“Eighteenth-century London contained more prostitutes than anywhere else in Europe. In this fascinating account of sex and the Georgian city, Dan Cruickshank suggests that one woman in five was involved in some way with the sex industry.”
There are many other jaw-dropping secrets of the Georgian underworld uncovered in this highly readable, but clearly meticulously researched book. Yet what stops it becoming a catalogue of humanity’s seemingly endless appetite for exploitation of its own kind is Cruickshank’s unmistakable sympathy for the women who became ensnared in the sex trade. For a lucky few, it could be a passport to a life of luxury, but for the vast majority the trajectory was the downwards one described in Hogarth’s Harlot’s Progress.