Visitors to London make a point of sight-seeing and often know London better than the natives. If you are a Londoner and caught in a home to work, work to home trap you are missing out big time. Maybe you realise you are living in one of the greatest cities (the greatest, to my mind) in the world but find it hard to get out of your rut.
If that is the case this little book will prove invaluable in firing your imagination and desire to explore. The East End in particular has an historic air of danger and edginess with hints of darkness. It is the proverbial onion with each layer pulled away to reveal another slice of history. Here lies unmitigated humanity in its every manifestation – the stuff of passion and violence, criminality and heroism and all injected with an overweening determination to survive. Not all did of course, the stories of deprivation and abject poverty are legend – almost story-book in their capacity to shock horror those with a comfortable life.
So how did this amazing hotch-potch of society, this boiling cauldron of life come into being? What made it such a magnet to the artistic, the creative, the lovers of living? The Little Book of the East End is full of tittilating anecdotes and juicy snippets of information that will astound you and lead you wanting to dig deeper into the history of the East End.
The book is incredibly well laid out and very easy to dip in and out of. The twelve chapters cover various subjects like Crime and Punishment, Leisure Time, Earning Dosh, Cockney Culture and so on. Each chapter is sub-divided into various topics, all charmingly illustrated. It couldn’t be clearer or easier to assimilate. The language is concise and lighthearted and the tone is friendly.
In short, it is a gem of a little book and I for one am grateful to Dee Gordon for having produced it.
The Little Book of the East End, written by Dee Gordon, is published by The History Press, costs £9 99 and has 185 pages.
Dee Gordon is also the author of The Little Book of Essex and Voices of Stepney.
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