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Publisher's Summary

Were things really better in the good old days? The 19th century was a time when there were not only massive gulfs being created between the upper, middle, and working classes, but there was also a growing awareness of the existence of an even more impoverished underclass: a terrifying demi-monde of criminals, tarts, and no-hope low lifes. Gilda O'Neill's powerful exploration of the teeming underbelly that was to be found in the fog-bound streets, rat-infested slums, common lodging houses, boozers, penny gaffs, and brothels in the heart of the greatest empire that the world has ever seen brings to life the real working-class London of Victoria's reign.
©2006 Gilda O'Neill (P)2007 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"O'Neill is great company, with a fund of anecdotes and a keen eye for a killing epigram." ( New Statesman)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By K on 05-05-14

Narrator is excellent

Michael Tudor-Barnes is a fantastic narrator. I found myself laughing out loud at the way he was reading this book. It's an excellent insight into the dark side of victorian britain and the narrator made it very easy to listen to.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 09-20-12

This is why people should be interested in history

You will often hear right-wing politicians say things are getting worse and the 'good old days' were something we should return to. This book was written as a repost to that - to point out that the good old days were every bit as 'bad' as our own time, and in so many ways a great deal worse. It is a catalogue of the various crimes committed in Victorian Britain, ranging from pick-pockets to attempted regicide, and occasionally seems to read like a rather sensationalist telling of a juicy story as you might find in a newspaper of this or any other age. On the whole however it contains a lot of insight into the way society worked and behaved during the 19th century, so while the point - that things were a lot worse for many Victorians - is made beyond the point of overkill, as a more general commentary on Victorian society this is an interesting book.

It is well read, although at the end things get a bit strange when the reader starts talking about his time as a young girl in London (when you first realise the author is actually a woman). Surely someone should be choosing female readers for female authors? The tiniest of observations though, because as a whole I thought this book was very laudable and well worth a listen.

As I said in the title, anyone who thinks Victorian Britain was a golden age of decency, good behaviour and high moral values clearly does not know their history, and would do well to listen to this book (amongst others). If ever there was a reason to study history in order to really understand ourselves today then this book is a pretty good example.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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