- Capa comum: 168 páginas
- Editora: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (26 de abril de 2014)
- Idioma: Inglês
- ISBN-10: 1499278810
- ISBN-13: 978-1499278811
- Dimensões do produto: 15,2 x 1,1 x 22,9 cm
- Peso do produto: 313 g
Rogues of the Road: Highwaymen & Highway Robbery in 18th Century England (Inglês) Capa Comum – 26 abr 2014
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Duke starts us off with a detailed chapter on the origins of highway robbery and the increasingly draconian laws attempting to suppress it including the infamous Waltham Black Acts of 1722 which, among other things, made wearing a mask on the highway a capital offense.
The infamous master criminal of the early 18th century, Jonathan Wild, rates a chapter to himself as indeed he should. When Wild was at the height of his power from around 1723 until his execution in 1725, the incidence of highway robbery fell drastically. Wild was no highwayman but he brooked no challenge to his empire. After his death there was a sharp rise in robbery on the highway.
Much of the rest of the book concerns the most famous highwayman of them all - Dick Turpin. Duke teases out the truth from the myth and shows how the stories of other men such as Thomas Boulter, William Hawke and William Page among others accreted to the Turpin legend. I learned a lot here, including the interesting possibility that the man who was executed as Turpin was in fact someone else.
The only real criticism I have of this book is that are so many highwaymen we don't hear about. The Newgate Calendar has around fifty examples of highwaymen and Haywood's 'Lives of the Famous Criminals' lists more than fifty just in the decade between 1720 and 1730. There is no way, of course, that all of them could rate a mention but I would liked to have seen a few more.
Perhaps the subtitle of the book should have been 'Dick Turpin and Highway Robbery in the 18th Century'? Still, this is more a matter of personal preference than anything else and within the area that the author has chosen to investigate this is a very worthwhile read.