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Mansions of Misery

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A micro-history of London in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - the story of the capital's notorious debtors' prison, immortalised by Charles Dickens.

About the Author

Professor Jerry White teaches London history at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of an acclaimed trilogy of London from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. His most recent book is Zeppelin Nights, a social history of London during the First World War. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by the University of London in 2005 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


"This colourful, exuberant, brilliantly detailed account by Jerry White is the latest in a long list of irreplaceable books about London." -- Simon Callow Guardian "[A] marvellous history of the Marshalsea Debtor's Prison... In vivid prose White conjures a murky underworld of jailbird chancers and scufflers of one stripe or another." -- Ian Thomson Evening Standard - London Books of the Year "A factual portrait of desperate and roughish Londoners that is as startling as anything in Dickens. Its wealth of anecdote and sympathetic style, spiced with witty observations makes this the very opposite of a miserable read." -- George Goodwin BBC History Magazine, Book of the Year "Fascinating." The Times "[A] riveting, richly researched account." Times Literary Supplement "[An] excellent, detailed book." -- Hermione Eyre Spectator "White's absorbing book is a salutary reminder of the realities of debt." -- Catherine Peters Literary Review "[It] is searching and brimful of intriguing characters." -- John Carey Sunday Times "This is a splendid book providing a vivid image of the Hanoverian and early Victorian worlds, of their societies and, particularly, of a cross-section of people living on the edge." -- Clive Emsley BBC History Magazine "[A] colorful, exuberant, brilliantly detailed account... The latest in a long list of irreplaceable books about London" -- Simon Callow Guaridan Weekly

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