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James and John

A True Story of Prejudice and Murder

«An eye-opening portrait of Victorian injustice and hypocrisy featuring pie sellers at hangings, all-male knocking shops and a whiskered cross-dresser called the Pet of the Petticoats . . . Chris Bryant, a Labour MP and former Church of England priest, has had the cracking idea to investigate the lives of these men. The result is a lively and interesting book . . . Inspires sympathy and readily stirs the emotions . . . There is much to learn from James and John»

Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times
363,-
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Detaljer

Forlag
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
Sider
336
ISBN
9781526644978
Utgivelsesår
2024
Format
23 x 15 cm

Anmeldelser

«An eye-opening portrait of Victorian injustice and hypocrisy featuring pie sellers at hangings, all-male knocking shops and a whiskered cross-dresser called the Pet of the Petticoats . . . Chris Bryant, a Labour MP and former Church of England priest, has had the cracking idea to investigate the lives of these men. The result is a lively and interesting book . . . Inspires sympathy and readily stirs the emotions . . . There is much to learn from James and John»

Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times

«In this riveting book, historian and MP Chris Bryant recounts a momentous historical injustice . . . Deftly illustrates a violently homophobic age»

John Jacob Woolf, BBC History Magazine

«Between 1806 and 1835, 404 men were sentenced to death for sodomy in England, of whom 56 were hanged and many more transported. In his meticulously researched James and John, the politician and historian Chris Bryant explores the proceedings against Pratt and Smith, as well at the social attitudes and legal codes in what he dubs "an era of spectacularly cruel and bloodthirsty prejudice" . . . Bryant does an excellent job of tracking down the two men»

Spectator

«This is the best kind of angry history: meticulously researched, vividly written, deeply humane and making an utterly compelling case. It keeps faith with the dead, and in doing so gives us something to celebrate, fervently, in the present»

Ronald Hutton

«Law can be weaponised for the cruelest of purposes - a political lesson we should never forget. Here, Chris Bryant provides a powerful indictment of Britain’s persecution of gay men, including the use of the death penalty, and the legacy of how such laws live on in many of our former colonies. This is a brilliant telling of a shameful part of our history»

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC

«Bryant has rescued Pratt and Smith from the rubbish dump of history . . . Combining [a detailed account of Pratt and Smith’s trial] with a richly detailed portrait of the more squalid and miserable aspects of Georgian London, Bryant has assembled a tragic story that is as shocking as it is pathetic . . . Without any unnecessary melodrama, Bryant evokes the horrors of Newgate Prison and elucidates a judicial process heavily weighted against the defence . . . Bryant never lets outrage get the better of him, and his unaided archival research has been exemplary»

Rupert Christansen, Telegraph

«Bryant's concern is not just to reveal a particular injustice. He sets out to expose the failings of the whole official system. The historical context in which he sets this case is staggering in its depth and scope. Anyone interested in nineteenth-century society and its agencies will find it revealing»

Jacqueline Banerjee, TLS

«Bryant's challenge is to reconstruct their world from the outside in. Running in parallel to the story of Pratt and Smith, he paints an intricately detailed portrait of Regency England, roving from Newgate and the Old Bailey to servants' quarters, Deptford's dockyards, a rural village baptism and the splendour of the newly built Brighton Pavilion»

Hannah Rose Woods, Financial Times

«Carefully observed, rich in detail, imaginative, compassionate and angry. A raw, unexpected portrait of Britain’s grandeur, wealth, energy, cruelty and hypocrisy in the Age of liberalism»

Rory Stewart

«Bryant's new campaigning book is the product of exhaustive archival searches, many of them made online during lockdowns, and is a serious contribution to social history of the most disturbing kind»

Church Times

«A vibrant and honourable retelling of early 19th-century gay history. Bryant simply and clearly underscores the essential humanity of James and John – and in so doing emphasises our common dignity in the face of overwhelming and anonymising systems of power and governance»

Irish Times

«This is a shocking story of prejudice and injustice, told in meticulous detail by Chris Bryant. A must-read for all who want to understand the deep roots of homophobia in British history»

Keir Starmer

«A heart-breaking account of a grave injustice and the social climate of homophobic prejudice that made it possible»

Peter Tatchell

«James and John is a timely reminder of the stories the powerful would rather we forgot»

Shami Chakrabarti, human rights lawyer

«Thanks to one resourceful Old Bailey court record-keeper and a good dose of archival zeal, in his new book Bryant uncovers the story of James Pratt and John Smith, the last men in England to be hanged for being gay. The resulting work is an insight into a supposedly enlightened era - of slavery abolitionists and the Great Reform Act. Bryant meticulously stitches together the reality beneath . . . With its courtroom denouement and Dickensian setting, TV commissioners will take note»

New Statesman

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Anne Applebaum
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