The Secret Lives of Police Constables in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, 1900-1939
Joanne Klein is Associate Professor of History at Boise State University, Boise, Idaho.
Contents List of Tables Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Introduction: Invisible Men 1. Putting on the Uniform 2. Multifarious Duties 3. Discipline and Defaulters 4. Factions and Friendships 5. Police Unions and Federations 6. The Police and the Public: Animosity 7. The Police and the Public: Fraternizing 8. The Police and the Public: Women 9. Domestic Life 10. Taking off the Uniform Conclusion Appendix: Chief Constables in Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, 1900–1939 Bibliography Index
This work is an important contribution to an under researched period in the history of English policing and to the history of working-class culture in general … The book is well structured, allowing the reader to follow the careers of the constables from entry to the force, through the experience of learning the ropes; their experience of discipline; the camaraderie, conflict, and cooperation that created a body of working men aware of their common interest; their relations to the public; their domestic lives; and ultimately to their final career trajectories.
The Historians, Vol. 76, No. 3, Fall
...this is a lively and remarkable book. If one of Klein’s goals was to break down the public’s view of the police (perhaps held as much now as then) as a “monolithic entity” (110), she has succeeded magnificently by offering a complex portrait of how everyday policing was experienced as a mixture of boredom, excitement, violence, humor, tragedy, and, at times, absurdity. In a strikingly original chapter, the extensive institutional supervision to which constables were subjected even allows Klein to provide insight into police officers’ domestic lives. An effective combination of detailed research and clear writing, Invisible Men joins the ranks of the must-read books about British policing.
Journal of British Studies
Invisible Men ably achieves its goal of exposing the experiences and concerns of police constables in this period. Anyone interested in the history of urban policing should consider it an attractive addition to their book shelves.
HSLC Transactions, Vol 159
This is an excellent book. It is well-written and extremely interesting, filling a gap in an historical literature, which is dominated by official and institutional perspectives, by illuminating the daily and working lives of constables.
Lucinda McCray Beier Appalachian State University
This book is greatly to be welcomed. Based on research from little-known provincial police archives, it provides a major addition to our knowledge of working-class life and work in general, and the life and work of the English police officer in particular. It explores police relations with the public, the varied arrangements of the Bobby’s domestic life, and the vicissitudes of his working life from the moment that he first put his uniform on, to when he finally took it off as a result of death, dismissal, resignation or retirement. The book is just what good history should be – well-researched, persuasively argued and a pleasure to read.
Clive Emsley Open University
Size: 239 x 163 mm
Publication: July 30, 2010