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The Hired Man Hardcover – Oct 1969

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd; First Edition, First Impression edition (Oct. 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436067056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436067051
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

An intensely moving, deeply worked book...There is beauty, humour and a strong sense of reality in the descriptions of an ever-present landscape, whether rural or urban (Sunday Telegraph)

It is an extraordinary blend of delicacy and harsh simplicity which makes Melvyn Bragg a remarkable novelist...deeply unsetting and moving (The Times)

A magnificently strong and sinewy novel (Sunday Mirror) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Bragg's acclaimed story of one family's experience of the social and cultural upheaval of England as it moves into the twentieth century --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Philip Spires on 9 April 2008
Format: Paperback
The Hired Hand by Melvyn Bragg is the story of John Tallentire, his wife, Emily, and their families. The novel is set in Cumbria in the north-west of England, starting in the 1890s and following the characters' fortunes until the 1920s.
John Tallentire is the hired man. He is a farm labourer who does as he is asked but is rewarded with mere subsistence. He accepts his lot. But then, in an attempt to improve his life, he becomes a coal miner in pits where the workings stretch out under the sea. The First World War comes, and goes, but not without wreaking its own dose of havoc on the family. John lives through attempts at trade union formation. And there is an accident in the coal mine that traps several miners.
And so John's life unfolds, working its way towards a goal one feels that he never chose. He is a hired man, a seller of labour in a market that, by definition, undervalues what he does. It is his lot to respond to the demands and commands of others. His own preferences, his own motivation must always be kept firmly of secondary importance because, as a hired man, he has no resources to apply to his own ends until he has satisfied the demands of others. And, inevitably, those demands are as great as his willingness to fulfil them. Consequently, the rewards of his labours are never enough to raise his life above satisfying the needs of today.
Emily, his wife, lives a dutiful life alongside him. They marry with their lives ahead of them and Emily makes do, happily, with her lot. The children come - and go, since not all of them survive. Neither do the surviving children seem to have much of a chance of their own to break out of the dependency that is their life.
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By OC on 19 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Set in Cumberland at the turn of the century this is the story of John Tallentire, and his struggle to escape the lowly status of being a labourer, or a "Hired Man". this book was powerful stuff which in the current economy doesn't seem at all far fetched.
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By CJR on 6 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting for background, historical and geographical. Not sure that I warmed to the characters but must have done sufficiently for me to send for the next in the trilogy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As with all Melvyn Bragg books - it sits in the comfort zone, is an easy read and is satisfying. A good read to have between deeper books.
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