"Internet Law Book Reviews", Provided by Rob Jerrard LLB LLM (London)
Pen & Sword Books Reviewed in 2014
Notorious Prisons of the World
Author: Stephen Wade
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Publication Date: 21st Jan 2014
Publisher's Title Information
The first prisons were in the dungeons of empires and castles, places of neglect and sheer oblivion. Every civilization has had its dissenters and its 'deviants' - criminals as well as political offenders, and so prisons became essential to the retention of power. As the centuries passed after classical times, and prisons were needed for other categories of person, such as debtors, states across the world began to cater for a variety of prisoners, and legal systems became more closely linked to incarceration. The World's Most Notorious Prisons traces this development, from the state prisons of Athens and Rome, through to the birth of the house of correction and the penitentiary. Stephen Wade tells the stories of the infamous penal colonies and state prisons across the stage of world history, from Alcatraz to Van Dieman's Land, and from the Siberian gulags to the massive superjails of modern America.
The book traces the stories of inmates and staff, political regimes and the rise and fall of empires, all seen through the prison walls. The history of prisons, as is often noted, throws light on the human political and state structures which generated punishments which have taken away individual freedom, sometimes with a degree of humanitarian concern, and sometimes with sheer barbarism.
As featured on BBC Radio Lincolnshire
Breach of Promise to Marry, A History of How Jilted Brides Settled Scores
Publisher's Title Information
The Marriage date was fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came but not the bridegroom...'
While Dickens' embittered spinster Miss Havisham stopped all her clocks on her wedding day and 'never since looked upon the light of day', the reality was much brighter for thousands of jilted women. The real Miss Havisham's didn't mope in faded wedding finery - they hired lawyers and struck the first 'no-win, no fee' deals to sue for breach of promise.
From the 1790s right up to the 1960s, jilted women (and sometimes rejected suitors) employed a range of tactics to bring false lovers to book. Denise Bates uncovers over 1,000 forgotten cases of women who found very different endings to their fictional counterparts:
Mary Ann Smith forged evidence of a courtship to entrap an Earl. Catherine Kempsall shot the man who denied their engagement, Gladys Knowles was awarded a record £10,000 in damages by a jury in 1890, Daisy Mons discreetly negotiated a £50,000 settlement from a Lord
Based on original research, this social history of breach of promise shows that when men behaved badly hell had no fury like a woman scorned!
As featured on Woman's Hour, Daily Express, Irish Mail on Sunday, Sheffield Star, Discover Your History, Eastern Daily Press, Portsmouth News, Norwich Evening News and Hull Daily Mail
Reviews to date
“Examining real cases of breach of promise, the author gives us a fascinating slice of social history, and an insight into a bygone moral code.” Cheshire Life
“This is a fascinating piece of social history, which will be of great interest to many family historians. 'Breach of Promise to Marry' gets the 'Your Family Tree Magazine's' Seal of Approval!” Your Family Tree
“An engrossing look at a forgotten law that affected our ancestors. What emerges is also a social history of marriage and marriage laws, so important for understanding the period in which your ancestors lived.” Family Tree Magazine
“This book's stories of either the man or woman being wronged are fascinating...there's an incredibly detailed amount of information on the law that can't fail to interest history buffs and legal eagles alike.” Northern Echo
“Bates tells the stories of some interesting cases from 1790s until the 1960s.” Bookseller