The People of the Abyss

Jack LONDON (1876 - 1917)

Jack London lived for a time within the grim and grimy world of the East End of London, where half a million people scraped together hardly enough on which to survive. Even if they were able to work, they were paid only enough to allow them a pitiful existence. He grew to know and empathise with these forgotten (or ignored) people as he spoke with them and tasted the workhouse, life on the streets, ... and the food, which was cheap, barely nutritious, and foul.

He writes about his experiences in a fluid and narrative style, making it very clear what he thinks of the social structures which created the Abyss, and of the millionaires who live high on the labours of a people forced to live in squalor. "... The food this managing class eats, the wine it drinks, ... the fine clothes it wears, are challenged by eight million mouths which have never had enough to fill them, and by twice eight million bodies which have never been sufficiently clothed and housed."

(Summary by Peter Yearsley)

Genre(s): Business & Economics, Social Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - Preface; Chapter One - The Descent Peter Yearsley
00:20:06
Play 02 02 - Chapter Two - Johnny Upright Peter Yearsley
00:07:57
Play 03 03 - Chapter Three - My Lodging and Some Others Peter Yearsley
00:06:53
Play 04 04 - Chapter Four - A Man and the Abyss Peter Yearsley
00:15:49
Play 05 05 - Chapter Five - Those on the Edge Peter Yearsley
00:11:30
Play 06 06 - Chapter Six - Frying-Pan Alley and a Glimpse of Inferno Peter Yearsley
00:12:29
Play 07 07 - Chapter Seven - A Winner of the Victoria Cross Peter Yearsley
00:10:35
Play 08 08 - Chapter Eight - The Carter and the Carpenter Peter Yearsley
00:22:14
Play 09 09 - Chapter Nine - The Spike Peter Yearsley
00:26:38
Play 10 10 - Chapter Ten - Carrying the Banner Peter Yearsley
00:08:21
Play 11 11 - Chapter Eleven - The Peg Peter Yearsley
00:21:06
Play 12 12 - Chapter Twelve - Coronation Day Peter Yearsley
00:25:19
Play 13 13 - Chapter Thirteen - Dan Cullen, Docker Peter Yearsley
00:09:40
Play 14 14 - Chapter Fourteen - Hops and Hoppers Peter Yearsley
00:14:52
Play 15 15 - Chapter Fifteen - The Sea Wife Peter Yearsley
00:07:24
Play 16 16 - Chapter Sixteen - Property versus People Peter Yearsley
00:09:23
Play 17 17 - Chapter Seventeen - Inefficiency Peter Yearsley
00:11:54
Play 18 18 - Chapter Eighteen - Wages Peter Yearsley
00:11:33
Play 19 19 - Chapter Nineteen - The Ghetto Peter Yearsley
00:25:34
Play 20 20 - Chapter Twenty - Coffee-Houses and Doss-Houses Peter Yearsley
00:17:50
Play 21 21 - Chapter Twenty One - The Precariousness of Life Peter Yearsley
00:18:31
Play 22 22 - Chapter Twenty Two - Suicide Peter Yearsley
00:13:58
Play 23 23 - Chapter Twenty Three: The Children Peter Yearsley
00:11:35
Play 24 24 - Chapter Twenty Four: A Vision of the Night Peter Yearsley
00:06:43
Play 25 25 - Chapter Twenty Five: The Hunger Wail Peter Yearsley
00:14:33
Play 26 26 - Chapter Twenty Six: Drink, Temperance and Thrift Peter Yearsley
00:13:53
Play 27 27 - Chapter Twenty Seven: The Management Peter Yearsley
00:11:49