After years of saying, like a silly old Luddite, that I would never get a Kindle - I ate my words and I finally got one. The beauty of these things is that classics are virtually all free. I know you know that, but I have only just discovered this.
One of my favourite films of all time is 'Into the Wild', directed by Sean Penn, about Christopher McLandless. Many of Christophers favourite writers were also my own when I was the same age.
One I missed though was Jack London. So I down loaded 'The People of the Abyss' from Kindle for ... £00.00 - and read it over four days.
London spent some time as a young writer 'undercover' in London's east end during 1902, and documented what he experienced and witnessed. His account genuinely shocked me. This area of London had a 55% mortality rate for the under fives. When a child died (not unusual) the body would stay in the tiny room that the family ate and slept in. When the family was asleep, the body would lie on the table that they ate at. When they ate, the body would be moved onto the bed - and so on. This would last for days - long enough for vermin to make it a hell in summer, until the body was taken away. Multiply this by a half a million and you get an idea of the horror that existed only a (albeit long) lifetime ago - four generations.
I think George Osborne should read it. I imagine it would make him nostalgic for the good old days...