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The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett by [Ingrams, Richard]
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The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 456 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'Both [author and subject] are supreme satirists, masters of the vituperative arts and excellent writers of plain, vigorous English' -- Mail on Sunday

'Ingrams (describes his life) with gusto. He has done his hero proud.' -- New Statesman

'Ingrams's biography does a fantastic job of fleshing out this bold, bacon-eating, bloody-minded and often very funny writer' -- Independent on Sunday

'Ingrams's purpose in this…highly readable book is not to criticise Cobbett but to celebrate him' -- The Spectator

'It is a packed and combative life, and Richard Ingrams...is the ideal man to write it.' -- Daily Mail

'There could hardly be a happier conjunction of writer and subject' -- Clive Aslet, Country Life

'an entertaining biography' -- The Independent

'cheerful and enthusiastic...an entertaining read...[Ingrams] shows us a man of quite extraordinary passion, energy and principle' -- Daily Telegraph

'easily the most readable and pithily perceptive biography yet written of a remarkable man' -- Daily Express

'engaging...crisp and balanced' -- Sunday Times

About the Author

Richard Ingrams was one of the founders of Private Eye and was its editor for many years, until he went on to found and edit The Oldie. His column in the Observer is required reading.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 971 KB
  • Print Length: 456 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009FUFA0G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #268,597 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this to be an easy read and a very enjoyable book. Most potential readers will know that Richard Ingrams was a founder of `Private Eye' magazine and later founder and editor of `Oldie' magazine and given this and the rather comical cover to the book might expect to find a rather jokey or irreverent text. This is, however, a perfectly serious and very well written biography of William Cobbett an endless campaigner for political reform and press freedom. Cobbett is perhaps best known today for his book, `Rural Rides' which is still in print two hundred years after it was written. `Rural Rides' provides a very detailed and useful record of rural England just on the cusp of the industrial revolution. Ingrams does an excellent job in showing that there is much more to Cobbett; that he was a tireless commentator on the lot of the farm worker (he was not interested in the new factories), on the need for political reform, and for better representation in parliament. His views were expressed in his weekly newspaper, `The Political Register', one of the few independent, non-subsidised, papers of his day. Cobbett campaigned for press freedom and like others such as Leigh Hunt paid the price with a jail term for being critical of the establishment and twice had to flee to America to escape prosecution.
Ingrams provides a well rounded picture of Cobbett and his family and describes well Cobbett's experiences in Philadelphia and Long Island and his triumphant return to England to manage a farm and run a weekly paper of which he was the major contributor.
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Format: Paperback
I got this book for a pound in a library sale. Shame on the library! This is a superb book that deserves a wide readership. The period of the early 19th century needs to be read by anyone who wants to understand contemporary British politics and culture. Ingrams book is weighed in all the right measures; it's polemical, funny, engrossing and brings to live all the contradictions and humanity of Cobbett's life and writings.

Cobbett's pen potraits of his opponents are still a rich source of satire and master class in put downs and exposure of the hypocrisy and cant of the rulers of the period. Of Lord Brougham he writes' Lord Crackskull - he is the weazel, the nightmare, the indigestion'.

Of Thomas Malthus he writes, 'Parson I have, during my life, detested many men; but never any one so much as you.'

Cobbett, along with Thomas Paine, should be part of the national curriculum.

It would help save us all from the oppressive and shoddy legacy of the BBC. 'Blair, Brown and Cameron'.
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Format: Hardcover
Having very little knowledge of William Cobbett other than knowing him as the author of "Rural Rides", I was inclined to learn more about this character and his times. Richard Ingrams' book is excellent in the way it sets the scene for the period, corrupt polititians and newspapers, the struggles of working people, the imminent industrial revolution and Cobbett the maverick fighting for what he believes in. Although two hundred years ago it has so many parallels with today. Can we please have a few William Cobbetts for the early 21st century! Overall a great read and it has left me wishing to read Rural Rides to get more of the flavour of the writing of the great man himself.
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Format: Paperback
My great great grandfather born in 1805 was an agricultural labourer in Worcestershire. In early 1840's he was convicted of some minor offences by today's standards, such as stealing a kettle and bucket of coal and 1 burglary. For this he was sentenced to 7 years transportation to Van Diemans Land (Tasmania).

Was he just a crook or was he driven by desperation through hunger, poverty and destitution to commit these offences to enable his family to survive. Those 7 years became a life sentence as he never returned to these shores and died a pauper.

I bought this book to see if it would shed some light on the social conditions faced by agricultural labourers in the period prior to 1840's and it exceeded my expectations many times over.

Cobbett raged against the corrupt and harsh political Tory and Whig aristocracy and judiciary and their contempt for the poor, the Clergy, who were complicit in ignoring the plight of the poor, but not the Church itself. The bankers and stock jobbers also were targets for his scorn as were the biased newspapers which, in the main were Tory propaganda and if there was any dissent or criticsm of the government this was met met by threatened and actual prosecutions for sedious libel.

Nearly two centuries later we may ask just how much has fundamentally changed. Corrupt politicians fiddling their expenses, the rich bankers and the stock jobbers and their obscene bonuses taking this country to the brink of ruin and being baled out by the taxpayer and by attacks on benefit recipients to cut the national debt. Outrage by the wealthy against any tax rises for them. Increased wealth disparity between rich and poor. Little to choose between the major political parties all of whom seem to have lost their moral compass.
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