides the underlying reality to the appalling lives glimpsed in Dicken’s Hard Times and Gaskell’s North and South – and fleshes out the world of Blake’s Satanic Mills.

A very readable and illuminating insight into that era of rampant capitalism and reformist zeal.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christian Orlic on September 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Waller's tells the story of Robert Blincoe. Blincoe was an orphan who was being cared for by a parish. As was common, parishes sought to loan children out for 'internships' and thus avoid the costs associated with taking care of them. It is remarkable that a biography was written about Blincoe because at the time this was written he was not famous, he was not a great man of history. Therefore this biography is special because it is about an ordinary, lower class orphan. Nevertheless, it turns out that Blincoe was no ordinary person, he was "one of life's battlers, and his refusal to accept ill-treatment, low wages and poor conditions, despite decades of shameless exploitation, had impelled him to claw his way out of the hand-to-mouth existence of England's industrial poor" (380). What makes this book special is that it goes beyond Brown's biography and explores what happened to Blincoe after the publication of the biography. Further it contextualizes the biography in Victorian England and it explores its importance and role in the subsequent debates about working conditions in mills. Although the book focuses on Blincoe it is not a biography as large sections explore the socio political context in which mills operated, how they operated (technologies and machines used). The book successfully explores the intellectual milieu in which these factories were at first defended and supported by politicians (those attachments to political economy shaped their views) and the changes which made reform possible. This is a gripping and moving story where the main character is able to succeed, despite having to surpass what appear to be insurmountable obstacles. because of his belief that he and others like him deserved better. The story also has clear villains those nastiness eventually results in their undoing.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Admiral Book on June 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Blincoe overcame quite a bit! It goes to show that anyone can overcome their childhood traumas and do not need to feed into them throughout their adult life. He is a real inspiration!!!
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