Book review: The Profligate Son, by Nicola Phillips
Sunday 10 November 2013
A wealthy gentleman’s son, William Jackson (1791-1828), went seriously to the bad. His short life was one long round of drink, women, and debt – which meant debtors’ prisons and then transportation to Australia where, despite considerable luck, he eventually died, drunk and alone, on a Sydney street aged 38.
Jackson senior, meanwhile, disowned his only son. The boy had miserably failed to rectify the shortcomings of his father, a former East India Company man with blots on his copybook. As in so many families, the father/son relationship in this case was complex and dogged by inflexibility and the total inability of either man to understand the other’s problems. Nicola Phillips’s excellently researched book ensures that, 200 years later, we see both points of view and she is especially good at comparing William’s difficulties with those facing young people today, as well as using his tragic story to illuminate Regency attitudes.
Phillips is also strong and graphic on the horrifying experience of imprisonment on hulks and transport ships which, in William’s case, aboard the Surry [sic], included corrupt leadership, lice, rats, typhus, and the death of most of the senior crew as the vessel confronted the storms in the Tasman Sea.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
- 3 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election