A BOOK OF REMARKABLE CRIMINALS [NOOK Book]

Overview

Introduction

"The silent workings, and still more the explosions, of human passion
which bring to light the darker elements of man's...
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A BOOK OF REMARKABLE CRIMINALS

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Overview

Introduction

"The silent workings, and still more the explosions, of human passion
which bring to light the darker elements of man's nature present to the
philosophical observer considerations of intrinsic interest; while
to the jurist, the study of human nature and human character with its
infinite varieties, especially as affecting the connection between
motive and action, between irregular desire or evil disposition and
crime itself, is equally indispensable and difficult."--_Wills on
Circumstantial Evidence_.

I REMEMBER my father telling me that sitting up late one night talking
with Tennyson, the latter remarked that he had not kept such late
hours since a recent visit of Jowett. On that occasion the poet and
the philosopher had talked together well into the small hours of the
morning. My father asked Tennyson what was the subject of conversation
that had so engrossed them. "Murders," replied Tennyson. It would have
been interesting to have heard Tennyson and Jowett discussing such a
theme. The fact is a tribute to the interest that crime has for many
men of intellect and imagination. Indeed, how could it be otherwise?
Rob history and fiction of crime, how tame and colourless would be the
residue! We who are living and enduring in the presence of one of the
greatest crimes on record, must realise that trying as this period of
the world's history is to those who are passing through it, in the hands
of some great historian it may make very good reading for posterity.
Perhaps we may find some little consolation in this fact, like the
unhappy victims of famous freebooters such as Jack Sheppard or Charley
Peace.

But do not let us flatter ourselves. Do not let us, in all the pomp and
circumstance of stately history, blind ourselves to the fact that the
crimes of Frederick, or Napoleon, or their successors, are in essence no
different from those of Sheppard or Peace. We must not imagine that
the bad man who happens to offend against those particular laws which
constitute the criminal code belongs to a peculiar or atavistic type,
that he is a man set apart from the rest of his fellow-men by mental or
physical peculiarities. That comforting theory of the Lombroso school
has been exploded, and the ordinary inmates of our prisons shown to be
only in a very slight degree below the average in mental and physical
fitness of the normal man, a difference easily explained by the
environment and conditions in which the ordinary criminal is bred.

A certain English judge, asked as to the general characteristics of the
prisoners tried before him, said: "They are just like other people;
in fact, I often think that, but for different opportunities and other
accidents, the prisoner and I might very well be in one another's
places." "Greed, love of pleasure," writes a French judge, "lust,
idleness, anger, hatred, revenge, these are the chief causes of crime.
These passions and desires are shared by rich and poor alike, by the
educated and uneducated. They are inherent in human nature; the germ is
in every man."

Convicts represent those wrong-doers who have taken to a particular form
of wrong-doing punishable by law. Of the larger army of bad men
they represent a minority, who have been found out in a peculiarly
unsatisfactory kind of misconduct. There are many men, some lying,
unscrupulous, dishonest, others cruel, selfish, vicious, who go through
life without ever doing anything that brings them within the scope of
the criminal code, for whose offences the laws of society provide no
punishment. And so it is with some of those heroes of history who have
been made the theme of fine writing by gifted historians.

Mr. Basil Thomson, the present head of the Criminal Investigation
Department, has said recently that a great deal of crime is due to a
spirit of "perverse adventure" on the part of the criminal. The same
might be said with equal justice of the exploits of Alexander the Great
and half the monarchs and conquerors of the world, whom we are taught
in our childhood's days to look up to as shining examples of all that a
great man should be. Because crimes are played on a great stage instead
of a small, that is no reason why our moral judgment should be suspended
or silenced. Class Machiavelli and Frederick the Great as a couple of
rascals fit to rank with Jonathan Wild, and we are getting nearer a
perception of what constitutes the real criminal. "If," said Frederick
the Great to his minister, Radziwill, "there is anything to be gained
by it, we will be honest; if deception is necessary, let us be cheats."
These are the very sentiments of Jonathan Wild.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013191068
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 7/31/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 471,617
  • File size: 235 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Not easy to read

    The words r not spelled correctly
    ... o' is of 'n' is and I dont knpw why but they cant spell very good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    Impossible to read

    Way too many typos to understand whats going on

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    A very interesting read. Mine wasn't full of typos.

    A very interesting read. Mine wasn't full of typos.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2012

    Bad typos

    Very badly digitalized

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Really liked this work on various criminals.

    Really liked this work on various criminals.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    A fascinating study of various criminals from the 1800s. Very we

    A fascinating study of various criminals from the 1800s. Very well-written and entertaining. This is a nice version too, with no typos or errors. The other comments must be for a different version. My version has an ugly criminal face on the cover.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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