[Review] Doctor Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children by Martin Levy
Author: Martin Levy
Publisher: Amberley June 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, biography, Victorian society, poverty, children
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (3 Stars is good)
Source: Free copy from Amberley for the purpose of review.
Doctor Thomas John Barnardo was born in Ireland in 1845. He was not a strong student; but qualified for and studied medicine in London. As a young man he became a devout evangelical with a mission minded focus for poor children. In the East End of London he began working with children. He established a home for boys and later a home for girls. He was a man short in physical stature; however, a man tall in compassion and kindness.
The strength in Doctor Barnardo is its content and the research accomplished by Martin Levy. He interviewed Barnardo's family, poured through historical records. In addition, Levy grew up in this area of London and knew its history and people.
Several other historical people and topics are introduced: William Booth and his ministry,
J. Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, Children Act of 1908, illnesses and diseases affecting children in 19th century, society abuse of handicapped children, streetwise older children, education improvements.
What I disliked about the book is the sardonic tone at times. It is the authors writing style to talk to the reader and answer. For some readers this might not be a problem, for me it was unnecessary.
"We can never allow ourselves to think that with all this going on he ever lost sight of his original aim. At heart he was always a Christian evangelical missionary. At the heart of what he did was the central idea that he was working for the good of the children's souls by sorting out their lives." page 87-88.