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Oh Happy Day

Those Times and These Times

Author: Carmen Callil  

Paperback

Carmen Callil explores her roots in a book that is a miracle of research and whose writing is fuelled by righteous anger - a story of Empire, migration and the poverty and injustices of nineteenth-century England.

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Paperback

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

Carmen Callil explores her roots in a book that is a miracle of research and whose writing is fuelled by righteous anger - a story of Empire, migration and the poverty and injustices of nineteenth-century England.

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Description

Carmen Callil explores her roots in a book that is a miracle of research and whose writing is fuelled by righteous anger - a story of Empire, migration and the poverty and injustice of nineteenth-century England

In this remarkable book, Carmen Callil discovers the story of her British ancestors, beginning with her great-great-grandmother Sary Lacey, born illegitimate in 1808, an impoverished stocking frame worker in Leicestershire. Through detailed research, we follow Sary from slum to tenement and from pregnancy to pregnancy. We also meet George Conquest, a canal worker and the father of one of Sary's children. George was sentenced - for stealing a piece of hemp - to seven years' transportation to Australia, where he faced the extraordinary brutality of convict life. Meanwhile, Mary Ann Brooks and her father John, a silversmith, travel across the seas from Lincolnshire to escape the Workhouse and life as a skivvy.

But for George, as for so many destitute and disenfranchised British people like him, Australia turned out to be his Happy Day. He survived, prospered and eventually returned to England, where he met Sary again, after nearly thirty years. He brought her out to Australia, and they were never parted again.

Carmen Callil not only reclaims from obscurity the lives of these ordinary men and women who were sent to Australia as convicts or domestic servants, but also draws telling parallels for our own times. Oh Happy Day is a moving story of poverty, social injustice, Empire and migration.

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Critic Reviews

An absorbing account of empire, migration, the poverty of injustice and enduring love... The book bristles with Callil's righteous anger at the injustices meted out to her forbears, and at the parallels for our own times. -- Caroline Sanderson The Bookseller

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About the Author

Carmen Callil was born in Australia but has spent most of her career in the United Kingdom. She founded Virago Press in 1973 and in 1982 became managing director of Chatto & Windus. Her first book, Bad Faith- A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award.

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Product Details

Publisher
Vintage Publishing | Jonathan Cape Ltd
Published
1st January 1900
Pages
368
ISBN
9780224090315
$34.20
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