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In Darkest England and the Way Out

William Booth

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .When a master has the choice of a hundred honest men, is it reasonable to expect that he will select a poor fellow with tarnished reputation? All this is true, and it is one of the things that makes the problem almost insoluble. And insoluble it is, I am absolutely convinced unless it is possible to bring new moral life into the soul of these people. This should be the first object of every social reformer, whose work will only last if it is built on the solid foundation of a new birth, to cry "You must be born again."

To get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a University education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labour. You must in some way or other graft upon the man's nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine. All that I propose in this book is governed by that principle.

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Community Reviews

Good as an artifact, wouldn't want to live there.A screed by the founder of the Salvation Army in which he applies metaphors (heathenry, civilization, etc.) from Stanley Livingston's writings on colonial forays into the Congo (tho he has barely any geographic specificity) to the teeming masses of...more

This was an interesting narrative of the social ills of Britain - people living in doorways, sleeping on roundabouts, and causing a nuisance by being visible to the wealthier and pricking their consciences.

Sadly, the setting was the 1870's/18890's and the dichotomy whereby the richest nation in...more

I have given this book 5 stars, not because of how well it is written or how fascinating it is, but because of the scope of Booth’s ambition. At the start, he sets out the problems in society in the UK, comparing it to the darkness of Africa. He considers the jobless, the women and girls with no...more

Brought up a the son of a salvation army officer. Not really religious myself in anyway but thought I'd impress dad by reading it. Must say this mad old crazy looking guy made some fantastic points. He was a real revolutionary who's ideas have stood the test of time. Forget God forget religions j...more

You do not have to be a Salvationist or religious to appreciate this work of none fiction. The point of the book is not about taking up a bell and manning the Christmas kettle outside a shopping mall. The book was authored by William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army. He explains his theory...more

While Karl Marx would probably lacerate the book as some kind of "utopian non-socialism," it is remarkable in being one of the earliest social critiques and programmes from a Christian perspective in the industrial age. Booth, an erstwhile Methodist preacher, was dismissed from the Connection bec...more