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The Victorian City: Everyday Life in…
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The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London (2012)

by Judith Flanders

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351847,344 (3.97)17
  1. 10
    The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton by Kathryn Hughes (MarthaJeanne)
    MarthaJeanne: Both books describe Britain and London in the same period, but the emphasis is very different. Which you prefer will probably depend on whether you'd rather curl up with a book by Charles Dickens or Mrs. Beeton.
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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This is a fascinating overview of what life was like in London during Dicken's lifetime/writing period. The author has done extensive research and refers to Dicken's work as a tie-in. I have not read most of Dicken's writing, yet had no problem appreciating this book. The information focuses on the working and working poor so we see how hard it was just to make enough money to stay fed and sheltered. The lives of the street workers (food vendors etc) were horrific, and yet they were not the worst off...

The author divides book into sections and then chapters. The Sections are labelled THE CITY WAKES, STAYING ALIVE, ENJOYING LIFE, and SLEEPING AND AWAKE. The information is detailed but never dull! It really made me appreciate the little things like indoor plumbing and an oven, not to mention a bed! There is humour here as well (believe it or not!). There are some reproduced historical illustrations and maps, my copy was an ARC and the quality of the illustrations was quite poor, and I really wish there had been more of them. The maps really helped, and it was fun reading about parts of London that I know are now so expensive, which were huge slums in Dicken's time!

I read this book in small increments, 2-3 chapters a day, after that I found the facts all started to blur together, but that may just be my tolerance level for this type of reading material!

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for the early copy of this book! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Read for #NonfictionNovember2017

Another great book by Judith Flanders. While still focused on Victorian history this one focuses on London as a whole. In this book she writes more about the lower classes, only touching on the upper classes when discussing the poor laws and the various relief projects of the time. She uses Dickens' works as an example of the various things the lower classes have to go through in their lives, the workhouse, debtor's prison, menial and extremely dangerous jobs as well as child labor and the beginning of required schooling. I enjoyed listening to this book, and learned more than I thought I would since I have read quite a bit on this era in history. ( )
  Diana_Long_Thomas | Nov 12, 2017 |
THE VICTORIAN CITY is a meticulously researched and very detailed book about London life during the time Charles Dickens walked its streets. The focus is mainly on the mechanics of daily life, and it gives an in depth look at everything, from how the streets were paved to the little amount of water each family had to take care of all their needs. This book puts you there, surrounded by the constant movement and bothersome noise.

The author blends in snippets from Dickens’ work to show where his inspirations came from. In truth I haven’t read much Dickens, maybe just A Christmas Carol years ago, but I love historical fiction set in the Victorian times, so I was interested in learning more. The book could be a bit dry at times, but also eye-opening. Made me appreciate living in modern times even more.

Audiobook • 16 hrs, 5 mins • Corrie James, Narrator

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Corrie James, and I thought that she was a good fit for this book. Even though this is nonfiction, she was able to add inflection and flair in the reading, especially with the voices of the different Londoners.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  bookofsecrets | May 29, 2017 |
This book starts off very strong--with chapters on jobs, and transportation, and pavement, and even the sewer system. I enjoyed the chapters looking at how regular people lived their livesóîwhether they were the poor selling on the streets all day, or whether they were men who worked in the construction trades and transport that the quickly growing London depended on. Flanders weaves in examples from Dickens' own life, from his novels, and from diarists and other authors of the time. She also uses statistics when they are available--and compares sources of different numbers.

The chapters that focused more on the wealthy/upper classes, men's clubs, and public mourning I found much less interesting. I don't think they are less well done, I think those topics simply don't interest me as much, personally.

I truly TRULY wish the notes were done differently. They are all tucked in as endnotes and arranged by chapter, but they are not numbered or noted within the text in any way. So there is no way to know when you have passed on.

( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
An excellent book of readable history. Although the book's title connotes Victorian London, it is more Dicken's London, and in terms of politics it is Ayn Rand's London. Dicken's novels chronicled the dark side of the industrial revolution in London and this book tracks it. We are reminded of what raw , unregulated capitalism looks like: unspeakable air and water pollution caused by unregulated industry; the inability to solve health and safety issues caused by pollution because of fractionated local control, no overiding federal authority, and political dominance of politicians who made money from polluting industries and ownership of slum tenanments. I was reminded of the teabaggers and far right who blamed the plight of the poor on the poor. They "chose" to live in filth and misery. Child labor, sweatshops, and debtors' prison brought to mind Rand Paul, while the blaming of cholera on "miasma" , notwithstanding the fact that there was science that linked it to bad water, reminded me of the climate change deniers. Every teabagger should be required to read this, if they can read, and if they can understand this. ( )
  nemoman | Aug 10, 2014 |
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"The nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented transformation, and nowhere was this more apparent than on the streets of London. In only a few decades, London grew from a Regency town to the biggest city the world had ever seen, with more than 6.5 million people and railways, street-lighting and new buildings at every turn. " -- BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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