“If they must have a British Worthy, they would have Robin Hood”

“There are two kinds of immortality: that which the soul really enjoys
after this life, and that imaginary existence by which men live in
their fame and reputation. The best and greatest actions have proceeded
from the prospect of the one or the other of these; but my design is to
treat only of those who have chiefly proposed to themselves the latter
as the principal reward of their labours.”

Opium; or, How it Became a “Dirty Drug”

We live in an era in which, increasingly, governments in many western countries are realising that they are losing the so-called “War on Drugs”. Some countries have completely decriminalised certain substances, while in some states in the USA, you can buy marijuana over the counter for both medicinal and recreational use. Our attitude to illicit substances is increasingly looking not too dissimilar from that held by many people in the early nineteenth century.

Jack Harkaway: The Victorian Harry Potter

The Victorians in many ways were just like us: they enjoyed a good scandal whenever it was reported in the press, they liked both trashy and high-brow entertainment, and like today, they had their popular heroes adored by both adults and children. Let me introduce you to the Harry Potter of the late-Victorian era: Mr Jack Harkaway.

Reviews

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Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Life and Legend of a Rebel Leader: Wat Tyler” (2018)

“Basdeo wrote his doctoral thesis on the legend of Robin Hood and resolved to write a similar piece on the legend of Wat Tyler … he provides an interesting chapter on historical novels featuring Wat.” – Edward James, The Historical Novel Society

Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Life and Legend of a Rebel Leader: Wat Tyler” (2018)

“…the book is devoted to the study of how the legend of Wat Tyler has been received through the ages, and in fact this enquiry proves to be both entertaining and enlightening … the author has contrived to pursue a single theme throughout in both a scholarly and entertaining fashion.” Robin Carlile.

Review of Stephen Basdeo’s “The Lives and Exploits of the Most Noted Highwaymen, Rogues, and Murderers” (2018)

I admit that I have never heard of some of the criminals, which made the reading really enjoyable though some crimes were appalling. The most valuable part for me were all the references to the law and social background of the period together with detailed explanation why at a certain point there were no more highwaymen. A very good read! – BEATA B. Netgalley