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Criminal: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things by [Gash, Tom]
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Criminal: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 275 pages

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Review

Serious, but so startling that it is hugely readable, too. (James McConnachie, The Times Books of the Year)

Crime is mostly opportunistic, and the best way to reduce it is to lessen the opportunities for committing crimes. Gash provides some compelling evidence in favour of this view ... Accessible yet well-referenced ... Gash mentions many cardinal facts that are often missed altogether, or whose significance is insufficiently appreciated. (Theodore Dalrymple The Times)

An arresting take on law-breaking ... At once detailed and readable, Criminal shows crime is as complicated as most kinds of human behaviour. (Andrew Neather Evening Standard)

Rigorously analytical (Dominic Lawson Sunday Times)

A richly researched, supremely sane discussion of the causes of and ways of preventing crime ... Gash's important book may well change your attitude to criminality and the justice system (PD Smith Guardian)

Tom Gash takes eleven myths favoured by the right or left and does an effective job in demolishing them. By the end you might be persuaded that we don't need more bobbies on the beat or that crime, despite shocking headlines, isn't rising (Robbie Millen The Times)

About the Author

Tom Gash is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Mannheim School of Criminology at the London School of Economics. A regular contributor to debates on public policy and current affairs, he writes for the Independent, Guardian and Financial Times, and speaks frequently on television and radio advocating improvements in crime policy and wider public sector management. Tom has been an adviser to a range of crime policy reviews, including the Flanagan Review of Policing and the UK Drug Policy Commission.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9911 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846145937
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 May 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01DN8L1I0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #131,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A meticulously researched book that powerfully challenges many of the entrenched beliefs and assumptions that are commonly held about crime (including a couple of my own). The alternatives he puts forward seem all the more plausible and persuasive due to his recognition of the complexity of the topic and the provisional and balanced manner he goes about arguing for them. The only thing that I found jarred a little was the title which I feel is perhaps somewhat at odds with the sceptical, pragmatic approach adopted in the book itself. But I’m nit-picking, it was a joy to read and although ethics are barely mentioned I found the book very moral in a subtle way, posing at times some very challenging questions about how we should think about crime. I would highly recommend it not only for experts in the field but also for ordinary citizens like me (and arguably the majority of us) who hold strong opinions about the subject.
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Format: Paperback
There is an awful lot of good sense in this book. Gash takes a series of verities, from both the political right and the left, and punctures them. Crime is not rising, Immigrants do not commit more crimes. Leopards do change their spots - i.e. once a criminal, then not always a criminal. People do go straight. Against the readers of the Daily Mail, he finds that tougher sentences do not deter crime and neither do more bobbies on the beat. It's not the numbers that count. It's how the police are used. On the other hand, against the orthodoxies found in the liberal club, he finds no obvious relationship between poverty and crime and that crime can fall dramatically, in the absence of radical social reforms, in response to simple policy tweaks.

The book gives no end of food for thought. If there is an quibble, then it is in his rhetorical presentation of slaying myths. The evidence does not allow him to slay various myths conclusively - for example, that biology causes crime. What it does do - he himself admits this in the chapter on the relationship between police numbers and crime, - is that the evidence does not unambiguously support widely accepted claims about crime. So for instance he dismisses the link between biology and crime as a myth when in fact there is plenty of good evidence to support such a link. It is that the evidence used to support it is not conclusive in all instances and can be subject to confounding factors. But there is enough evidence to make it unwise to dismiss the link as a mere myth. He makes no mention of the strong relationship between gender and violent crime - 90 per cent of violent offences are committed by men.

The book is also a bit weak on motivation and why people commit crime.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating and convincing. Full of well-researched insights and meticulously referenced sources, this book will undoubtedly lead anyone to reconsider their views, whether they're of the hang-'em-and-flog-'em persuasion, or the "it's all the fault of society (poverty/inequaity/bad parenting/etc etc)" line. Engagingly written, it would be a surprisingly gripping read even on the beach.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent read. Base in evidence that is well presented, this book challenges all the assumptions about crime.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’m probably not the obvious choice as someone who’d read about crime but having lived in a part of London which has seen a lot of crime and subsequent transformation, there was a lot that was relevant to my experiences. Thought-provoking and full of stories and examples, it’s fun and accessible and quite frankly, cuts through a lot of the crap that we often see portrayed by media. It’s certainly made me think more questioningly about what’s being said about crime before I make up my own decision.
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Format: Paperback
Criminal

Crime is a fascinating subject; in one way or another, it touches our lives daily. Vast sums of public money are expended on the criminal justice system whether, for example, on policing, court process or custodial institutions. We're all familiar with stark press headlines and graphic photos which attempt to persuade us that we're living in the lawless badlands. We're instilled with fear; taught almost by rote that certain ethnic groups pose a violent threat to the great and the good. Bad people chose to do bad things and good people must suffer the consequences. The other common perception is that crime results from poor social conditions, in other words, people are forced into bad life choices because they've suffered deprivation. It's not their fault and things would be different if their circumstances hadn't forced them into this behaviour.

In Criminal, Tom Gash considers both sides of this diametrically opposed paradigm and draws a very different and interesting conclusion. His approach is refreshing and readable. He presents both sides of a flawed rationale in a reasoned way, citing examples and I found his conclusions both interesting and relevant.

To be fair, this isn't a title that I'd have come across in my usual reading. I was given an ARC edition by the Bookmarks team from Penguin Random House as a gift. But serendipity works in strange ways and it proved a fascinating and very accessible read. It's filled with literary reference, showing the extent to which society reacts according to 'type'. I've been directly involved in both the judicial and legal system in the course of work. I was often frustrated by conditioned expectation and the fallacy on which much is based and vast sums are expended.
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