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Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman [Kindle Edition]

James Sharpe
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Almost everything people know about Dick Turpin and highwaymen is myth. The historical truth is much nastier, more brutal and bloody. As Dick Turpin went to the scaffold in York in 1739 he was determined to look his best. The previous day he had had a new frock coat and pumps delivered to him in the condemned man's cell in York Castle Prison. And he paid £3 and 10 shillings for five men to act as mourners. Who was this notorious highwayman and why did he become so famous? What did he do to become the subject of such extraordinary myths? Most of all, why are highwaymen romantic figures? We have highwayman now: we call them muggers and car-jackers and we don't sing ballads about them or eulogise them for their brave exploits. This is a masterly biography of one of Britain's best-known criminals - but it is also an examination of the cult of the highwayman, of crime in the 18th century and the treatment of criminals. In the absence of any police force how were crimes solved? Who did the detective work? And did the criminals get a fair trial - an important question if you were going to hang from the neck for a relatively minor misdemeanour. Was there a criminal underclass and did people really live in terror of going on the roads at night? Looking at the underbelly of society and the nastier aspects of life that many historians ignore, James Sharpe creates a vivid picture of life on the edges in 18th century Britain.

Product Description


A fine demonstration of how to practice such critical appraisal, and is thoroughly entertaining at the same time…a marvellous tale. -- Literary Review

An engaging work of social history -- Tristam Hunt, The Times

Crisp, colourful and possessed of appropriately large quantities of dash. -- Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

James Sharpe is Professor of History at York University and is the author of The Bewitching of Anne Gunter (Profile) as well as several books on crime and punishment.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4446 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; New edition edition (23 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041G68XC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,269 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stand and Deliver!!! 18 May 2006
James Sharpe has written an interesting book, exploring how society's perception of Dick Turpin (and highwaymen generally)has altered since the 18th Century. Contemporary historical records enable the reader to discover the established facts behind todays romantic, suave, 'lovable-rogue' image. Black Bess and the ride to York, crime and punishment in 18th Century England and the continuous romanticsm of the highwayman legend are also explored.

Very accessible, without being 'dumbed-down'; I really liked it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account of this famous man... 25 Feb. 2004
Theres lots more to this book than meets the eye. Plenty of information on the crimes and punishment of the 18th Century in England to boot as well as the story of the notorious criminal Dick Turpin.
Everyone has heard of him, but do they really KNOW about him? Reading this book you will do. Pictures illustrate this book throughout.
Essential reading for anyone interested and/or studying crime, and is also a lovely book to look at in general. Looks great on a bookshelf. Well researched by a leading expert in criminology and history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD READ. 13 April 2006
unfortunately there aren't too many works on the notorious highwayman so when i accidently came across this book i grabbed it.and im glad i did.

It was well researched and very informative and covers the life and crimes of turpin in good detail, but not only Turpin but other highwaymen of his time.the book includes chapters on the essex gang, and what men like turpin have done to mark history.

this is a good book but if your looking for a biography of turpin then dont bother, but if your looking to learn more on turpin,his life and crimes and men like him then this is a very good place to start.

good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dick Turpin review. 23 Jun. 2014
Am reading atm and have not finished yet.
An excellent read from a professor-makes sense doesn' it?
As I am related to Turpin's victim Thomas Morris and possibly the Essex /Gregory gangs John Wheeler's also,, an absolute gem for me as I am writing a book myself part of which concerns my ancestor(s).
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