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Dickens: Abridged
Format: Paperback|Change
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 August 2011

Amazon's website structure allows only one review "per book" and Ackroyd's "Dickens" (to the software) is one book. (Not a criticism, just an observation on a curiosity. People reading reviews need to be aware that the reviews will appear on all books with this title and author but have been written on one of the many editions, some for children, some for adults, some "shorter" and others not.)

"DICKENS" - BBC, 1990 - cheap paperback, typical paperback paper, 600 pages

At 600 pages, I am reviewing the abridged edition, entitled "Dickens" published in 1990; the "original" was the basis for the very successful television series fronted by Peter Ackroyd.
I cannot think of two more suited and ideal companions - Peter Ackroyd and Charles Dickens. Both Londoners fascinated by London, writing most of their best work in the city with their subjects the city and its people. Dickens must be in the top few for having the most biographies written about him and it is to Ackroyd's credit that he manages to "come fresh" to the subject with new slants and information. It has two illustrated sections of his homes, the women in his life, some manuscripts and drawings and photographs of Dickens himself.
If you are looking for general information on Dickens this is ideal but, if your purpose is more specific, check his other biographies; this is the abridged version and there are longer with more detail but his is not to diminish Ackroyd's achievement.


This is the shorter, quality paper edition, lavishly illustrated (at least one per page) with colour drawings, b/w photographs, sketches and b/w photographs of Dickens' London and its people. Although a much shorter edition, it still contains a wealth of information about London, Dickens and his visits to America and the illustrations help to bring the text alive, making it ideal for a younger person. It has a quality feel about it and would make an excellent present.
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on 17 December 2007
I know that Peter Ackroyd has researchers working for him, so I assume the facts which he offers about Dickens are true. That being so, I greatly admire the way he so brilliantly weaves his material together, creating a picture of a living, breathing man - a genius who was irritating, temperamental, likeable, egocentric, self contradictory and generally almost impossible. Not only this but he puts Dickens in his period: he shows us what public life was like at the time and sketches in many individuals that Dickens knew, lived and worked with. He suggests what Dickens might have been aiming for at various times of his life, and what he might have felt and thought. There is inevitably some guesswork in this but after all, nobody can REALLY know another person, and Ackroyd's portrait, based as it is on research, probably contains more truth than the social front Dickens presented to most of the people who knew him personally. So I do believe this is the nearest we will ever get to understanding him, and highly recommend the book. By the way, this is the abridged version, but it is so illuminating and fascinating that I will now go and investigate the longer version.
18 people found this helpful
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on 28 January 2017
Nicely illustrated book, but not matching to Amazon's site description/reviews as a 1256 page volume. The BBC edition of Ackroyd's 'Dickens: Public Life and Private Passion', as per the website photo & which I received, is only 160 pages in length. Seemingly, some mix-up re. Amazon listing/description of different editions.
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on 20 May 2018
By 10/10
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on 21 December 2015
It's a dickens of a read
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on 2 June 2011
I love anything about Dickens and this book didn't disappoint. It was a detailed account of his life (with pictures)and times, told in an easy to read manner. It was a book you could put down and take up later without losing the thread. I have read (and own) many books about the life of Dickens and this is one of the best.
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on 21 August 2014
everything ok
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on 11 October 2014
Excellent ! interesting & readable .
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on 29 December 2014
Excellent quick service and product was in first class condition, as described.

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on 16 March 2001
I was looking for a new Ackroyd to read when I stumbled across the only reader review of this magnificent biography - which gave a rating of one star!! I urge you not to take any notice of this curious judgement! 'Dickens' is one of the best biographies I have ever read, and a magnificent addition to Peter Ackroyd's magnificent bibliography. The writing style is wonderful, very reminiscent of Mr. Dickens himself, and the story of this great man's eventful life fascinates from beginning to end.
40 people found this helpful
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