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Love on the Dole

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  472 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

The novel, depicting a northern English town in the midst of the thirties’ depression, was an instant classic when first published in 1933.

Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 5th 1985 by Penguin Books (first published 1933)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,218)
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May 12, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another book set close to home. This one in set in Salford, during the 1930's. I read this described as Cathy Come Home for the 1930's. Now as much as I think that should be the other way around it is a good comparison.

This tells the story of Harry Hardcastle and his sister Sally. They live in 'Hanky Park' one if Salford's industrial slums. There isn't much cheer here. If I magine the setting I think of something similar to an Adolphe Valette scene. Greys, damp and fog.

Harry has 'ideas
Aug 01, 2011 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1933, 'Love on the Dole' became a huge influence on the British public's view of unemployment and social deprivation, and even prompted an investigation by Parliament, leading to reforms. This is a work of fiction, but is very closely based on the lives of real people - Greenwood himself and the people he grew up with - and later studied from street corners - he always carried a notebook with him to make observations for later use.

Although the lives of the residents of Hanky Park se
Nov 10, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't an easy book to read. Set in the early 20th century in a part of Salford, Hanky Park, that many of my friends still remember, the story is an extreme version of what is going on in Britain today. While we may have a more generous safety net for people who lose their jobs, the attitude of government to those on benefit seems not to have changed. The precedence of capital (the economy) over the rights of workers and the short termism of employers and policy makers that would rather see ...more
Nov 07, 2015 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love on the Dole (1933) might be the last depressing, worthy, important account of the toll and misery of working class poverty I read. Every now and then I suffer flashes of panic that I myself will fall back into it, die poor and struggling. Reading this really doesn't help, and every year older I get the more deeply existential this fear becomes. Especially as I am now too old to escape, like Sal, through becoming a kept woman and making the most of that to help myself and my family.

So though
Elizabeth Sulzby
Love on the Dole is a must-read for students of sociology and class distinction. While it is set in England, it fit quite well with the coal mines in Alabama where I grew up. At the end I compare the sadness in this book with that in The Full Monty, which is advertised in the USA as a "comedy." Wonder what re-viewing that film would elicit from readers in Occupy/99ers.

Greenwood shows how very young boys are brought into factory work before they are of age to work. During those times, they can be
Feb 06, 2012 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The colloquial languaged used by Walter Greenwood adds to the atmosphere of desperation and oppression which permeates throughout this incredible novel. The hopelessness of life and lack of future resonates only too well with the current economic climate, and the characters leap from the page as if people you could have, or might have, met. The book concentrates on the experiences of two children of the Hardcastle family, and the different experiences gender gives to such utter degradation and a ...more
Chris Schmidt
May 06, 2012 Chris Schmidt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this... a wonderfully vivid account of working class life in Salford between the wars. With all the social history of Orwell's 'Road to Wigan Pier' and the reality of Tressell's 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' but with a valuable insight, without excessively heavy political influences, of how life must have been living through true austerity and exploitation. Add to this a strong narrative structure, some beautiful descriptive writing on par with Steinbeck and a cast of characters you ...more
Jan 08, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love on the dole

Walter greenwood

vintage classics

as a novel it stands very high, but it is in its qualities as a social document that its great value lies. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

I thought that I would include that review one of many about the book, a society preoccupied with grinding poverty ! now that sound like any country situated on this earth is it about stock market falling oil prices, no revaluation of country's after the second world war, no.....wrong again may be its ab
A very good novel which also doubles as a sociological portrayal of the misery of poor people in the late 1920s/early 1930s.
Several points of view allow the reader to explore this world of poverty from different angles. The fact that all the dialogues are also written in the dialect the characters speak make the writing vivid as you almost hear them speaking.
I really enjoyed this novel despite it breaking my heart a bit!
Jul 30, 2012 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A great book of 1930s Salford the neighbouring City to Manchester. It shows how hard the life was in Salford and the Hankinson Park area of Salford when the crash of the late 20s came and how disposable life was for the underclass.

It is very much about love, loss and hope for the future, based on real events.

Great read try it
Nov 15, 2015 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political, classics
Tough to read, in terms of the emotional impact, but so important and worthwhile. Despite different geographical locations and periods, it reminded me of Zola's 'Germinal', but with more occasional (and very welcome) humour. The extent of the community's poverty was horrendous, heartbreaking. I loved reading it in the northern dialect, too.

