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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty realism from depression era Salford
Love on the Dole, published in 1933, was Walter Greenwood's first novel and has never been out of print since. Written on scraps of paper as he tramped the streets looking for work, it has since been made into a film, a play and a musical. Set in Hanky Park, a fictional area of Salford during the depression, the novel was the literary bombshell of its day and the...
Published on 5 Mar 2001

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not the best edition
The book is wonderful and should be read. Unfortunately the Vintage edition omits the epigraphs at the beginning which indicate the novel's revolutionary analysis of society. Students buying this edition need to find an older edition and photocopy the relevant page - or, better still, look for a second-hand Penguin copy instead.
Published on 13 Nov 2006 by Kathleen Bell


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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty realism from depression era Salford, 5 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
Love on the Dole, published in 1933, was Walter Greenwood's first novel and has never been out of print since. Written on scraps of paper as he tramped the streets looking for work, it has since been made into a film, a play and a musical. Set in Hanky Park, a fictional area of Salford during the depression, the novel was the literary bombshell of its day and the prototype for the 'kitchen sink' school of writing. The gritty realism he depicts of clogged rows of back-to-back houses, pawnshops, gas lights and debt, louse ridden people reveals Greenwoods's burning desire to document the social injustices of the time. He is probably the only English novelist since Dickens who was able to combine true mass appeal with passionate radicalism and bitterly honest documentation with writing of high artistic quality. What makes this book a classic, however, is that simple but elusive art of telling a good story and getting the characters right. The book combines personal documentation and outrage with storylines and situations that belong to the novels of the romantic era. Harry and Sally Hardcastle are growing up in grinding poverty but Sally sees a way out by taking up with local crook Sam Grundy. This beauty and the beast relationship is interwoven with that of Larry Meath, our gallant but doomed hero. Everyone who passes in and out of the storyline, from pawnbrokers to petty officials, are all described in convincing everyday detail and all display universal attitudes and fundamental choices. In Love on the Dole, Walter Greenwood eloquently and amusingly depicts an era that is alien to us today. But in our society of mass consumerism and full supermarket shelves it is too easy to forget that not that long ago people did not even have the means to feed themselves. These injustices should not be forgotten and the book should be required reading for all schoolchildren.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter Greenwood - Love on the Dole, 17 Nov 2009
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
I get the impression that this is one of those novels that could easily catch on again soon in a big way, catching the crest of a wave of social malcontent. It has that kind of feel. Certainly it is very interesting to read in light of the recent financial climate - joblessness, hard times, premonited doom; above all, toil, struggle. Certainly, to be worse off now is probably preferable to being worse off during the time of this novel, but still.

Love on the Dole is a fantastic book. It tells of the struggle of ordinary working class people striving endlessly through life. It has that Dickensian feel of being on the pulse of the normal man in the street, and it also proves that Greenwood (like similar writer's like Patrick Hamilton) is able to write very complex emotions and philisophies in simple ways. The common man expresses himself not eloquently but still beautifully - the constant ruings of fate and the way things are are written i such a way as to strike deep in the stomach. It's a novel of the gut and heart, this. It tells a fantastic story - that of the loves of brother and sister sally and harry hardcastle, through an impossible haze of poverty and worry and constant threat of things getting even worse. It is heartwarming and it is occasionally greatly saddening. It's a rich read.

One of the things that stands out most is the wonderful dislogue: the vernacular is a joy to read, a pure pleasure. it needs careful reading, but it's a great feeling to be able to hear so distinctly the voices of the characters in your head. I recommend this novel very highly indeed. As a novel it's a great story, and it wrenches, and as a slice of British social history I think it's probably invaluable. Excellent.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not the best edition, 13 Nov 2006
By 
Kathleen Bell (U.K,) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
The book is wonderful and should be read. Unfortunately the Vintage edition omits the epigraphs at the beginning which indicate the novel's revolutionary analysis of society. Students buying this edition need to find an older edition and photocopy the relevant page - or, better still, look for a second-hand Penguin copy instead.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory Reading, 10 Nov 2011
This review is from: Love on the Dole (Hardcover)
Love on the Dole should be compulsory reading in schools! This was a time when there was no welfare state to speak of. In the developed world we have forgotten how our lives have improved. How important it was to save and stay out of debt. To think one would be grateful for any job, working all hours just to survive. Perfect antidote for whingers, a salutary leasson from history in the current economic clime, and a rollicking good story to boot!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 16 Oct 2012
By 
Peter Coupe (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love On The Dole (Kindle Edition)
If anyone tells you how hard their life is you should buy them a copy of this book. It won't make their life any easier, but it will show them how much easier all our lives are since this was written.
My late father - who was a very young man at the time this was written - often use to tell us tales of the dirtiness and deprivation he tried hard all his life to escape, but we thought it was a bit exaggerated.
When you read this you will realise just how far we have come in such a relativity short time, and just how bad things were for certain sectors in our community.
Although the language is sometimes a little difficult for a modern reader to get to grips with, it is well worth that little extra effort. As a social document it is just outstanding, and the vision of the world it presents to us is like something from another universe.
It shows us why we need the NHS and universal education and Health and Safety legislation and many of the other things we have come to take for granted - or even come to look down on - in the modern world.
I wish I had read this sooner, and I hope I will take something from it that will help me walk in the shoes of others a little more, and moan about my train being a few minutes late a little less.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Under-Rated Classic, 13 Aug 2011
By 
AndyC (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
A wonderful and very affecting novel, I wish it was more well known and I had discovered it years ago. It reminds me in some ways of 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' although the political side is rather downplayed, and the story focuses more on the home life (rather than the working life) of the main characters. There are also some similarities with the post-war working class novels such as Saturday Night Sunday Morning.

The novel was written in the 1930s and almost by accident it has become a piece of social history - the descriptions of people queueing to pawn their clothes, the effect of the means test, the communist-led weekend walking groups out onto the moors (which led directly to the mass trespass on Kinder Scout) etc. The protest march in the middle of the book which is broken up by the police is apparently based on a real event too.

The book is set in a Salford which is familiar from Lowry's paintings, Ewan McColl's 'Dirty Old Town', and the early days of Coronation Street. However, these date (like Saturday Night Sunday Morning) from the post-war era when work was relatively easy to find and young working class people had some degree of disposable income. The Salford of 'Love on the Dole' in the 1930s is a much more impoverished and grim place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Working class life between the wars, 19 July 2009
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
This is one of the best novels I have read in recent years. As an insight into working class life it stands alongside landmark fiction and non-fiction from the era (e.g. George Orwell's 'Road to Wigan Pier'). It also stands comparison with novels from the 19th century such as Charles Dickens' 'Hard Times'. Elements of the story linger on long after you have finished reading it. As with all good novels you quickly see the principal characters as real-people (who are utterly believable). I have often used the novel to support student discussions on management theories (the way in which the apprenticeship system works in the novel is a real gem). Read it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
qUITE AN UNUSUAL ACCOUNT OF POVERTY i HAVE NOT FINISHED IT YET, I am very fascinated by the story
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love on the Dole is a Classic.., 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: Love On The Dole (Paperback)
Walter Greenwood's novel deserves to be a classic. I first read it in the 80's and it's description of an earlier society ground down by hardship was extremly vivid and I found well written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD READ, 1 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Love On The Dole (Kindle Edition)
I THOUGHT THIS BOOK WAS VERY GOOD--WELL WRITTEN
IT DESCRIBES JUST HOW HARD IT WAS TO GET WORK AND LIVE IN THOSE DAYS
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Love On The Dole
Love On The Dole by Walter Greenwood (Paperback - 17 Jun 1993)
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