A Fiery & Furious People: A History of Violence in England by James Sharpe

By James Sharpe

A TIMES AND SUNDAY TELEGRAPH booklet OF THE YEAR

‘Wonderfully pleasing, complete and astute.’ The Times

‘Sweeping and impressive … Sharpe is a humane and clear-eyed advisor to a chain of intractable and well timed questions.’ Observer

‘A magisterial e-book … The outlaw's tune has absolutely by no means been higher rendered.’ Times Literary Supplement

From the tragic story of Mary Clifford, whose dying by the hands of her supplier scandalised Georgian London, to an account of the violent actions of Victorian Manchester's scuttling gangs, through a personality portrait of the duel-obsessed Cavalier Sir John Reresby, A Fiery & livid People explores the brutal underside of our nationwide existence in all its sort. And because it considers the litany of attacks, murders and riots that pepper our heritage, it additionally lines the sophisticated shifts that experience taken position either within the nature of violence and in people's attitudes to it. Why used to be it, for instance, that wife-beating may possibly instantaneously be at the same time felony and so frowned upon that continual offenders may good turn out being ducked within the village pond? whilst did the serial killer first make an visual appeal within the annals of English crime? How may possibly soccer be looked at one second as a raucous hobby that are meant to be banned, and the subsequent as a good game that are meant to be inspired? What gave upward thrust to specific sorts of violent felony – medieval outlaws, Georgian highwaymen, Victorian garroters – and what made them dwindle after which vanish?

Throughout, Professor James Sharpe attracts on an astonishingly wide selection of fabric – courtroom files and homicide pamphlets, renowned ballads and novels, sermons and flicks – to color bright photographs of the nation's criminals and legal procedure from medieval occasions to the current day. He offers a powerful experience of what it used to be prefer to be stuck up in, say, a road brawl in medieval Oxford or a conflict through the English Civil warfare. And he additionally seeks to reply to possibly the main interesting and basic query of all: is a rustic that has skilled not just consistent aggression on somebody scale but in addition the Peasants' insurrection, the Gordon Riots, the ballot Tax protests and the city unrest of summer season 2011 clearly at risk of violence or are we, in truth, steadily changing into a gentler nation?

Deeply researched, thoughtfully thought of and vividly written … learn it.History Today

Sharpe's eye for element guarantees that the surprise price by no means dwindles. Mail on Sunday ****

‘Deeply considerate and thought-provoking … certainly difficult to place down.’ BBC heritage Magazine

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