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Publisher's Summary

The 19th century was a time of unprecedented change, and nowhere was this more apparent than London. In only a few decades, the capital grew from a compact Regency town into a sprawling metropolis of six-and-a-half million inhabitants, the largest city the world had ever seen. Technology - railways, street-lighting, and sewers - transformed both the city and the experience of city living, as London expanded in every direction.
Now, Judith Flanders, one of Britain's foremost social historians, explores the world portrayed so vividly in Dickens' novels, showing life on the streets of London in colorful, fascinating detail. From the moment Charles Dickens, the century's best-loved English novelist and London's greatest observer, arrived in the city in 1822, he obsessively walked its streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities, and cruelties.
Now, with him, Flanders leads us through the markets, transport systems, sewers, rivers, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses, and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London, to reveal the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor.
©2012 Judith Flanders (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"A superb portrait of an exciting, thriving, and dangerous city." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Count B on 02-04-18


I love the Victorian Era, I collect Strand Magazines from that era, and hence was straining at the leash to get started on this book, but soon I was let down. It is list upon list.

For instance, the railway stations that were built at the time. One gets list of railway stations, how big they were, how long they took to build, problems encountered with building them, the financial costs etc, and so it goes on. Then we have list of roads, list of the most common crimes, each chapter sprinkled with text from a Charles Dickens novel. What is missing is the people. It really was so disappointing that the author had not populated the book with Victorians and their lives, more just what was Victorian London. It makes the book very sterile.

Like that teacher at school who takes a great subject and just makes it weary to listen to. Every chapter is loaded with rather uninteresting data, each finds one not being emotional attached or feeling as though one is there. Such a shame.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Martin Schiller on 06-24-17


An excellent account of life in Dickens' 19th century London. A must have for writers.

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3 of 9 people found this review helpful

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