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Dark Heart: The Shocking Truth About Hidden Britain Hardcover – 6 Nov 1997

31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (6 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701163518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701163518
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 2.8 x 16.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This book should be required will shock many to the quick, that all this could be happening under their noses" (Jack Straw Guardian)

"He describes what he sees and hears with exemplary clarity, neither pulling punches nor exaggerating... Read him to discover how dreadful a country much of Britain has become" (Theodore Dalrymple Sunday Telegraph)

"A most powerful and harrowing piece of investigative takes a very brave and persistent reporter to reach the hidden part of Britain that Davies has chosen to explore" (Peregrine Worsthorne New Statesman)

"If you want to find out about the poor, you have to go looking. Most people, most writers, don't bother. Nick Davies has bothered, and he should be congratulated...his analysis is spot on" (Robert Crampton The Times)

"A brilliant journalistic investigation... A copy should be sent to every Labour MP to remind them of their responsibilities" (Robert McCrum Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Award-winning journalist Nick Davies explores obscured aspects of British culture, from abject poverty to child prostitution. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
Guardian journalist Nick Davies' work is manifestly not for the faint-hearted, detailing as it does the seedy underworld of many of Britain's big cities. From the opening chapter about the 'Children of the Forest' the reader is taken on a truly horrifying tour of rape,murders,exploitation and crime.
The author's intent is to convey the effects on society of the Thatcher revolution - how it has denied hope to millions and left them untethered and atomised, free only to drift into a world of drugs and prostitution. This is a very powerful and thought-provoking work which will surely be read for years to come - I particularly liked the quotes prefacing each part of the book, ussually from 19th century authors, showing that our predecessors were possessed of a much more acute sense of social conscience than most of us possess today ... Davies does offer solutions although most readers will balk at them, few can ignore the grotesque descriptions of misery which litter the pages of this book.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alex Higgins on 3 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
There are few other books I have tried to persuade others to read as much as this outstanding exploration of the reality of poverty in Britain and its impact. Resorting to a cliche - this book is essential reading for anyone who is at all serious in understanding British politics.
Nick Davies has tried to look at the impact of poverty on people's lives from the inside - the experience of moving from affluence to the world of the poor he compares to visiting a strange country. And the country he visits is an inhospitable one indeed - cruel, violent and miserable.
Whether it is the children from Nottingham who have become prostitues, a Leeds estate practically abandoned by the police, the Caribbean immigrants who learned the hard way that the colour of their skin barred them from their aspirations for a better life, the life of young women who sell themselves for drugs or out a lack of other options, the 11 year-old criminal pro - Davies finds a world that is gruesome and heartbreaking, all just streets away from the middle classes that ignore them.
While laying out the reality of crime, police corruption, unemployment, despair, tuberculosis, damp, broken families, racist violence and much else in shocking detail this book is much more than a litany of tragedy. He tears open the self-serving myths about how the poor are deemed responsible for their own plight with example after example.
Davies explains the politics of poverty - how this country of the poor was created and how the Conservative governments of Thatcher and Major brought the severe impoverishment of a quarter of Britain's population about, and writing in 1997, he notes how little the incoming Labour government intended to do about the problem.
There have been improvements since 1997, but this book remains terribly relevant. It is not always easy to read, but you really should.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Smail on 20 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
One emerges shaken to the core from this account of poverty in Britain and its effects on the minds, bodies and souls of those in its grip. God knows what it must have been like to write it. Nick Davies's investigations demonstrate a courage and tenacity distinctly lacking in academic and political approaches to poverty, but that's not all: his understanding of the socio-economic and political causes of this horrific picture is both acute and profound. Absurd to complain that he offers no solutions. The solutions are implied in every line. This is journalism at its very, very best.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Read this book. The editor of the Guardian told me once that if I wanted to be a good journalist, I should read everything Nick Davies wrote. Three years later, I saw the book by chance, bought it, and spent the next couple of days reading it as if it were a novel (ie. fast and whenever possible). It's beautifully written; the tone is detached but warm, calmly shocked, objective but appalled. Sort of like Primo Levi turning his attention to inner city England. The people in this book are the opposite of statistics; he mixes micro and macro views, so the fly on the wall documentary chapters of Leeds Hyde Park estate, and the lives of prostitutes are anchored by statistics and carefully researched facts. That makes it sound boring, but it's not, the people in here are human, recognizable - even if you don't know any child prostitutes, you probably know children who could become them. You see national/global events like the loss of industry translated into an old woman's water being cut off, or a youth centre being closed down. The chapters about the run up to the burning of the Jolly Boatman (?) in the "Hyde Park riots.' are mesmerizing. I highly recommend the book, it's an antidote to the egotistical tat that fills most newspapers, it's really important, it talks about aspects of society, and PEOPLE that don't get talked about enough. It's not worthy and it's not boring. My only complaint is that it is ultimately passive; there isn't the vaguest suggestion of what can be done to counteract the fact that there are 14 million people on the poverty line in Britain, the book just stops. Maybe he doesn't see a solution. Anyway, if Nick Davies reads this review, please get in touch, because I'd like to know the answer.
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