Friday, 13 December 2013

The Twelve Reviews of Christmas, part 6

Continuing my pre-Christmas round-up of reviews of my book over the past year...

A couple of very positive things were said about the book even before it was actually published: in the 'blurbs' that were gained by sending out a pre-publication version of the main text to a couple of experts in the field.

So, while they're not technically 'reviews' they certainly have review-like qualities and, in a spirit of Christmas generosity, can be included here.

The two back-of-the-book blurbs we succeeded in getting were from two renowned historians, Clive Emsley (Professor Emeritus of History at the Open University) and Joanna Bourke (Professor of History at Birkbeck College).

I happened to meet Joanna for the first time in 2007 when I was actually giving one of the very first conference papers based upon my then still quite early research into the Pace murder trial. She was enthusiastic about the story from the beginning, becoming one of the many people who were very encouraging along the (long) way from the start of the project to publication.

For her blurb, she wrote: 
'This is history as murder-mystery. 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 1920s Britain. The fundamental question remains: did Beatrice Pace kill her husband? You will have to read the book to find out!'

For anyone interested in crime and policing history, Clive of course needs no introduction. (You can find a review of his latest book -- on the history of crime and the British military -- here.) And he also said some characteristically kind things about my book:

'The trial of Beatrice Pace was one of the most sensational news stories in inter-war Britain. 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.' 

High praise indeed from someone whose work has been influential on my own development as a historian of crime and justice.

Clive also very generously gave a speech at the shared book launch event for The Most Remarkable Woman in England and two other crime-history related titles from Manchester University Press last year. 

Seems like ages ago now, but it was only last year...

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