East End 1888 is essential reading for anyone interested in social history and the history of London. Professor William Fishman shows what life was like for the labouring poor in the year of Jack the Ripper and the Matchgirls’ strike, when poverty, crime, disease and social unrest were at their height.
The communal life of the street, pubs and clubs softened the brutality of the daily grind, where the sweatshop, the ghetto, the poor tenement — and the threat of the workhouse – were ever present in an age of genuine “Victorian values”.
“In the hands of virtually any other historian this would have been a depressing book. But Bill Fishman has a gift, shared with Richard Cobb, of writing about horrible subjects in such a way as to leave you thinking that there is a God in heaven after all.”
– Norman Stone, Sunday Times
“Fishman ís admirable book not merely enlightens us about a dead past, and excites our indignation on behalf of wrongs long since righted. It shows us a past in which we can all too clearly see the present.” – Leon Garfield, Times Higher Educational Supplement
“A brilliantly perceptive study… a marvellous, vivid account of the poverty stricken world of the East End, not only scholarly and well documented but also very easy to read” – Spectator
William (Bill) Fishman was the chronicler of London’s East End. His other books include The Streets of East London and East End Jewish Radicals 1875–1914, recently re-issued by Five Leaves. The author was the son of an immigrant tailor, a visiting professor at Queen Mary College, University of London and former visiting professor at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin. He regularly led East End walks and lectured in social history.
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