"'Ah, may as well be in bloody prison'. He suddenly wakened to the fact that he was a prisoner. The walls of the shops, houses and places of amusement were h
Jan 16, 2011 Deanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Think this has been done better by other writers in particularly Tressel, reading the dialogue was interesting but it reminded me of my grandparents.
Jan 15, 2011 Kathie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read. The author exposed the era, the cycle of poverty and its effects on working class families so well.
May 19, 2011 LauraJade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was on my reading list at university for my 20th Century Working Class Lit course, along with the likes of Room At The Top, Trainspotting, Up The Junction and a whole host of others - none of which are quick reads!! And as we had to start a new one each week for the lectures and seminars the most I got out of the majority of the books were about five chapters each.

But this was one I most definitely wanted to return to and hurrah, I have finally finished it! Have to say it was worth th
Jul 21, 2012 Nigeyb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently been reading a lot of 1930s-1940s English fiction - most of it set in and around London. It was interesting to shift geographically up to Salford in the North West. Love On The Dole's dialogue is written in a Northern vernacular & it took me a while to adjust.

This book was published in 1933 and there is a wealth of great period detail but it is the overriding impression of grinding, unremitting poverty that is most powerful. The story is fairly predictable and is centred on
Ciaran Mcfadden
Mar 27, 2014 Ciaran Mcfadden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't know why it has taken me so long to getting around to reading this book as it has been on my "to read" list for years.
Well eventually did pick it up and read it and glad that I did. Excellent book .. a very gritty and realistic description of working class life in North West England during the late 20's and early 30's.
Very well written, good story and strong characters .. Recommended !!
Adrian Hunt
I didn't really enjoy this book. It was one depressing thing after another (which was the point, I guess) but somehow the characters didn't convince until perhaps the last 20 pages. The choices the characters had to make all of a sudden made them come alive - so that then they were recognisable human beings rather than devices for a political tract. So not two stars but three.
Ryan Williams
Feb 24, 2014 Ryan Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to get over just how much impact this had, back in its day. Before TV, the Internet, before the kitchen-sink-dramas curdled into tropes, there was this book. It brought the North to the South with the force of a tidal wave.

Oddly fresh, alive, it more than holds its own against Orwell's The Road To Wigan Pier.
Jun 07, 2013 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manchester
It's summed up on the back as a pretty good novel but, a very important piece of social history. I agree. Like reading English Journey, it is a tragic peek into these stolen lives. It makes me angry to think lives could have been so disregarded. The work these people did in making Britain prosperous should be forgotten when times get rough. Ingratitude. Callous ingratitude. And the tories and this bloody coalition government still have this as their model of how things should be. Fat bosses skim ...more
An interesting documentation of working-class struggles in the thirties, and along with well-written characters and a well-constructed plot. I greatly enjoyed reading Greenwood interpretation of a Lancashire (?) accent, it was very realistically written.

The only flaw in this is such a hamartia. The entire plot was spilled across the back making me lose interest in the novel and not want to pick it up.
Jan 31, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FAVOURITE QUOTE: "Sam followed, the smoke from his cigar curling gracefully over his shoulder like the flung ends of a conspirators cloak."
Mar 27, 2015 Glen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book ... Wonderful story ... Enjoyed the film also ...
Charlie Trafford
This is a powerful book of grinding poverty in the North of England, set around Hanky Park which no longer exists, its a brutal yet inspiring tale by Salford man Walter Greenwood.
Matt Micucci
Jun 19, 2009 Matt Micucci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So old yet so near to the social issues of today. The situation may have been even more desperate back then, but it sure ain't better now. The description of the man on the dole is still beautiful and relevant today, and harsh reality that man cannot gulp down. Written very well, it's also interesting to see a lot of the phonetic writing of the dialogue of the book.
Sep 20, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, british
Brutally realistic play of economic oppression and lengths people need to go to in order to escape.
Catherine Evans
It's grim oop North. No, really... it reads like the Monty Python 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch. It also felt really patronising towards the demographics it was trying to portray... and deciding to write all your dialogue in dialect and then translating it in parentheses does not make for an easy read.
Susan Kent
Apr 22, 2011 Susan Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My brother gave this book to my daughter and said the subject matter is relevant today. He was right - young people hanging round on street corners, no jobs and no prospects. I really enjoyed this, but I did find myself reading it with a northern accent. Recommended.
John Weller
Aug 31, 2010 John Weller rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Socialists, northeners
Been meaning to read this book for years. Took me ages to finish it and left me a little disappointed.

Not sure how relevant Larry's ownership of the means of production is these days.

It's grim up north.
Feb 24, 2008 Tommy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good example of what it's like to be poor and have no chance to rise out of your circumstances. Told in relation to a manufacturing town during the depression in early 20th century in England.
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