The Roots of Evil: A Social History of Crime and Punishment

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In this age of burgeoning prison populations, of fascination with details of crime whether by psychopaths or politicians, this re-issue of Christopher Hibbert's classic social history of crime and punishment is timely. The author's immensely readable narrative takes the reader through the lurid story of crime, detection, conviction and punishment. He discusses murder as a lust and murder as a trade: mutilation, torture, lynching and flogging: the guillotine, the gallows and the gas chamber; outlaws of the forest and the street; the Surete,Scotland Yard and the FBI; sexual crimes,police corruption and under-age offenders. From the Dark Ages to the measured steps to the reform of penal sanctions of more recent years, this balanced guide to society's ills is a compelling read.Throughout, Hibbert argues that cruel punishments will inevitably have the effect of creating cruelty. There is no book like Hibbert's currently available: intelligent, wide-ranging and accessible. The issues of crime and punishment and of society's responsibilities in this regard continue to be debated and popular culture seems to be obsessed with crime. Liverpool University reports something like a hundred applicants for every place on its criminal profiling course. Hibbert's engrossing and eminently balanced account has never been more timely.

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£9.99  £9.49
The History Press Ltd
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