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Description - Blood and Fire by Roy Hattersley

An uneducated youth, William Booth left home in 1849 at the age of twenty to preach the gospel for the New Methodist Connexion. Six years later he founded a new religious movement which succeeded to such a degree that the Salvation Army (which it became) is now a worldwide operation with massive membership. But that is only part of Booth's importance and heritage. In many ways his story is also that of the Victorian poor, as he and his wife Catherine made it their lives' work to battle against the poverty and deprivation which were endemic in the mid- to late 1800s. Indeed, it was Catherine who, although a chronic invalid, inspired the Army's social policy and attitude to female authority. Her campaign against child prostitution resulted in the age of consent being raised and it was Catherine who, dying of cancer, encouraged William to clear the slums -- In Darkest England, The Way Out. Roy Hattersley's masterful dual biography is not just the story of two fascinating lives but a portrait of an integral part of our history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349112817
ISBN-10: 0349112819
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 32mm)
Pages: 480
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 5-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Blood and Fire by Roy Hattersley

Book Reviews - Blood and Fire by Roy Hattersley

UK Kirkus Review » Engaging in extensive historical research, writing it down and then publishing it doesn't turn someone into a writer. With Hattersley there is no such problem. You may not agree with his politics, but you won't fail to be gripped by his writing in this, the first dual biography of William and Catherine Booth, founders of the Salvation Army. An extraordinary couple, the Booths typified the passion for improvement which made Victorian England great. He was a self-educated minister of the Methodist New Connexion, with an obsession for the plight of the poor, and she held views on women's equality a century ahead of her time. As a 13-year-old apprentice hurrying to the Nottingham pawnshop to keep his daily encounters with the poverty of the 1840s, William first became aware of the tremendous gulf between the new rich, spawned by the Industrial Revolution, and the ever-present poor whom he was later to describe as the 'submerged tenth' of the population. Two decades later, resigning from a comfortable living, with an invalid wife and a handful of children increasing by the year, William came to Mile End Waste in London's East End, where the poor had never been poorer and their needs had never been greater. He began by preaching in the open air where shows, shooting ranges, petty dealers and quack doctors rivalled each other in attracting the attention of the East-Enders, inauspicious beginnings, from which sprang the Salvation Army, now at work in over 100 countries. As far as historical sources are concerned, Hattersley uses nothing that cannot be found in the plethora of early Booth biographies. What is different is his treatment of the material. Nothing sycophantic here: his assessment of the Booths is as refreshingly blunt as his admiration is genuine: 'As saints they were, at best, second-rate. As human beings they were remarkable by any standards ...' Review by Lieutenant Colonel Jenty Fairbank of the Salvation Army HQ in London (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Roy Hattersley

Lord Hattersley of Sparkbrook was a Labour MP for over thirty years, and served in each of Harold Wilson's governments as well as Jim Callaghan's Cabinet before becoming deputy leader of the Labour Party in 1983. He is now an award-winning journalist and author.

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