Top positive review
on 13 October 2014
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.