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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Yes, everything the others said is true, but what they didn't mention in detail are the narratives that go along with the pictures. Here you've got actual interviews, often times with the subject of the photo, so you learn their history and opinions, quoted, no less.
This, to me, is what fascinates me about this book. The pictures alone are so transporting, but you can look at a great book of historical pictures and if the text is boring, dry, dusty, educational - all you've got is what you've learned from looking at the pictures.
And even if the text were well written by a contemporary author, the pictures would still supercede the text. But not in this case. I took the book out of the library to look at the pictures and skim the text, but I'm reading every word.
In LONDON NOMADES (sic), he interviews a guy who knows the people in the photograph, and who says, "Bless ye!that's old Mary Pradd, sitting on the steps of the wan (sic), wot was murdered in the Borough, middle of last month." and both the guy and the author proceed to tell the story of Mary Pradd, who is - yes - sitting on the steps of the van, looking rather worse for the wear for her lifestyle.
STREET DOCTORS, the examination of the men who roamed the streets selling medicines out of their suitcases to the local neighborhoods, gives us a long and riveting narrative by the guy in the picture, a man who has his case open for two housewives, and looks like he has clubfoot, as one shoe has a sole 4" higher than the other. The author quotes the street doctor's story in his own words.
He speaks of how he was a cabdriver but had to give it up because of losing his eyesight. "At that time, my wife worked with her needle and her hands to keep things a going. She used to do charing during the day and sewing at night, shirtmaking. She got twopence-halfpenny for making a shirt.....I fell in with a gentleman selling ointment, he gave me a box which I used for my eyes....." and on the narrative goes.
Profiles cover the Covent Garden Flower Women (Eliza, anyone?), Public Disinfectors, Flying Dustmen (her father!), Shoe Blacks, Half Penny Ices, the London Boardmen (sandwich board advertising), and so much more.
I can't put it down. In fact, I'm buying it for my bookshelf.