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The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe - A Life That Illuminates an Age [Paperback]

John Waller
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2006
Robert Blincoe's political, personal and turbulent story illuminates the Dickensian age like never before. His life provides an outstanding example of courage and a refusal to be downtrodden.


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; New edition edition (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840467274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840467277
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.6 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A compelling history of the lives of workhouse children in the industrial revolution’ -- Nicholas Blincoe, Guardian

‘An engrossing biography ... Historian John Waller makes a strong case. Gutsy stuff.’ -- Mail on Sunday

‘His story deserves to be told’ -- Sunday Telegraph

‘Waller writes with a passion and flair which commands the reader’s attention’ -- Times Literary Supplement

‘A compelling history of the lives of workhouse children in the industrial revolution’ -- Nicholas Blincoe, Guardian

‘An engrossing biography ... Historian John Waller makes a strong case. Gutsy stuff. ’ -- Mail on Sunday

‘His story deserves to be told’ -- Sunday Telegraph

‘Waller writes with a passion and flair which commands the reader’s attention’ -- Times Literary Supplement

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental achievement 9 Oct 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is much more than the story of Robert Blincoe, it is an important and all encompassing history of England's industrial past. Whilst telling of the appalling treatment of Robert Blincoe during his early years, the author also gives a constant political narrative of the social, economic and political history of the period. The author has meticulously researched his subject from historical records, documents and journals and includes a large bibliography. The result is an ultimately readable but important historical work for the serious reader and an important text for students. Superb.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly readable and illuminating history 16 Oct 2005
Format:Hardcover
This is a thoroughly readable history of Britain's industrial age and the people on which the wealth of this country was built - that's not the wealthy merchants or mill owners, it's the forgotten children who slaved away in the mills under appalling conditions. This is the story of one little orphan boy's strength of spirit amid extreme childhood suffering and poverty. And it reminds us of all the individuals who suffered and fought to create better conditions for factory workers amid a political and economic climate which was driving for more, better and faster production.
Waller's meticulously researched history is written with sensitivity and passion. It is a truly accessible and illuminating work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is the story of the life of Robert Blincoe, a man who worked in a cotton mill as a child and wrote a book about it. At first it made me think, why is there a book about it, if he's already written his biography? But this book is good as it adds the historical context and what was happening in the wider world. Robert Blincoe starts as an orphan in a London workhouse, and is sold to a cotton mill owner in the north of England. While he's there he endures terrible conditions, and suffers from various health problems. When he finally leaves the mill, he does odd jobs in similar factories and mills, and then gains enough money to be able to own his own small mill. Along the way the book describes the general situation in society, how they viewed child labourers and the actions of Parliament to stop child labour. It is an interesting book as it details the conditions in the mills, the efforts to stop it, and the alternatives available to both the workers and the factory owners. There was something about the style that I wasn't too keen on but it was a very interesting book. Recommended for anyone who is interested in 19th century history of industrial Britain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Oliver Twist 30 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback
I agree with the other reviews and think this is an intereresting and well researched book on an orphan boy's life from the workhouse to the cotton mills.

A couple of slight criticism's prevent me from giving it five stars. One is that I found it hard to read - it could just be me, but some sentences seemed to be very convoluted and I had to read them over and over to make sense of them. Another bugbear was the author's use of the word 'work'us' as in workhouse boys. It was a novelty to begin with but by the end of the book it began to get a bit annoying. Lastly there were a few facts which were repeated several times.

But despite those slight criticisms I would definitely recommend this book. It is a privileged insight into the workhouse and cotton mills to see it from an orphan boy's perspective. It leaves you wondering about how many children must have perished because of the conditions and long working hours in the cotton mills. And how did any of them manage to survive, albeit with lifelong deformities and illnesses.

Robert Blincoe was a survivor, and this is his story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Dickens 14 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of Robert Blincoe born in 1792 in St Pancras and abandoned in the workhouse at a young age. This is the story of how he and many others were sent to work in the cotton mills of the North as very young children. Literally in the words of Engels "white slaves" their treatment was brutal and inhuman. This book tells the story of how Blincoe survived and even eventually prospered. His story (which I have tried in vain to obtain) was published and helped to bring about changes in the law to protect children in factories. I originally had this book in hardback but it was snaffled by my grandson. Which is why I have this paperback copy. The pictures and photographs are a bonus. I have to add that this reads very entertainingly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Success is there for us all to grasp 25 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
Truthfully an insight into how a nobody from the Workhouse not only showed the spirit to succeed, but also bore no malice or desire to repeat his treatment to his lessers.

This is a biography of a great but unknown man.

An excellent purchase.
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