A Dirty, Filthy Book

A Dirty, Filthy Book: Sex, Scandal, and One Woman’s Fight in the Victorian Trial of the Century

19th Century Britain
Hardback Published on: 08/02/2024
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London, 1877. A petite young woman stands before an all-male jury, about to risk everything. She takes a breath, and opens her defence.

Annie Besant and her confidant Charles Bradlaugh are on trial for the sordid crime of publishing and selling a birth control pamphlet. Remarkably – forty-five years before the first woman will be admitted to the English bar – Annie is defending herself. Before Britain’s highest judge she declares it is a woman’s right to choose when, and if, to have children. At a time when women were legally and socially subservient to men, Annie’s defiant voice was a sensation. The riveting trial scandalised newspapers, captivated the British public and sparked a debate over morals, censorship and sex.

Drawing on unpublished archives, private papers and courtroom transcripts – and featuring an incredible cast including Queen Victoria, George Bernard Shaw and London itself – A Dirty, Filthy Book tells the gripping story of a forgotten pioneer who refused to accept the role the Establishment assigned to her. Instead, she chose to resist.

  • Publisher: Ebury Publishing
  • ISBN: 9780753559925
  • Number of pages: 400
  • Weight: 629g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 36 mm

Customer Reviews

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A Dirty, Filthy Book
Educational and entertaining
I read an eARC of this book so thank you to the author, the publisher and Net Galley. I learned so much reading this book, it was a real pleasure. I was... READ MORE
Jennifer Charlton
A Dirty, Filthy Book
A very engaging read about a neglected historical figure
Annie Besant and her close friend Charles Bradlaugh are put on trial in 1877 for publishing 'a dirty, filthy book': a pamphlet written by Charles Knowlton ... READ MORE
Alex JK
A Dirty, Filthy Book
I shall be recommending and am recommending this book to everyone.
A 5 Star book that reveals a 5 Star lady, Annie Besant, who has been largely overlooked for more than a Century. Her contributions to the current quality o... READ MORE
Jon Jonnson
A Dirty, Filthy Book
Fascinating history
This book interested me enormously, I don't often read non-fiction but I'm really glad I picked this up. 'A Dirty, Filthy Book' is a description of a pa... READ MORE
Lucy Williams
A Dirty, Filthy Book
Worth reading.
A book with a difference. Annie Besant a name that I did not know until I read the book. A lady of the time, who really was the start of the women's righ... READ MORE
Julie Watt
A Dirty, Filthy Book
A book about a Very Important Woman
Michael Meyer’s A Dirty, Filthy Book is an excellent exposition of the life of Annie Besant (1847-1933). Annie was married to an abusive older husband, Fra... READ MORE
Colin Edwards
A Dirty, Filthy Book
a dirty filthy book by Michael Meyer
This book took me by surprise. I had never heard of Annie Besant, a Victorian reformer, and as I read about her struggles i felt increasingly angry. In add... READ MORE
Ray Jenkin