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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Individual History...
Fiona Joseph's biography of Beatrice Cadbury (Beatrice the Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune) brings an extraordinary character to life. Most of us are vaguely aware that the Cadbury's, like several other leading industrialists of their age, were something more than traditional employers, putting their beliefs in the dignity of labour and a certain equality into...
Published on 25 Aug. 2012 by Jonathan Davidson

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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story but could have been better.
This story of an heiress and her husband who were determined idealists who carried their theories to impractical levels is interesting.
It becomes farcical when the workers they are trying to help feel they have to smuggle in food parcels to keep their family going. It is a bit weak in some areas where possibly research was difficult.
Published on 14 Mar. 2013 by Rosemary


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Individual History..., 25 Aug. 2012
By 
Jonathan Davidson (The English Midlands) - See all my reviews
Fiona Joseph's biography of Beatrice Cadbury (Beatrice the Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune) brings an extraordinary character to life. Most of us are vaguely aware that the Cadbury's, like several other leading industrialists of their age, were something more than traditional employers, putting their beliefs in the dignity of labour and a certain equality into action. However, I suspect very few people will be aware of Beatrice Cadbury, a daughter of the chocolate empire born in 1884, and of how radically she developed her views on the management of society. Decades before the 'alternative' life styles of the late 1960s and 1970s, Beatrice was reassessing her relationship with money, the state, education, in fact every aspect of living. She was a glorious extremist.

This biography paints a picture of the world of an enquiring but in many ways conventional young woman at the turn of the 19th Century and how she responds both to her own developing theories and to the trauma of wars, economic depression and political extremism of the right. The research is thorough and the story is told with real gusto - much as I would imagine Beatrice herself might have told it, not waiting for the dust ever to settle but moving on to the next issue and the next issue. And it is a life that for all its failures (things were, for her, forever going wrong) actually succeeded in being extraordinary and heroic, in changing for the good the lives of many and contributing to the cause of humanism. History may boil down to empires and -isms but individuals are important too, and too easily forgotten, too easily dismissed. Thanks to this book, Beatrice Cadbury's contribution will be that much better known and admired.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing story told with great care, 29 Feb. 2012
This is an astonishing story that makes for a fine read. It ticks a lot of boxes of contemporary interest: a tale of a determined woman who sought to change things for the better, and didn't let men talk her out of it; about idealism and a quite remarkable degree of integrity; and in the background is the story of one of those great British businesses, Cadbury, run by businessmen who cared as much about the wider society as turning a profit.

Oh, and it's really well written. Just when you think Beatrice and her Dutch husband couldn't get any more idealistic, up would crop another incredible scheme at the end of a chapter. Meanwhile, all the horrors of the 20th century swirl around them. Humbling.

