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Adventures of an American Girl in Victorian London (Victorian London Ebooks Book 11) by [Banks, Elizabeth L.]
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Adventures of an American Girl in Victorian London (Victorian London Ebooks Book 11) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
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Length: 163 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 692 KB
  • Print Length: 163 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Victorian London Ebooks (7 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007SCX46K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #298,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A thoughly good read, and a facinating insight into this period of history. Amazon, if we are good enough to review something for you why are we required to use a minimum number of words!!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting from a historical point of view. Miss Banks certainly worked hard to find her material. It made her a big success.
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An insight into the life of the time.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 44 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undercover investigative reporting in Victorian England. What an incredible "New Woman" Banks was. 4 Jan. 2017
By OLT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all, this is not a novel. It's a collection of actual newspaper articles written in the 1890s by American journalist Elizabeth Banks (1872-1938), recounting some of her "undercover" experiences in Victorian English society. This was quite the find for me. It's a fascinating read by a pioneering woman who lived a fascinating life. (Just google her. You'll be amazed. College graduate, then typewriter girl, then society reporter, then secretary at the American Consulate in Peru, then "stunt journalist", and, upon her move to London, an investigative journalist for publications such as THE DAILY NEWS, PUNCH, ST. JAMES GAZETTE, LONDON ILLUSTRATED and REFEREE. She also worked to promote women's suffrage and counted as friends or acquaintances George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells and suffragette Henrietta Marston. She made major contributions to British intelligence before and during WWI and worked to draw America into the war. Well, wow. Maybe even more admirable than better known journalist Nellie Bly.)

She wrote about the plight of the lower classes and the articles included here are the result of her undercover work as (1) housemaid, (2) street sweeper, (3) Covent Garden flower girl, and (4) laundry girl. In addition there's a section on the "Almighty Dollar" in which she recounts her experiences posing as an American heiress seeking help breaking into upper class society. She shows how some English aristocrats sold their social influence with only regard for making money. However, she also exposes the "shoddiness" of some of these Americans looking for upward mobility.

When Banks originally set off for England in 1892 (I believe), her parting injunction by her editor was "Don't forget that you are an American and are going to England simply to compare the inferiorities of that country with the superiorities of your own." And, indeed, one of her first articles upon arriving was "An American Girl's Reply to Mr. Kipling" printed in response to Kipling's criticisms of America in the Times. That was the beginning of her journalistic career in London.

This collection of articles was originally published as CAMPAIGNS OF CURIOSITY; Journalistic Adventures of an American Girl in London, published in 1894. In it she relates her adventures and her insights into life as a lower-class working girl. The articles are a great look at how these women lived and, although not completely unbiased, are a rather fair expose of working conditions and the relationship of upper and lower classes. This is an informative read, well written with surprising modern writing style, and with some great understated humor.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating glimpse into Victorian London 13 July 2013
By Lark Spring - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this Kindle ebook to be a fascinating glimpse into the lives of working girls in Victorian London (and the term 'working girls' as used here is not a euphemism for something else, though that would also have made for an interesting memoir.) The author, a practitioner of the 'new journalism' of the time, insinuated herself into service as a housemaid and parlour-maid in two different households - one whose mistress was pleasant and fair and the other not so. She also found work in various laundries and, more briefly, assumed the lives of a crossing-sweeper and a flower girl. What she discovered in all these employments is extremely revealing, not just to those reading her columns in a newspaper of the day but also to us, at our twenty-first century remove.

Many years ago I read Monica Dickens' similar books ('One Pair of Hands,' 'One Pair of Feet' and 'My Turn to Make the Tea'), and was delighted to come across this earlier version. Although 'Lizzie's' investigations don't match those of Dickens either in time spent or in humour, they are no less detailed. My one reservation about the account by the 'American girl' is that her fairly privileged upbringing sometimes betrays her into appearing to take the side of the employers more than she perhaps should have. It seems that following her reports she discovered that many servants felt that too.

This in no way spoils the various accounts, though. This is definitely a book worth reading if you have any interest at all in social history or the working lives of others - even now there are probably many young women in India whose days are not very different from those of young working women in Victorian London.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a great time for working class women 24 Nov. 2016
By Flora Amici - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm sure what's in the book is true, but I'm surprised the reporter-author's "American accent" was not noted from the start of her investigatory stay in London. I am very interested in how women workers were treated, especially the domestic servants. They really had a miserable life but there weren't many opportunities for women. Her attempt at presenting herself as an "heiress" from America was rather funny, and her time in a laundry was horrific. There are probably no other accounts like this for this period. Hours were very long, pay was bad and the "good old days" obviously weren't that good for the average woman. But it makes for interesting reading. BTW, my grandfather lived in London during this time and I wonder how much he observed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit of history with plenty of wit and humor 7 Feb. 2014
By Katzkratch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I simply love books that make you feel like you were in a certain period of history. The author's wit and way of writing seems very fresh, not stodgy and boring as you might expect from something written at the time. I so wish to have been able to meet and talk with this very bright lady. To hear her describe the coarse flower girls (flower sellers) of the Cockney breed was something that totally brightened my day (or I should say midnight--I was reading late at night and had to leave the bedroom since I was snickering so loudly, I didn't want to wake my husband). She is very honest in her expose of some of the most common jobs that poor women held at the time. How in the world did they do it? And she also give a glimpse of the rising women's liberation movement in describing the desperate need for these women to have their independence doing work that sometimes just seems inhuman. I hated this book to end and will see if there are others by her. It was wonderfully entertaining and educational.
4.0 out of 5 stars Why domestic work sucks big time. 12 Mar. 2017
By kitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
while slightly dated I enjoyed this early version of Monica Dickens "One Pair of Hands" (read that book also). Also it is incredible insight in what life was like back in the day.. and also... why did so many women avoid being a domestic... taking sewing and factory work any day over doing domestic work. You learn why in this book.
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