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This introductory book offers a coherent history of twentieth century crime and the law in Britain, with chapters on topics ranging from homicide to racial hate crime, from incest to anarchism, from gangs to the death...

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This introductory book offers a coherent history of twentieth century crime and the law in Britain, with chapters on topics ranging from homicide to racial hate crime, from incest to anarchism, from gangs to the death penalty. Pulling together a wide range of literature, David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday reveal the evolution of attitudes towards criminality and the law over the course of the twentieth century. Highlighting important periods of change and development that have shaped the overall history of crime in Britain, the authors provide in-depth analysis and explanation of each theme.

This is an ideal companion for undergraduate students taking courses on Crime in Britain, as well as a fascinating resource for scholars.

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  • Offers an academic yet accessible introduction to contemporary crime and the law in the century of democracy
  • Prepares the reader for the methodological issues associated with the comparative history of crime in the United Kingdom in the twentieth century
  • Provides a thorough grounding in the historiography and chronology of crime, law and punishment in twentieth century Britain
  • Gives a detailed and insightful synthesis of important research in the field
  • Introduces the relation of crime to the development and function of media forms and industries
  • Organised thematically rather than chronologically
  • Examines the commonality of experience in Britain and the ripple-effect of many events, policies and ideas across its constituent countries


Introduction: Britain in the Twentieth Century, David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday
Britain's Most 'Wanted': Homicide and Serial Murder since 1900, Anne-Marie Kilday
Serious Property Offending in the Twentieth Century, Lucy Williams and Barry Godfrey
Racial Hate Crime in Britain, David Nash.- Offences Against Children: Incest and Child Sexual Abuse, Kim Stevenson
Anarchism, Assassination and Terrorism in Modern Britain, Johannes Dillinger
‘Hope I Die Before I Get Too Old’: Social Rebellion and Social Diseases, Clifford Williamson
Organised Crime, Criminality and the ‘Gangster', Heather Shore
Punishment: The Death Penalty and Incarceration, Helen Johnston
Law Enforcement: Policies and Perspectives, Neil Davie

Murder and Mayhem provides a timely and accessible study of crime and criminality in twentieth-century Britain. Exploring and contextualising key themes in the history of crime, the text is an invaluable resource for students and researchers alike. – Samantha Pegg, Nottingham Law School, UK
Every student of twentieth-century British crime should read this book. Written by experts in the field, each chapter addresses a key theme in the history of crime and criminal justice. Not only do the chapters summarise what we know, but also what we don't about the chosen themes. Students looking for research project ideas will find plenty to inspire them. – Mark Roodhouse, University of York, UK
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ANNE-MARIE KILDAY is Principal Lecturer in History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She researches and publishes on the history of violent crime and the history of female criminality since the early modern period.

DAVID NASH is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He has published extensively in the areas of the history of blasphemy, blasphemous libel and religious crime for over fifteen years. He is also author of Cultures of Shame: Exploring Crime and Morality in Britain 1650-1900 with Anne-Marie Kilday, with whom he co-edited Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000.

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ANNE-MARIE KILDAY is Principal Lecturer in History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She researches and publishes on the history of violent crime and the history of female criminality since the early modern period.

DAVID NASH is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He has published extensively in the areas of the history of blasphemy, blasphemous libel and religious crime for over fifteen years. He is also author of Cultures of Shame: Exploring Crime and Morality in Britain 1650-1900 with Anne-Marie Kilday, with whom he co-edited Histories of Crime: Britain 1600-2000.

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