24 January 2008

John A. Lee's Children of the Poor and Lionel Britton's Hunger and Love

John A. Lee (1891-1981) was a thief and a tramp in his youth, but went on to become a writer, a politician, and one of the most well-known men in New Zealand. His autobiographical Children of the Poor (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1934) was first published anonymously, although Bernard Shaw persuaded Lee to reveal his name in subsequent editions. The above image shows the 1949 edition (London and Auckland, N. Z.: Bernard Henry and N. V. Douglas, 1949), with Shaw's comment on the dust jacket: 'The book is a whopper. Its only rival in intensity is Lionel Britton's "Hunger and Love". Your book has a peculiar poignancy as a record of a life of poverty in the world of the poor, where normal poverty is not disgraceful.'

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