on 20 June 2007
I can thoroughly recommend this book. I thought it would be the sort of book to dip into but in the end I read it from cover to cover. It gives the family historian a great insight into issues such as illegitimacy and how it would have been viewed in the past. It is a very entertaining and accessible read without talking down to the reader. All of the chapters were interesting and included children who kill, gay men and women and resrrection men. Reading the chapter on drunkards made me realise how little things change over time and indeed come full circle!
An excellent book to learn from and enjoy.
on 3 October 2009
This is a good overview of certain types of criminal behaviour, provides summaries of some infamous characters and is well illustrated. There are a few pages at the end about sources for the history of crime.
Yet it seems odd that treason and sedition are overlooked, given the wealth of sources available at the National Archives for such crimes. Broadmoor and the criminal insane are not refered to.
The section on sources is a weaker part of the book, and could have been stronger. Detail is minimal; a discussion of different types of archives and their limitations and strengths, would have been useful. The impact of Freedom of Information and the difficulty of obtaining information from the past few decades could have been commented on.
One contentious observation was that our ancestors endured higher levels of violence than we do, but nothing concrete is given to substantiate this.