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A Brief History of Crime Hardcover – 10 Apr 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Reprint edition (10 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843541483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843541486
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

Politicians have failed to combat the decline in justice and order which now reaches into the lives of almost everyone in modern Britain. Despite much talk of 'tough' legislation and increasing police numbers, governments of both major parties have failed to make the slightest real impact on the problem.

But worse than this they are increasingly turning to repressive and liberty-threatening laws and measures. The English people have never been so surveyed, filmed, filed, recorded and snooped upon. It is as if the entire population is being punished for the crimes of a few.

I fear that this process will end with the extinction of important liberties, while probably still failing to restore peace and order to our streets. It is time for a re-evaluation of conventional wisdom about crime, since the left-liberalism of the late 20th century has plainly failed.

I argue that a return to the concept of punishment, combined with the restoration of preventive policing - on foot - is the only effective answer to the problem which will also preserve the liberties of the citizen. These things need to be accompanied by a moral restoration and a reversal of much of the cultural revolution described in 'The Abolition of Britain' to which, in a way, this is the companion volume.

About the Author

PETER HITCHENS is one of Britain's most famous journalists and polemicists. His last book, The Abolition of Britain, was a hugely popular call for the renovation of the Union of Great Britain, in the face of the centralising challenge of Europe's institutions.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By ch0pper on 29 Jun 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loathe Peter Hitchens.
I loathe his arrogance, his smugness and his patronising manner.
To my astonishment, I found this book to be quite superb.
Hitchens brings his mind to bear on the collapse of British society and the huge increase in crime that has occurred since WW2.
I was really surprised to find that I agree with almost all of his analyses and potential solutions. The book charts the rise of the 'liberal left elite' and the imposition of their social, political and moral standards on what is essentially conservative country, England. The book does not address the issues in Scotland, since it is a different jurisdiction and data is not fully compatible with those available for England & Wales. (Of course, the overwhelming majority of Hitchens' thoughts are applicable to both Scotland and Northern Ireland.)
If you wonder how we came to live in the crime-ridden and discourteous society that we now 'enjoy', then this book will answer many of your questions.
If you are of the left, and more interested in 'rights' than civil society and order, you might find this book hard to swallow. Nonetheless, I would recommend that you sit down and read it. If nothing else, you'll find out how you are going wrong.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Machiavelli on 2 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book will be cordially-loathed by the left-wing, self-styled elite - and very much welcomed by ordinary people who want to feel safe in their homes and on the streets. Much of what is to be found here mirrors experience that many of us today have of the police - I was told by the police when I reported my car stolen that they would issue me with a crime- reference number for the insurance claim but they would not investigate its disappearance. Hitchens raises some very pertinent questions, and rakes over some very interesting historical and contemporary information to make what seems an unanswerable case. This book should be required reading for every police constable, every politician and a vade-mecum for the Home Secretary.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Jericho on 7 Oct 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I live in an area of inner London which has a very high crime rate, and the best recommendation I could give this book is that it describes an England that I recognise intimately from my everyday life. Its description of crime in our big cities and the impotence and indifference towards its besieged inhabitants by the authorities rings absolutely true, from the scream of police car sirens on their way to crimes that have already been committed and the complete absence of policemen and women on foot from the streets for weeks at a time, to the creeping political correctness in the Met that undermines good and effective policing with sinister irrelevance. Contrary to our Guardian-reading friend below, who seems not to have actually bothered reading the book, Hitchens does not suggest bringing back hanging as the starting point for lower crime rates. His first suggestion is a return to preventive policing (as opposed to "fire-brigade" or reactive policing) on foot, which was abandoned in the late 60s when policemen were put into cars. He traces the process whereby this happened in illuminating detail. Liberal prison regimes and their persistent failure either to punish (very un-PC) or rehabilitate the growing prison population are likewise analysed with a useful historical perspective as to how they got that way. Other areas that receive attention are the jury system, drug laws, the death penalty, gun control and the Macpherson report.Read more ›
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book records the decline of order in Britain. It is coherent, rational, well written and above all, indisputable to all but the wilfully blind. That the blame lies with the state is no surprise, but the extent of the change in the state's philosophy towards the criminal is shocking. Hitchens rightly points out that relative poverty is no cause of crime- historic statistics disprove such a notion out of hand. The liberal elite has been responsible for the new idea that criminals cannot be expected to behave. In this philosophy, an entire class of people are therefore treated by the liberal elite as automata, with no free will or responsibility for self or others. A brilliant book (although ultimately depressing), it is however one of the most important books I have read.
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