Empty Cradles (Oranges and Sunshine)
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Empty Cradles (Oranges and Sunshine)

By (author) Margaret Humphreys

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In 1986 Margaret Humphreys, a Nottingham social worker, investigated a woman's claim that, aged four, she had been put on a boat to Australia by the British government. At first incredulous, Margaret discovered that this was just the tip of an enormous iceberg. Up to 150,000 children, some as young as three years old, had been deported from children's homes in Britain and shipped off to a 'new life' in distant parts of the Empire, right up until as recently as 1970. Many were told that their parents were dead, and parents were told that their children had been adopted. In fact, for many children it was to be a life of horrendous physical and sexual abuse far away from everything they knew. Margaret and her team reunited thousands of families before it was too late, brought authorities to account, and worldwide attention to an outrageous miscarriage of justice.

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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 28mm | 281.23g
  • 12 Sep 2011
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Corgi Books
  • London
  • English
  • 2x8 pp
  • 0552165328
  • 9780552165327
  • 5,249

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Author Information

Margaret Humphreys is the Director and founder of the Child Migrants Trust, supported by Nottinghamshire County Council. For her services on behalf of the child migrants, she was awarded the Order of Australia - one of only a few Britons ever to have been so honoured, and she was appointed CBE in the 2011 New Year Honours list . She lives in Nottingham with her husband and two children.

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Review quote

"It is a story that defies belief." Independent "The secrets of the lost children of Britain may never have been revealed if it had not been for [the actions of] Margaret Humphreys." Sunday Times "A modern Florence Nightingale." Sydney Morning Herald "A truly astonishing, haunting, real-life detective story." She (Australia) "Brought tears to my eyes. It is impossible to read...without thinking "These could be my parents. These could be my children."...Despite the sadness and anger at its centre, hope remains the principle message of this remarkable book." The Times

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Customer reviews

An amazing story

I read this book years ago when it first came out and was very moved by it, I re-read it after seeing the movie and loved it even more. While the movie was good, the book has so much more detail and depth. It still astounds me that these children were treated in this fashion and it took so long for someone to tell their story. It is a sad and very emotional book.show more
by Rose Hill

A Must Read

This heartwrenching book is a must read, but be warned you will cry!show more
by Hellen James