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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England

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Malcolm GaskillChurchill College, Cambridge

ISBN13: 9780521572750
ISBN: 0521572754
Published: August 2000
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £94.99

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Crime and law have now been studied by historians of early modern England for more than a generation. Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England attempts to reach further than most conventional treatments of the subject, to explore the cultural contexts of law-breaking and criminal prosecution, and to recover their hidden social meanings. In this sense the book is more than just a 'history from below': it is a history from within. Conversely, the book explores crime to shed light on the long-term development of English mentalities in general. To this end, three serious crimes - witchcraft, coining and murder - are examined in detail, revealing new and important insights into how religious reform, state formation, secularisation, and social and cultural change (for example, the spread of literacy and the availability of print) may have transformed the thinking and outlook of most ordinary people between 1550 and 1750.

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Legal History
Introduction: 1. Mentalities from crime
Part I. Witchcraft:
2. The social meaning of witchcraft, 1560-1680
3. Witches in society and culture, 1680-1750
Part II. Coining:
4. The problem of coiners and the law
5. Towards a solution? coining, state and people
Part III. Murder:
6. Crimes of blood and their representation
7. Murder: police, prosecution and proof
8. A transition from belief to certainty?