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Call the Midwife : A True Story of the East End in the 1950s - Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife

A True Story of the East End in the 1950s

Paperback

Published: 1st May 2008
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Published: 14th May 2009
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A fascinating slice of social history - Jennifer Worth's tales of being a midwife in 1950s London

Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction.

Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.

About the Author

Jennifer Worth trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and was later ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London, then the Marie Curie Hospital, also in London. Music had always been her passion, and in 1973 she left nursing in order to study music intensively, teaching piano and singing for about twenty-five years. Jennifer died in May 2011 after a short illness, leaving her husband Philip, two daughters and three grandchildren. Her books have all been bestsellers.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Call the Midwife
 
4.7

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well written (6)
  • Easy to understand (5)
  • Informative (5)
  • Inspirational (5)
  • Deserves multiple readings (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Older readers (6)
  • Gift (5)
  • Reference (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Bookworm (4), Everyday reader (4)

Reviewed by 9 customers

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5.0

Loved this glimpse into our past

By 

from NSW

About Me Everyday Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about Call the Midwife:

      I loved this book and the rest of the series. It was an accurate glimpse into a portion of our history that we just do not get to see. These women were determined to make changes to improve the welfare of women having babies, how lucky we are that they existed.

      Comment on this review

       
      4.0

      Eye opening

      By 

      from Rockhampton, Queensland

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Informative
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Older Readers
        • Reference

        Comments about Call the Midwife:

        Makes me grateful for modern obstetric medicine

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        A social history

        By 

        from Sydney

        About Me Bookworm

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Understand
        • Informative
        • Inspirational
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Reference

          Comments about Call the Midwife:

          The author lived and worked as a midwife in the 1950's in London's Docklands. It is a glimpse in to the sad, harsh and often heroic lives and lifestyle of a past generation. Docklands are now undergoing boutique re-development, if only the current generation of home owners and tourists knew of the ghosts of the past in areas they now work and live.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Brilliantly written, an emotional read

          By 

          from Sydney

          About Me Casual Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Understand
          • Inspirational
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Older Readers
            • Younger Readers

            Comments about Call the Midwife:

            Great insight into the tragic circumstances of the poor and those that survived incredible hardship. Makes you appreciate today.

            Comment on this review

             
            4.0

            Interesting slice of history

            By 

            from Bunbury

            About Me Everyday Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Understand
            • Informative
            • Inspirational
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Everyone
              • Gift
              • Older Readers
              • Travel Reading

              Comments about Call the Midwife:

              Bought this for my book club. It was perfect because each chapter is its own story so you can put it down and pick it up later, and it was an interesting and easy read for busy people. Everyone liked the book (rare!) and we had a great discussion on all the topics raised in the book. It has funny stories, sad stories and almost unbeleivable stories in it - what an amazing life the author had. I loved the TV series and also loved the book. Recommended.

              Comment on this review

               
              5.0

              Fabulous -couldn't put it down

              By 

              from Haven, Vic

              About Me Bookworm

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Almost Unbelievable
              • Deserves Multiple Readings
              • Easy To Understand
              • Fascinating
              • Informative
              • Inspirational
              • Relevant
              • Well Written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Gift
                • Older Readers
                • Reference
                • Reminiscence
                • Special Needs

                Comments about Call the Midwife:

                Your service is unbeatable. Ordered on Sunday and it arrived at the local PO on Wednesday. Thank you

                Comment on this review

                 
                4.0

                Well worth reading

                By 

                from melbourne, AU

                About Me Everyday Reader

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Informative

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Older Readers

                  Comments about Call the Midwife:

                  A well written book giving the reader a much better understanding of the 40's and 50's in England

                  Comment on this review

                   
                  5.0

                  Loved it!!!

                  By 

                  from Bendigo

                  About Me Bookworm

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Deserves Multiple Readings

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Call the Midwife:

                      I couldn't put this down once I started it, Jennifer tells the story so well, can't wait to read the next book!!

                      Comment on this review

                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      fascinating reading

                      By 

                      from Launceston

                      About Me Everyday Reader

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Deserves Multiple Readings
                      • Easy To Understand
                      • Inspirational
                      • Well Written

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Gift
                        • Older Readers
                        • Travel Reading

                        Comments about Call the Midwife:

                        Wonderfully written, gives a true insight into the dificulties and struggles experienced by the families who lived in the East End and also the true dedication of the Midwives.

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                        Worth's books are full of fascinating social history: about living conditions in east London, the scale of poverty and violence, the realities of postwar medicine and the workhouse NEW STATESMAN

                        ISBN: 9780753823835
                        ISBN-10: 0753823837
                        Audience: General
                        Format: Paperback
                        Language: English
                        Number Of Pages: 368
                        Published: 1st May 2008
                        Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
                        Country of Publication: GB
                        Dimensions (cm): 19.5 x 13.1  x 2.5
                        Weight (kg): 0.27
                        Edition Number: 1