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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 April 2012
Wow, I really can not praise this book enough. I am originally from Newcastle and this book caught my eye as I grew up not far from the area that the stories are set. That said, this has a universal appeal beyond us Nova Castrians and the stories Samuel tells will take you through highs and lows, laughs and tears like nothing else I have ever read. It is at times hard to believe the life that the Herberts, and many others in the area, led and the dignity that he and his family managed to keep throughout is a shining example to those who sell their souls on the likes of Jeremy Kyle.

The story starts in 1913 when Samuel was just 5 and covers his journey to adulthood. It is not only a great collection of stories from that time but also a history lesson.

It is a real shame that his untimely death has robbed us of a chance to find out how the rest of his life unfolded as I would have definately pre-booked the sequal.
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on 24 June 2012
I cannot praise the author of this autobiography enough, it is a great pity that he did not see his book in print before he passed away. I could not put this down and the story kept wanting you to go on from chapter to chapter. It was a great eye opener to me who did not realise the places like these existed during that period. It would make a great period drama as it has all aspects of true life in the slums. Comedy, violence, poverty, the types of work young lads had to do to survive. His family should be proud that this factual story of his young life has been set into print for all to read. I just wish that it had been longer into his life as I enjoyed it so much. It was recommended to me by his Grand Daughter and I must say thank you to her as one of the best books I have ever read.I recommend this book to everyone who may think of purchasing or to read on kindle. It is a book that you will want to read again and again.
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on 11 April 2013
What can I say...WONDERFUL!

A FANTASTIC read!

Samuel managed to describe his young boyhood circumstances, both good,bad and ugly, during this period of his life so well, I felt I was there. His ability to record his experiences many years later with such clarity is amazing. This book left me wanting more. Did he write anything more about his experiences in later life? If he did I would love to read them.
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on 27 May 2013
I did enjoy this book and it kept my attention at all times. It is a well written account of an upbringing in a dire environment and there is a mixture of sad events, funny episodes and everyday stories to make you want to just keep reading. Excellent, loved it!
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on 1 March 2013
I got given a copy of this book by my mam, who happens to be Sam's Granddaughter who has the origional manuscript that she watched him write, by hand! I never got the pleasure of meeting my Great Granddad, but this book has made me unbelievably proud to say I am a relation! It will make you laugh and cry, normally in the same chapter! An amazing insite to life in the early 1900s and if you are from Newcastle you can relate to it! I recommend it to everyone!
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on 26 July 2015
I loved this book. Very well written, it took me through the hard life that the author endured in a very poor area of Newcastle starting just before WW1. I would have liked to know what happened to him after the book ended. It was a shame the author didn't get to see his work published. A really good read.
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on 13 February 2013
This was a book I simply could not put down. I was taken from the absolute highs of the innocence of childhood to the devastating lows of the harsh realities of Sam's impoverished upbringing - often in the same chapter.
The story is told in such a simple way, but with such clarity and realism that it is clear you are in the hands of a very natural writer.
It is such a shame that this was Sam's only work, as it really does leave you wanting more. I understand that the publishers significantly shortened the printed work from the original manuscript, but would love to be able to view an unabridged version. Highly recommended.
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on 3 January 2015
This book is an absolute delight, I read it in two sessions! The author has such a 'light touch' he really could have been quite judgemental about his living conditions and some of the people he encountered, but he never is.

He comes across as such a nice man, I wish he were still alive to enjoy the pleasure his book has given to so many people
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on 14 May 2013
What an outstanding book. It is both an humorous and somewhat chilling account of how things where during the end of the First Great War. I say chilling only because of the hardships that where an every day occurrence in the early 20th century. The book was well written and entertaining. I originally downloaded an electronic version on my E-Reader. I was about half way through the book when I went online and ordered a "hard copy" of the book. I liked it so much that I knew that I needed a physical version. As I read the book I could picture an elderly man, sitting in his easy chair. Children and grandchildren sitting around as he regaled them with tales of his youth. I am insanely curious though as to what happened after. I will not go into detail as I do not want to spoil anything for any that have yet to read this book. I highly recommend this book as both and entertainment as well an educational read. I am glad that this was found and published, it would have been a loss had it never had the chance to be shared with the world.
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on 3 December 2014
A really good read. Brought up in the north east myself I can relate to the areas in and around where the events take place. Some of the living conditions my seem far fetched but I can assure people they are not. When I was (much) younger I can remember my parents and grandparents speaking of such hardships that are spoken about in this book. An excellent account of a persons struggle to get out into a better life.
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