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The People of the Abyss [Kindle Edition]

Jack London
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.27
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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 252 KB
  • Print Length: 141 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1461047609
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082S2B40
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,948 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had previously only read Call of the Wild by Jack London which I thoroughly enjoyed. Clearly this man is an excellent writer, the words are clear and concise, the grammer is excellent.

Which brings me on to the theme which is shocking. If you have read Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London it is tame compared with this. Mr London, an American of some means, purposely sets out to explore the misery of the East End of London. This book chronicles all he saw and misery it was. Terrible living conditions, hunger, life on the streets, a family of seven or more living in a single room where they slept, washed, ate, abluted. More than 90% of the entire population of London died early and in poverty at a time when the British Empire was at its height.

The book ends with what is basically a call to Socialism and, although Socialism is an anathema to me, had I seen what Mr London writes about, I would become a Socialist.

Britain today is a thriving country and its Empire is no more. It took a foreigner at the turn of the 19th C to diagnose its ills, weaknesses, horrors of treatment of fellow human beings and, ultimately, to predict the downfall of the World's greatest nation because of its neglect and indifference to the suffering of its ordinary people.

As bizarre as it may seem, in the light of having read this book, I would say that WW1 did the ordinary Briton a service in that it brought more equality to peoples' lives. Reading the newspapers today on how the top 5% of earners are taking a disproportionate share of the country's wealth did not shock me until I read this book. Now it does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and heartbreaking sociological work 16 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very few people seem to have heard of Jack London these days, and I was only vaguely aware of him, which is a real shame because he stands right up there with the likes of George Orwell - who I've only just discovered was inspired by this very work to write his own 'Down and Out in Paris and London'.

Jack London was an American writer who chose to go undercover in the East End of London (much to the outrage and fear of his friends) and journalise his research. The resulting work is a fascinating, in depth and honest account of real people's lives in 1902; at the beginning of a new century and on the crest of the Industrial Revolution wave, the people of England must have appeared to have it all. A new monarch also hailed in the new era and the end of the sombre Victorian age so Jack London could not have picked a better time to hold a mirror up to the darker side of the empire's capital.

As well as pushing himself out of his comfort zone and right in to the heart of the life he is writing about, London has the added factor of being an alien abroad. With his US readership in mind, he reminds us throughout what the value of British wages would equate to in the States. He is able to compare life 'on the road' to that of the English counterpart, but his sympathy for the British poor he is mixing with never wavers.

London's writing is sharp and witty - the century that has lapsed between then and now has done nothing to dim the talent that shines through. Furthermore, like Orwell, London's understanding of the causes of poverty and his vitriol towards those who benefit from it come across with clarity and persuasion. One particularly poignant comment has been italicised by London himself, and with good reason.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars essential reading 7 Oct. 2012
By JB
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although rather dated in style this is still and important social document and reminds us why trades unions were formed and also in the present climate why to much deregulation is a bad thing. It also puts the philanthropists into perspective by observing the the best way to help the poor would be to get off their backs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack London, the tourist 6 Nov. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I am a little begrudging of wealthy people reporting on the downtrodden, but London is hardly up there with the Bono's of this world. Though, this book is excruciatingly patronising at times. To my mind, the book forms two parts; one as a participant, the second has a sociological exercise. The former is interesting, engaging and full of characters, the latter, while informative is a bit of a labour to read through - expect repetition. That being said, there is a good first-hand account here to the realities of the 'other half'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this as " condition of England" background reading to help me understand E M Forster's novel Howards End.
In the novel a character Leonard Bast faces poverty and the possibility of becoming one of the people of the Abyss. Here the Abyss is a state of abject poverty in which an underclass struggles to exist.
Jack London experienced it at first hand as he explored the slums of the city of London's East End at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
This period was a time when the very rich coexisted with thousands of people who were poor.The Abyss was the bottom of a social and economic pyramid.
This is grim reading. Unrelenting.Hard to imagine. And more personally this was written 6 years before my father was born.Sobering thought
4 stars but one needs to read other works on the subject to get a deeper understanding of it
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The inability of the poor to rise out of their situation due to the...
An interesting study of condition in the East End of London in 1902, which clearly shows the appalling effects of poverty, an unjust system, no trade unions and punitive charity... Read more
Published 21 days ago by g e zarnecki
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Jack London goes "under cover" to live with the poor and homeless...
Author Jack London goes "under cover" to live with the poor and homeless in Londons east end . Read more
Published 26 days ago by richard etchells
5.0 out of 5 stars very sad and making you thankful for what you have Jack ...
could not believe what I was reading
compared with how things are in the lives of people living today,very sad and making you thankful for what you have
Jack London... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J.P.W
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and factual
Brilliant and factual, written in an accessible style. One of the classics, a true evocation of a London which has , thankfully mostly dissppeared.
Published 2 months ago by Pen Name
3.0 out of 5 stars Unread unfortunately,
Downloaded no problem.
Published 4 months ago by Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic, if somewhat harrowing, insight into the Victorian poor lives and misfortunes.
Published 4 months ago by KerryDog
5.0 out of 5 stars The people of the abyss.
A detailed account of the life experienced by the poor in the East End of London at the end of the 19th century as witnessed by an American writer who lived amongst them. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. M. E. King
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 5 months ago by Yve Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars However this does not take away from the fact that it is a wonderful...
It is a free edition so in fact is worthy of the 5 stars. The only reason I havent put 5 stars is because the new chapters start on the same page as the previous one ends which is... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Patricia Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Down and Out in Paris and London
If you like Down and Out in Paris and London, you'll love this. Fascinating account of a bygone era.
Published 7 months ago by Jeremy Dean
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