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Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman
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Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  6 reviews
This is a masterly biography of one of Britain's best-known criminals, as well as an examination of the cult of the highwayman, and of crime in the 18th century and the treatment of criminals. In the absence of any police force how were crimes solved? Who did the detective work? And did the criminals get a fair trial? Was there a criminal underclass and did people really l ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Profile Books(GB)
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Anna Matsuyama
May 28, 2013 Anna Matsuyama rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Anna by: Horrible Histories: Dick Turpin's song
Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman is very interesting book that tells how Dick Turpin, a violent thug, was made a hero after more than 100 years after his dead.

Sharpe not only tells about the "real" Turpin and the Gregory gang but also about William Harrison Ainsworth who with his novel Rookwood reinvented the Turpin we know. Then Sharpe follows Turpin's myth from Rookwood till contemporary days.

And here is lyrics from Horrible Histories Dick Turpin's song (and link to the video
Sharpe looks at the life of times of Turpin as well as other highwaymen and attempts to dispel the myths surrounding them. It is strange to think about how these vicious thugs have been romanticised and become almost heroic when portrayed in media such as films or books. At just over 200 pages in length, this is a decent introduction to the subject and acts as a beginner's guide to the era of the highwayman.
A nice read that complemented Gillian Spraggs' OUTLAWS AND HIGHWAYMEN, even though the two books cover the same ground in some instances. Sharpe has done his research and his book is full of interesting anecdotes and accounts, and his expose of the 'real' Dick Turpin makes for fascinating reading. I liked the way he exposes the romanticism surrounding the archetypal highwayman figure and delivers the nitty gritty truth: that Turpin was a pockmarked bastard, more than ready to shoot you in the he ...more
I used this book on for a research project where I was studying court cases form the Old Bailey. Unlike a lot of non-fiction works, I loved the writing in this book. I never knew anything about Dick Turpin and the Gregory Gang. This book was super informative and actually a quick read.
Duncan Wilson
a fascinating look at the life and legend of dick turpin. it covers various aspects which contribute to a largely ignored essex criminal into an icon.

hightly recommended
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