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Book Review: A Life of Crime

Book Review: A Life of Crime 92 BOOK REVIEWS (1993) 26 ANZJ Crim a lower use of incarceration. Above all, Wilkins makes a plea for officials to stop endorsing popular myths, 'particularly the myth that more punishment means less crime'. This volume should be warmly welcomed by all who are concerned with the philosophical basis of criminal justice processes, particularly those who study and teach criminology or criminal justice at the graduate level. This is the type of book that should be discussed and dissected in detail, but at an Australian price of $79.50 it is highly unlikely to become prescribed reading for students. Unfortunately, the reality of market forces will almost certainly mean that this product will not reach a significant element of the market for which it was designed. Canberra DAVID BILES A Life of Crime, Paul Wilson, Scribe Publications, Australia (1990) $15.95. Paul Wilson has once again penned a very readable engaging book. It is an unusual book, although possibly not for Paul Wilson! As the cover note claims 'it is the subtle blending of personal narrative and public philosophy which gives this work a special character'. It reveals the personal and at times painful experiences which have helped shape the public views and the values of one of Australia's most publicly prominent social commentators. It is written persuasively and frankly and it is highly personal. Perhaps because of all this it is 'engaging reading'. In a 'no holds barred way' Wilson discusses his marriage break up, his subsequent emotional breakdown, and his recovery and rehabilitation. He also discusses, with similar candour, his relationship and friendships with police chiefs as different as Terry Lewis and Ray Whitrod, his analysis of organised crime in Queensland and elsewhere, his thoughts on media reporting of murder and other crimes and his personal philosophy on topics like sin and psychology! Quite a pot-boiler, the titles of the chapters give a clue to their author's style and the substance of the book with titles like 'Men from Boys', 'Monsters', 'Censoring Sin', 'Living with Crime' and so 00. However, he does attempt, perhaps surprisingly, a comprehensive, persuasive critique of many important areas of current Australian life in which he has some expertise: the criminal justice system, the media's treatment of crime, prison life and the National Crime Authority, amongst others. One of his more interesting chapters is the account of his breakdown and subsequent rehabilitation in a psychiatric 'therapeutic community' in Queensland. This allows him to critique psychological and psychiatric treatment practices from a consumer perspective. The resulting chapter is chilling reading and offers us a useful personal critique of medial conceptions of mental illness. A Life of Crime is part pop sociology/pop criminology, part auto-biographical and part history of our times. Whatever you make of it, it is lively reading. Recommended for general, certainly not specialist criminology, consumption! Melbourne SHARON MOORE Controlling Crime, Bob Roshier, Open University Press, 1989, 146 pp $29.95. Controlling Crime is part of the Classical Perspective in Criminology. Bob Roshier has contributed a very useful and scholarly text to our understanding of crime and crime control. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology SAGE

Book Review: A Life of Crime

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
©The Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology and Authors, 1992
ISSN
0004-8658
eISSN
1837-9273
DOI
10.1177/000486589302600110
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

92 BOOK REVIEWS (1993) 26 ANZJ Crim a lower use of incarceration. Above all, Wilkins makes a plea for officials to stop endorsing popular myths, 'particularly the myth that more punishment means less crime'. This volume should be warmly welcomed by all who are concerned with the philosophical basis of criminal justice processes, particularly those who study and teach criminology or criminal justice at the graduate level. This is the type of book that should be discussed and dissected in detail, but at an Australian price of $79.50 it is highly unlikely to become prescribed reading for students. Unfortunately, the reality of market forces will almost certainly mean that this product will not reach a significant element of the market for which it was designed. Canberra DAVID BILES A Life of Crime, Paul Wilson, Scribe Publications, Australia (1990) $15.95. Paul Wilson has once again penned a very readable engaging book. It is an unusual book, although possibly not for Paul Wilson! As the cover note claims 'it is the subtle blending of personal narrative and public philosophy which gives this work a special character'. It reveals the personal and at times painful experiences which have helped shape the public views and the values of one of Australia's most publicly prominent social commentators. It is written persuasively and frankly and it is highly personal. Perhaps because of all this it is 'engaging reading'. In a 'no holds barred way' Wilson discusses his marriage break up, his subsequent emotional breakdown, and his recovery and rehabilitation. He also discusses, with similar candour, his relationship and friendships with police chiefs as different as Terry Lewis and Ray Whitrod, his analysis of organised crime in Queensland and elsewhere, his thoughts on media reporting of murder and other crimes and his personal philosophy on topics like sin and psychology! Quite a pot-boiler, the titles of the chapters give a clue to their author's style and the substance of the book with titles like 'Men from Boys', 'Monsters', 'Censoring Sin', 'Living with Crime' and so 00. However, he does attempt, perhaps surprisingly, a comprehensive, persuasive critique of many important areas of current Australian life in which he has some expertise: the criminal justice system, the media's treatment of crime, prison life and the National Crime Authority, amongst others. One of his more interesting chapters is the account of his breakdown and subsequent rehabilitation in a psychiatric 'therapeutic community' in Queensland. This allows him to critique psychological and psychiatric treatment practices from a consumer perspective. The resulting chapter is chilling reading and offers us a useful personal critique of medial conceptions of mental illness. A Life of Crime is part pop sociology/pop criminology, part auto-biographical and part history of our times. Whatever you make of it, it is lively reading. Recommended for general, certainly not specialist criminology, consumption! Melbourne SHARON MOORE Controlling Crime, Bob Roshier, Open University Press, 1989, 146 pp $29.95. Controlling Crime is part of the Classical Perspective in Criminology. Bob Roshier has contributed a very useful and scholarly text to our understanding of crime and crime control.

Journal

Australian & New Zealand Journal of CriminologySAGE

Published: Mar 1, 1993

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