This was another irresistible Strand Rare Book Room purchase, partly due to the bombastic, hysterical tone of the cover, and partly because it never, ever, ever acknowledges the GIANT elephant in the room. What might that be, you ask? Why, let’s look at the subheader there:
“THE GREATEST CRIME IN THE WORLD’S HISTORY”.
This book was republished in 1910. Wasn’t there maybe something, say, about 40 years earlier, that might have been just as, if not a tad more great in its magnitude of criminality and immorality? No? You sure? Okay then, onward and upward!
I don’t mean to make light of any form of slavery; the horrors that this book speaks out against are still going on today – if you’d like to see a modern take on the exact message presented here I recommend watching ‘Lilya 4 Ever‘. Human trafficking is a deplorable and shameful practice we all need to help eradicate, especially those of us in countries where these women, and yes, the majority of the victims are still women, are taken.
What gets me about this book is the thick layering of Victorian morality over the message, how once a woman ‘falls from grace’ she’s doomed forever, how she’s to blame for whatever happens to her. Hence the major focus being how to prevent women from falling in the first place, which happens to include bringing down traffickers and making sure ladies are aware of potential traps. Of course, once the trap is sprung, if they’re caught it’s their own fault.
Below is a gallery of all the images from the book – click for comments on each image and a larger view.