- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (2 Mar. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241960436
- ISBN-13: 978-0241960431
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
80,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #34 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Applied Psychology > Criminal & Forensic Psychology
- #226 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Social & Developmental Psychology > Social
- #355 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Law & Disorder > Criminology
Criminal: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things Paperback – 2 Mar 2017
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Serious, but so startling that it is hugely readable, too. (James McConnachie, The Times Books of the Year)
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
But many of the myths that Gash discusses seem very easy targets, consisting of little more than crude, caricatured images of crime. I doubted myself the value of focusing on these 'myths' particularly since because they seemed often to distort the discussion in order to counter semi-hysterical headlines in the tabloid press.
Nor is the rebuttal of these myths always wholly convincing. I was sometimes left with an uneasy feeling that, despite his extensive lists of notes and references, Gash had not fully grasped the complexities of some of the subjects he discussed or else was too heavily reliant on anecdotes, the odd interview and TV documentaries.
And I'm not sure that the book sheds much light on 'why people do bad things'.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating and enjoyable insight into crime. With clear and concise prose Gash's arguments are always easy to follow and yet distinctly challenging to one's pre-conceptions about... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
A highly intelligent, readable and convincing analysis of criminality. Tom Gash reveals the variety of factors which influence criminal behaviour - alienation, addiction to risk,... Read morePublished 10 months ago by tecnobuff
Purchased this for my daughter in law. She is very interested in this subject and is very engrossed in the book.Published 10 months ago by Catherine
I recently took on a new role as CEO of a UK Criminal Justice charity and was given this book as a 'seminal' introduction to the current state of play in the sector. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Compelling. I've been thinking about this subject for years and Gash's book offered a whole new angle on things. Read morePublished 11 months ago by MR A R J WEST
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