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4.4 out of 5 stars
Crime City: Manchester's Victorian Underworld
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2008
Great book, this one, on the Victorian Underworld of Manchester. Couldn't put it down, yet it would be easy to dip in and out of if you wish. I like the way the book is divided up into sections. Crime, Squalor, Criminals, Conmen, Pubs, Killers, Police, etc.

Quite a lot of names are mentioned. There was no index which bothered me at first as I couldn't look up if my Police Superintendent ancestor was mentioned (he wasn't unfortunately). But it is such a good book and effortless to read that I couldn't put it down anyway and got through it in a couple of days.

Very entertaining in parts, particularly the Conmen and how they worked the streets of Manchester! Some good social history on the squalor and deprivation of the city and how it led to crime in Victorian times.

Seems like crime was just as big a part of the city as it is today; just different!

Good read. Gripping little book!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2008
Having left my native Manchester some 30 years ago, I was intrigued to come across Joseph O'Neill's "Crime City", a book about Manchester's Victorian underworld.

After some deliberation I decided to buy the book. I was not disappointed.

The author transports you back to the streets of Manchester during the 1800's. He recreates the atmosphere in graphic detail and explores every crime, con and scam imaginable which were prevalent during this period.

It is clear that the book has been painstakingly researched and O'Neill skilfully examines the issues raised by crime from the villain to the policeman's point of view.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history, crime and punishment and for those wishing to learn about the underworld of the Victorian era.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2009
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Easy to read, informative and entertaining. Couldn't put it down. Would happily recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2013
Crime whether old or new is still very much about one's upbringing, not necessarily about the haves and have not’s as crime spreads right through from the affluent to the most poorest, I guess they just like to call it a different name and hand out different sentences depending on who, where and what!

The book was a great read and rather riveting that kept me turning the pages and wanting to learn more.

For real fans of True Crime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2009
this is the third book from amazon on the topography of victorian manchester. it has proved excellent in my research into the sociological aspects of this period
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2013
I loved this book and learned all kinds of intersting stuff about my favourite city. One of the great things about it was the fact that whilst reading about the crime and depravity in Manchesters grimy 19th century streets I found myself looking up the various locations on google maps (a bit sad I know ) but it can be interesting especially when you find that some of the buildings referenced are actually still standing and also when you find yourself saying 'I've been down that street'
A great read for anyone interested in Manchester and it's darker history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2012
recommend by a friend great read, gives information of crime from the past and punishment of crime, speedy delivery, well packed no problems here, title has been passed on thank you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2014
A gripping thoroughly enjoyable read
fast paced insightful and thought provoking
read with some truly awful blagards and nefarious ner do wells charlatans and other misanthrope you wouldn't
like to ever meet being a Mancunian myself it really was
a pleasure to here about all the places I have known all
my life brought to life in the Victorian era
when people complain about hood's today they should read this excellent book.
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A lively and quite well written tour of criminal Manchester during the Victorian period. The research is solid, drawing on (I believe) newspaper accounts of the time, various periodicals, court records, police reports and so on.

There is plenty of background on social conditions, which is highly relevant, although at times there was a sense of repetition around the discussions of Irish immigrants and perceptions thereof. The coverage of the workhouse was also relevant to a degree, but some may prefer the material to focus more closely on the criminal theme all the way through. Similarly, we seem to drift away from Manchester specifically in some sections, but this is not a fatal flaw.

What the book does very well is reveal to the reader a state of affairs that almost seems worse than it is today. Brothels and dog-fighting galore, muggings, shootings, and gang fights.... and if you think binge drinking is a contemporary phenomenon, think again.

A colourful and lively account that is easy to read, if not always razor sharp in style and structure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
It has always been bad in Manchester but till I read this book I never realised just how bad it really used to be. A bit of an eyeopener this book and I'm just glad I wasnt around in the Victorian age.
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