Now, Matthew Paris, need a suggestion for 'Great Lives'?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From riches to rags, 15 Nov. 2012
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This is an intriguing and unusual true life story of a wealthy young women who was distressed by the inequality of her own rich family and the hard working employees of the family firm. She thought the workers deserved more for their labours and chose to give away her inheritance. But she went further than this. She and her husband who was Dutch tried to live without the use of money and minimal possessions and so their children were deprived in materials comforts though not in love and affection. The family grew, there were 8 children in all. They lived in Holland on next to nothing, always taking in and helping people in trouble, whilst Beatrice's family back home, who were deeply concerned for their welfare, devised ways, often secretly, of alleviating the worst hardships of the children. Through educating their own children and those of friends at home Beatrice's husband eventually started a progressive school and became a renowned educationalist. In the end one feels they were vindicated in their harsh lifestyle and were a very remarkable couple. This is a well researched book, telling it as it was without bias. It is well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i loved this book, 9 July 2013
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This review is from: BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book it was very interesting I enjoyed reading about the Cadbury family and the memorable things they did for their workers and their families.
I am a nursery nurse and have been for the last fifteen years, I have also seen many changes with in my nursery and with the governments changes in planning for children and teaching methods', so I can relate to some of the teaching methods' that Beatrice and her husband were trying to achieve and implement in their school. I believe that there are many similarities in the planning and teaching methods we are using today.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatrice - Saint or (Fruit and) Nutcase?, 15 April 2012
This review is from: BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (Kindle Edition)
The story of an incredibly principled woman whose adherence to her beliefs bordered on a mania that endangered the health of her children. The life of this unique woman follows a natural story arc that Fiona Joseph exploits to create an enthralling tale. Beatrice is born with a chocolate covered silver spoon in her mouth but in adulthood decides to give away her inheritance. This starts a spiral of increasingly radical decisions that has the reader doubting her sanity while at the same time asking the question: how far should you take your beliefs if you know they are damaging the wellbeing of your children? Was she totally in control or was she in thrall to her husband? It is a gripping and ultimately life-affirming story. An early outsider for Costa Biography of the Year 2012.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight to the Cadbury dynasty, 11 Feb. 2013
Fiona's knack in moving the reader through her words is blindingly obvious from page one, and doesn't stop until the last word. Incredibly detailed, told with great empathy and compassion towards the characters, Fiona really evokes what it was like to live in Beatrice's world. You can almost smell the cocoa beans! A fantastic, fascinating read, for the lovers of chocolate, historical reads, or a resident of Birmingham. I look forward to seeing this on the small or big screen. Well done Fiona!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story but could have been better., 14 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (Kindle Edition)
This story of an heiress and her husband who were determined idealists who carried their theories to impractical levels is interesting.
It becomes farcical when the workers they are trying to help feel they have to smuggle in food parcels to keep their family going. It is a bit weak in some areas where possibly research was difficult.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Old-Style Biography That Adds Up To More Than The Sum of Its Facts, 5 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (Kindle Edition)
An ALLIANCE OF INDEPENDENT AUTHORS 'BOOK OF THE MONTH' (August 2012)
--------

"Just the facts, ma'am," This catchphrase from Dragnet, the crime drama about LAPD Joe Friday, kept coming to mind as I read Fiona Joseph's biography of Beatrice Cadbury. Sergeant Friday, famed for his worldweary plea that loquacious females stick to the point, would surely have approved of this old-style, research-driven biography about one of the daughters of the world-famous chocolate empire.

What makes Beatrice Cadbury worthy of a biography is a series of radical decisions she took, along with her Dutch husband Kees Boeke, to put their life of relative privilege to use in ways that would benefit others. This extended not just to returning her fortune to the Cadbury workers whose labour had created it -- for as well as being an heiress, Beatrice was a Friend (Quaker) and her privilege troubled her -- but to trying to live without money altogether, even to the extent of watching their children go hungry and ill.

And there's more.

With each chapter, the actions of these extraordinary people further amaze.

Beatrice was an exceptional woman, and her lifelong quest to create a fairer and more equal society is inspirational, if at times, bordering on self-destruction. The issues raised by her life - how the 1% of those who have most material wealth or power treat the 99% of those who have less -- are timeless, and utterly relevant today. She lived a long and eventful life and in structure, Joseph favours a traditional approach, taking us chronologically through from birth to death.

You won't find psychoanalytical or feminist theorising here. No faction. Little dialogue. A minimum of scene setting. Yet because Beatrice's decisions are so extraordinary, and because Joseph's writing style is so clear and engaged, this life story has the grip of a novel.

The author's careful and caring hand turns her straightforward presentation of what happened when into a compelling biography that in the reading becomes a great deal than the sum of its facts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story that romps along, 28 Dec. 2012
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I read this beautiful book virtually at one sitting, showing how idealism and realism interact in the history of the 20th century. The fact that it is all local to me as a Brummie adds to the interest.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 29 Aug. 2012
By 
S. Nixon (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: BEATRICE The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It was well written and the subject matter was compelling.
I come from this area and was interested in the Cadbury family and this was part of the story that I didn't know.
I would recommend this book.
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