Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities

Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities

The Illustrated Police News 1864-1938
The Illustrated Police News is often dismissed as a crude publication which aimed to thrill the undiscerning reader with gruesome pictures. Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities sets out to correct that belief by demonstrating the diversity of its subject matter, examining its social and political agenda and revealing the power and compassion in its images. The Illustrated Police News was a promoter of social change and a campaigner against the evils of cruelty, poverty, drink and crime. It anticipated by many years the features of today’s journalism, in the rapidity with which it provided pictures of current news events,
its appeal to the emotions, and the involvement of its readers in the reporting process.

This is the first book exclusively about the Illustrated Police News to reproduce the pictures as high quality images, provide a balanced account of its content and cover the full period of its publication. There is substantial new research into how the paper was produced, the men who made it a success, and the stories behind the pictures.

This is a project that has been dear to my heart for a long time. I love wood cuts and engravings, and to me, the pictures in the IPN have an immediacy, a power and the ability to create an emotional link with the reader shared with few others. I was thrilled when the British Library commissioned me to write this book.

There are other books which reproduce some of the pictures and text of the IPN but what makes this one unique is the high quality of the images, and my extensive research into the man who made the IPN a household word, the stories that lay behind the images, and the history of the paper itself. Yes there is much serious material in here – but above all, look at the pictures – shocking, amusing and bizarre.

Published 1st June 2011 by The History Press Ltd.

"I love writing about crime, especially Victorian crime. Before the launch of my fiction series set in Bayswater in the 1880s I researched and wrote true crime and historical biography.

It is that fascination for the nineteenth century and those contradictory Victorians that I now bring to my fiction writing. Frances Doughty’s adventures are only just beginning!"


Linda Stratmann
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