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The Street Philosopher Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Length: 496 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

‘A galloping good story’
The Times

‘Lust, avarice, envy, revenge all play their part in this brilliantly told, well-paced story, which also begs the question, so relevant today, of just how close to action journalists and recorders of war should be allowed’
Daily Mail

‘Plampin’s historical research is impressive, as is his command of detail….his true gift of descriptive power’
Independent on Sunday

Review

'A galloping good story' The Times 'Lust, avarice, envy, revenge all play their part in this brilliantly told, well-paced story, which also begs the question, so relevant today, of just how close to action journalists and recorders of war should be allowed' Daily Mail 'Plampin's historical research is impressive, as is his command of detail!.his true gift of descriptive power' Independent on Sunday

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1987 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (13 Mar. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9F40
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By tallpete33 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a real beast of a book that has everything - sex, violence, humour, great characters, a twisting plot with a bit of culture and a lot of history thrown in for good measure. It's worth mentioning here that "a street philosopher" in the nineteenth century was no more than a gossip columnist of his day so there's no Proust or Freud to worry about here.

The street philosopher of the title was Thomas Kitson, sent to report on the Crimean War for the London Courier under roving reporter Richard Cracknell. The two form an uneasy alliance, Kitson the more sensitive and refined of the two alongside Cracknell the gung-ho, bawdy and outspoken philanderer. Kitson went to quietly report, Cracknell to make his name and uncover injustices and failings in the British army as they fought alongside the French and Turks against the "Ruskies". Cracknell's nemesis (and vice versa) was one Colonel Boyce, who cared more for his moustache than his men and saw the war as an opportunity for financial gain, looting the country of it's artefacts when he should have been at the front line....or perhaps keeping a closer eye on his wife.

The Courier duo are soon joined by illustrator Robert Styles, who fell under the spell of the beautiful Madeleine Boyce, wife of the Colonel, on the boat over from England. When he found out that Cracknell was keeping the Colonel's bed warm for him, the humiliated artist went into a sharp decline, traumatised at both her rejection of him and the bloodshed all around. He was soon to be found at the frontline, ragged and starving, manically drawing the living hell he found himself in whilst taking pot shots at the Russians with a borrowed gun.
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By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 19 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Matthew Pamplin's epic novel may initially seem a somewhat intimidating and dense prospect, but it more than repays the initial effort with its look not just at a largely forgotten war but also the way it affects those on the sidelines even years later. Novels about the Crimean war are rare enough - aside from the glorious myths that have grown around Florence Nightingale and the Charge of the Light Brigade it was a rather sordid, inept and distinctly unglorious enterprise - but ones dealing with the disillusionment and what would probably now be called Post Traumatic Stress that was its legacy for some are probably even rarer. In this case the victim is Thomas Kitson, who has abandoned a promising carer as an art critic to become a junior war correspondent covering the haphazard campaign only to flee the corruption and chaotic brutality he finds there and hide on the sidelines as a gossip columnist - or street philosopher - in Manchester. But as the novel moves back and forth in time, it's not so easy for him to avoid involvement or escape the war's legacy.

It's a truly epic and ambitious novel, even though at times it feels like the dual timeframe is designed as much to keep some of the `big' scenes for later in the novel - certainly there's nothing in the Manchester parts of the story to quite compare to the vividly related conflict even if both landscapes are equally corrupt and dominated by the same baser motives. At times the novel almost struggles to support its ambition, but Plampin manages to somehow keep his increasingly intricate house of cards standing even when the occasional supporting character threatens to turn into stereotypical cliché. In many ways an ideal companion piece to Tony Richardson's similarly ambitious 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade that also used the Crimean War as a lightning rod for all of Victorian society and a morally bankrupt social order, it's well worth persevering with.
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Format: Paperback
What a great story! Thomas Kitson is in the Crimea to report on the progress of the war for the London Courier. He can have no idea what he will come up against. Wartime does not make men pure of heart and united in an attempt to defeat the enemy, instead it would appear to give more of an excuse for power play by men desperate for honour, whatever the cost.

The war, as seen by Kitson, is messy indeed - to the point at which he can no longer ignore the ruthless stupidity of the officers, and chooses to remove himself. However, he has seen too much and there is unfinished business before he can leave his past behind...

To me, this was as much a story about human greed as it was about a war, and this was what made it such a tremendously good read. Everyone has self interest at some level or another and somehow, Plampin cleverly manages to expose the self interest of almost every character. This against a supremely well drawn historical backdrop that makes you feel as if you were really there.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Take Thomas Kitson, a sensitive journo; Richard Cracknell, his boozing, fornicating and insightful senior; Robert Styles, their newspaper's illustrator prone to madness; Colonel Boyce, an egocentric sociopathic class climber; his beautiful French wife, Madeleine, abused and unfaithful; plus a few worthy others - and chuck them into the brutal Crimean war where they develop a war of their own, clashing with each other in a variety of ways as their loyalties fracture, opportunities are taken to profit and betray, and the pursuit of love and truth becomes a risky gamble, the war itself a weapon hacking away at sanity and decency until virtually nothing is left. It is survival of the fittest and Colonel Boyce intends to survive come what may. Consequently he becomes the epicentre of the story around whom all else rotate.

This is a well researched book, nicely decorated with detail but not slowing the pace, which is steady for the most part. Although not a sizzling page turner, it still carries a sufficient dynamic to make one want to get to the end to see what happens to the characters and how their various shenanigans end up.

As the various aspects of the novel unfold and reach their final conclusions, the action switches back and forth between the Crimea of 1854 and Manchester of 1857. This switching is done in chunks so as not to disturb the chronological flow too much, and it works well.

The unnecessary war and its resultant cruelty and inhumanity is handled well, and conjures up vivid pictures of the horrendous nature and wastefulness of it. The atmosphere of Manchester is also well conveyed, from the lofty attainments of the
successful industrial base that fuels the city, to the detrimental effect is has on the workers and their squalid environment.
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