'[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.'
--Martin Wiener, Rice University, Journal of Social History
'The popular success of Sarah Wise's The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave-Robbery in the 1830s (London, 2004) demonstrates that there is considerable interest in the more nefarious aspects of nineteenth-century English life. J. 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 1820-70, 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.'
--Jack Anderson, Queens University Belfast, British Journal of Criminology
'In particular, Wood makes fascinating use of trial depositions to reconstruct the elaborate rituals surrounding early nineteenth-century plebeian street fights. In doing so, he brilliantly demonstrates how the conduct of such fights often closely mirrored the rituals of prize-fighting.'
--Jon Lawrence, University of Cambridge, Journal of Victorian Culture
'Some historians of the eighteenth century and earlier may dispute the contention that violence as a social issue was an invention of the early nineteenth century. 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.'
--Alyson Brown, Edge Hill University, Social History
'This book is the product of an impressive and energetic intelligence.'
--Simon Devereaux, University of Victoria, Law and History Review
'Violence and Crime in Nineteenth-Century England is theoretically informed by the ideas of Elias and Foucault and empirically grounded in first-hand accounts of violent acts. This combination of strengths makes it a useful addition to the growing body of work that attempts to explain long-term trends in violence.'
--Ian O'Donnell, University College Dublin, Figurations