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4.6 out of 5 stars
19
4.6 out of 5 stars


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on 5 July 2017
Possibly the greatest political story every written. Shows politics in all its self serving hypocrisy, the Labour Party should make this compulsory reading, to avoid its continuing reputation as the POSH party, party of sheer hypocrisy?
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on 7 October 2014
Imagine the slums of Manchester and the gloom of Bradford's "satanic mills" and then read this book. The artistry of the author in capturing human experience in such blighted environments has to be read to be fully appreciated. His prose rises to the poetic in many instances, not only when describing the wild beauty of the Yorkshire moor but also when describing a dank canal in the back streets of Manchester.

Characterization is fully developed throughout the novel and I felt as though these were real people with real lives that I cared about. What an accomplishment for any author! In addition, the complexities of each character, especially the protagonist, maintain the reader's interest as we try to understand the sufferings and joys, the efforts and the failures of each person's life.

I learned a great deal about the historical context, events and personalities of the time period in the novel and greatly appreciate all the scholarship that the author invested in re-creating this world.

This is a novel that I shall keep on my shelf and re-read in search of new insights into each character.
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on 28 February 2011
What a great writer Howard Spring was. Fame is the Spur was published in 1940 and was a big book. The rather ancient paperback I have bought runs to 640 pages, closely typed. An absolute blockbuster. An important book I think. The lives of three young boys born and raised in poverty in the Ancoats area of Manchester: their lives take us from there to Yorkshire, London and the Rhondda Valley. They go their seperate ways, and meet up from time to time. The book is gently written, the author's love of books and learning from them runs through the story as we follow Hamer Shawcross from the slums to his life as an M.P. friend of Ramsey MacDonald, minister and Privy Councillor, while Arnold Ryerson goes to the Rhondda and becomes a Union representative and Tom Hannaway goes into commerce. Vast areas of life and attitudes towards it are described. And alongside the pomp and ceremony of the London political scene at the end of the book is the quiet contentment of the workers in Manchester. Birley Artingstall, an artisan who works in leather lives in rooms above his shop to which he retreats satisfied after a days work well done and says to Hamer 'Well just imagine this room on a winters night, my boy, with that dull-looking grate full of a cheerful fire, and the curtains drawn, and me in that chair with that lamp on a table at my elbow.' Lovely stuff, and so easy to buy with Amazon's large offering of second hand books, no longer avaible new.
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on 6 August 2004
I picked up this book because I had heard it was based on the life of Ramsay Mcdonald and having a great interest in 19th century politics I was keen to expand my knowledge of early 20th centur politics too. Fame is the spur kept me reading right to the end but one of the most fascinating aspects to Springs endearing neo victorian prose was his contrast between the real lives of the poor and that of Hamer's (the main character)political rhetoric. Howard Spring paints a picture of grinding poverty in the slums of Manchester but infuses in his characters a sense of joy and hope centred around the institution of the family. Hamer's political speeches on the other hand show the deadening black and white nature of electioneering as his oratorical portraits of his eraly years leave out this sense of hope.
All in all a fascinating book for the politically minded and those who like a good human drama alike.
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on 30 April 2016
Of its time! If written today there would have been more "racey " Good in parts,some times implausible.
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on 2 June 2015
If a copy of Ragged Trousered Philanthropists holds a special place on your bookcase then this book is a natural partner to sit alongside it. A book I have read many times since childhood, and I have passed on many copies to others. No matter if I have a copy I will always pick it up and buy when browsing secondhand bookshops, but it is becoming ever harder to find.
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on 16 September 2014
My Neighbour is going at this book full steam ahead. It is one of his favourite Books
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on 8 December 2014
I am halfway through reading Fame Is The Spur for the third time (first time with this copy) It is one of my favourite books and Howard Spring a favourite author. It is a page-turner following the lives of miners, land-owners, poverty and wealth. For all you followers of Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey this is even better.
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on 12 January 2016
The volume is in reasonable condition. The book is well constructed, the English excellent and the narrative compelling. Few modern authors can write English of this quality of depth and richness of language.
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on 7 October 2016
clearly has been read and is very old andwell thumbed/ but enjoyed the story as i read it as a young woman fifty years ago and had lost my copy
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