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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving the prize
I haven't read a better written, more transparent account of the trauma of wartime evacuation. In these unvarnished pages we live alongside a human spirit struggling and triumphing over adversity. It is social history with a human face, revealing from personal experience the huge divide between British classes in the 1940s, powerfully reminding us of the often long-term...
Published 24 months ago by Mr. Michael Henderson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
I was really looking forward to this book but found it was like notes for a book as it lacked content. It had the potential for a much more interesting and detailed account the evacuee's story.
Published 14 months ago by VOIDHAWK LOST SOUL


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving the prize, 20 July 2012
By 
Mr. Michael Henderson "Optimistic Realist" (Westward Ho!, N. Devon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I haven't read a better written, more transparent account of the trauma of wartime evacuation. In these unvarnished pages we live alongside a human spirit struggling and triumphing over adversity. It is social history with a human face, revealing from personal experience the huge divide between British classes in the 1940s, powerfully reminding us of the often long-term effects evacuation had on many children and families particularly from the East End. Gripping me from start to finish, from the separation and suffering of the Blitz to the peace and welcome of Wales, this journey of a lonely girl, growing up, speaks to us all. Not a dull page, not many without remembered pain, at times enlivened by embarrassingly down-to-earth language and the resilience of cockney humour. Plus an unexpected twist at the end. And this is just the first sixteen years of her life! No wonder she won the Saga prize.

Michael Henderson, author of 'See You After the Duration - the story of British Evacuees to North America in World War II'(foreword by Sir Martin Gibert), 'No Enemy to Conquer - Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World' (foreword by the Dalai Lama) and nine other books.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars couldnt put it down, 4 Aug 2012
i couldnt put this book down it was that good,and i agree with other reviewers that its well written and easy to read and very entertaining as well as informative historically.
loved it and cant wait for the next book - highly recomended
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and funny memoir ... and more, 22 July 2012
Far From the East End is an excruciatingly honest but funny memoir. Iris Jones Simantel's opening salvo about almost being born in toilet bowl - 'I can only imagine what a shitty view of the world I might have had were it not for that nurse and her timely intervention' sets the tone and style of an account of the first sixteen years of her life in war-torn England and her struggle against being locked in to the restrictions of her class.
Simantel says it herself, in her opening chapter, 'Born a Cockney girl': 'I learned early in life to use humor as a defence against the shame of being poor and on the lowest level of the British class system - our "station in life."'
Simantel's tale is no fiction, but this first book in a series (more are promised) is nothing short of the first stage of a hero's journey narrative, with all the requisite parts: the protagonist, uneasy in her normal world; the call to adventure; the mentors; and the leaving on a quest.
This book never disappoints, and in the end, leaves you eager to read the sequel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of Far from the East End, 30 July 2012
As one who was also evacuated from the "East End" on Sept 1 1939, I could fully understand the author's feelings. I was shipped off three times to a village in East Anglia. The third time I was very fortunate in finding a kindly loving foster mother whom I grew to love, & with whom I stayed in touch for the rest of her life. Being sent away from home as a child affects one for the rest of their life.
Iris has written a fine book, and I hope that it is knockout for her. Can't wait to read Volume two.
Well done Iris.
Gerry Wiseman
MD USA.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 8 Aug 2012
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I can honestly say this is not the 'normal' type of book I read, but picking it up from the start I was captivated by the imigary and the story.
I enjoy history and this is history from a personal level. It is well written (I am one of those people who will read the 1st five pages and if I do not like the book will put it down and never pick it up again), this book had me captured from the start, I just wanted to know what was going to happen next to this five year old girl. It has loss, poverty, happiness, romance, everything in real life and in technicolor, I had forgotten that we used to live like this, it was almost like taking a virtual tour through a museum of human nature.

If you are in any doubt about wether to read this book or not, go for it is my advice - it is value for money.

The only downside now is that I want to know what happens next, and that hasn't been written yet, come on Iris, pull your bloomin finger out!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from the East End., 22 July 2012
At last, a book written fluently, at times poetically, about a painful time in history. Iris Simantel has validated all of us who endured such fear as a result of one of the most insentitive decisions made by the British Government during World War Two. Iris is a brilliant writer, hilarious, insightful and knows the meaning of acceptance. Coloured with compassion for others, she manages to see both sides of the story from those who were sent away, to families who had to send them. Those who suffered the least went with a parent. Those of us put on a bus with a label, small suitcase and no goodbye had a harder time. We all had different experiences - she encapsulates most of them in the story of living history - which is what we are. Irish Simantel's ability to bring characters to life is reminiscent of Maeve Binchy. I know each personality from her descriptions of them, their attitudes, their curiosity about that East Ender (My family was from Brick Lane in the East End). Evacuees were innocents whose worlds had fallen foul of a distant 'committee' who made decisions on their fate. It isn't easy to write about emotions and have them understood. Iris does just that and even though it was years ago, she addresses what will become scars later in life. This is a film waiting to happen. The very best is that after all these years, we are recognied as some of the casualties of the war. The glorious aspect is that we are LIFE AFTER SURVIVORS! Iris by her open,honest and authentic account of this period, tells how we have triumphed and used those frightening times as lessons in living life to the fullest and in many cases, help other to do so too. She is living proof. Years ago I heard a professor say - write what you know. You did Iris, you did! Yvcnne Kaye. Ph.d Author of The Child that never was - Grieving your past to grow into the fututre. Cash, credit and Codependency and 366 Encouragement to Prosperity.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, emotional, real life., 7 Aug 2012
Not only is this book extremely moving, entralling and a magnificent read. But its about MY grandmother Nell Cooper who at the age of 94 is still living a full and active life, she still attends guild club where other ladies of Maerdy act silent sceens from war time and the evacuee.s arriving. We hold Iris in,our hearts and will always be part of our family. Please buy and read this wonderful book. X x
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 22 April 2013
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This review is from: Far from the East End: The moving story of an evacuee's survival and search for home (Kindle Edition)
I was really looking forward to this book but found it was like notes for a book as it lacked content. It had the potential for a much more interesting and detailed account the evacuee's story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: Far from the East End: The moving story of an evacuee's survival and search for home (Kindle Edition)
I was always waiting for something more from the story. I didn't think that there was any depth to the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest account, 23 Aug 2012
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It's easy, with hindsight, to see past events through rose coloured spectacles but Iris Simantel Jones has not done that.

Far From the East End describes with clarity and honesty a childhood that had both its ups and downs. It's also a salutary lesson in differentiating between those things that matter and those that don't. Iris Simantel Jones shares her life, warts and all, with humour and a great understanding of what makes people tick. The burgeoning romance with sweetheart Bob pulls at the heartstrings and creates a real wish to know what happened next as the young couple sail off into the sunset and a new life together in post war America.

Far From the East End - a must read.
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