Readers' Reviews

A selection of reader reviews       

The Suffering of Women Who Didn't Fit

"I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in women’s history or perhaps ‘madness’ in history" The Medieval Library
"It’s amplified while wandering through time within topics... of women labelled as being nervous, more emotive, less predictable, vulnerable, prone to hysterics, and how treatments have evolved over time" Kristine Fisher via

"I’ve found it’s seldom a man who will point out all the ways in which women have suffered at the hands of men, especially in this political climate, but Vaughan is a breath of fresh air in a crowded street and I am delighted to have had the chance to read his work!" The Medieval Library

Mad or Bad. Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain

"David J Vaughan has researched and written a fantastic social history on crime and insanity in Victorian an easy accessible language. This is an excellent book well worth reading for all those interested in the Victorian period and how crime was dealt with at the time." Paul, Manchester via
"...amazing research...This unbelievable catalogue of characters and their crimes and misdemeanours, together with their "illnesses", makes for a fascinating read!"

"..if interested and curious in Victorian crime and the introduction of insanity as a defence, readers will be rewarded with a wealth of material collated in one easy to read enjoyable book" Fiona Guy at Crime Traveller

"..well organised, written clearly, and provides a good summary of the main issues...A good read for anybody interested in issues of criminal justice, insanity and law in Victorian England, particularly..the treatment of women by the legal system of the time." Olga Miret, Barcelona via

"Day made: Delivered: Your Amazon package with Mad or Bad: Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain was delivered" on Twitter

"There are some extremely interesting points raised about the use of the insanity plea, particularly with regards to women committing crimes." NetGalley review, reviewed by Bruce Gargoyle

"Great cases and a must for psychiatrists and lawyers" re-posted at
"David Vaughan has written a well-researched and readable book on an important aspect of criminal history and it is to be congratulated." Surrey Constabulary History Journal

"Wow, interesting read, I wish it had been released when I was doing my degree, I could definitely have used it. We're they mad or bad? This book tells us true stories from the 19th century of murder, infanticide and treason, from a serial killer to a poisoned. All told in an easy to understand way, with a clear and concise glossary and explanation of expressions used and laws." NetGalley review, reviewed by Stephanie Sheppard

"The cases presented were an interesting introduction to the subject and reasonably well handled, using primary sources." Rosie Writes, Rosemarie Cawkwell

"This is obviously well researched and Vaughan has put a great deal of effort into it." NetGalley review - reviewed by Michelle Meador

"A well-researched and accessible book, which sheds light on insanity conditions through intriguing criminal cases and thought-provoking debate. It is a useful resource for those interested in the history of medico-legal debate, and for anyone whose ancestors suffered from mental health issues in the 19th century." WDYTYA? Magazine, April 2017 – reviewed by Angela Buckley

'Full of interesting facts. If you like to learn about historical events that led to the shaping of our present law, then this is a good book for you.'
NetGalley - reviewed by Angela Street

"A welcome breakdown of the various types of insanity suffered by our Victorian forebears" Your Family History, Spring 2017

"I enjoyed it especially the fight to be able to use the plea since so many people were afraid that murderers would walk free...I do recommend the book for historians and those who enjoy true crime I think both groups will enjoy it." NetGalley, reviewed by Diana Thomas

"I think anyone with an interest in legal history or the history of psychology will find this book really interesting as it gives insight to how the legal system got to where it is today" alinefromabook 

"The material is rigorously researched and the cases are presented in an easy to read style" - CrimeReviewUK

"Written in accessible language for a lay reader...A good all-encompasing introduction to medico-legal history and helpful glossary of related terms" Pedza

"As a person interested in both history and criminalistics, I found this book quite fascinating...The cases within are laid out to the point, with no sensationalising of the facts" J. Aislynn d'Merricksson

The Little Book of Herefordshire

"5* Given as a present and feedback is that it is an excellent and interesting read covering a wide range of information on Herefordshire" eBay advertisement 2018

The Secret Life of Celestina Sommer. A Very Victorian Murder

"5* A great read, definitely recommend this if you are interested in the Victorian era" 

"5* I really enjoyed reading this and well written. I have got another book by this author after reading this" Garfie

"5* Interesting Read -  interesting and discusses insanity in the Victorian age" Lesleyanne

"4* An enjoyable read - I had never heard of Celestina Sommer and found her story fascinating...a very sad story well told"  G. A. Tough

"4* Takes you back in time , when times were hard - I found this story interesting and well writen ,I would recommend it"  Peter John Thompson

"4* Enjoyed this book" Leslie Ann Portlock


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