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John Carter Wood tells a spellbinding story of murder, using the trials of the accused Beatrice Pace to reflect the nature of celebrity culture, the legal system, and gender relations in s Britain. The fundamental question remains: did Beatrice Pace kill her husband? You will have to read the book to find out! In this thoroughly researched and clearly-argued study, John Carter Wood is not solely concerned with the usual question of whether or not Mrs Pace was guilty. Rather he also focuses on the period's celebrity culture, the role of the press, the development of public interest and the police.

In so doing, he has produced a model for modern social and cultural historians.

A History of Murder

From reviews of Violence and Crime in Nineteenth-Century England : '[This book] provides the closest and most careful analysis yet done of just what violence meant in the everyday life of ordinary Englishmen for much of the nineteenth century. Wood has added a new dimension to our understanding of the history of violence and of the textures and processes of nineteenth-century English society. Carter Wood's book demonstrates that there are also social and cultural historians who are not afraid to contextualize and probe the stated understandings of that era.

The period , although much researched and enriched with primary sources, is a difficult and ambiguous period on which to write well. Wood writes well and he does us all a service when he reminds us that as far as the narrative on the history of violence is concerned, the past has only just happened.

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In doing so, he brilliantly demonstrates how the conduct of such fights often closely mirrored the rituals of prize-fighting. In the same vein, it might be argued that the impact of civilization has been overdrawn. Aside from this, Violence and Crime in Nineteenth-century England successfully crystallizes something essential about the nineteenth century. The complexity of the hypothesis and analysis will make this a difficult read for most undergraduates. However, this sophisticated, scholarly and impressive book will no doubt become indispensable reading for all interested in social order and disorder.

This combination of strengths makes it a useful addition to the growing body of work that attempts to explain long-term trends in violence. Research interests Papers presented Publications.


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Research interests: I'm primarily, I'd say, a "cultural historian," since what connects the various specific projects I'm working on is an interest in what people thought: about themselves, about what they were doing, and about the world around them. In sum, I have three main areas of research.

The cultural history of inter-war Britain. Religious and secular responses in Britain to the European crises of the inter-war period. The history of crime, violence and policing. Pieter Spierenburg has used his own research and others' to illumine the history of murder in the western world over many centuries, combining familiar literary sources with unfamiliar criminal statistics in ways that should appeal to scholars and general readers alike.


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