Looks at Howard's immense achievements and his fascinating life Sheds new light on what drove the UK's most famous prison reformer A key work in social and penal historyIn modern times John Howard (1726-1790) is perhaps best known as the man after whom the UK's oldest penal reform charity, the Howard League, is named.Tessa West's book breaks fresh ground by looking at both Howard's legacy in terms of reform as well as his fascinating character. Based on extensive research in the UK and abroad, it provides a vivid picture of his life's work which will be invaluable in understanding why prisons and imprisonment demand constant scrutiny.John Howard's curiosity about prisons goes without saying, as his own writings show, including his iconic The State of the Prisons (to use the shortened title). As a self-appointed inspector of prisons - and the first to carry out such a task - Howard would knock on the door of penal establishments, mostly unannounced. Once inside he would observe, listen and make copious records of events and conditions behind prison walls.And he was a curious individual altogether. Amongst the diverse epithets applied to him are: extraordinary, indefatigable, eccentric, benevolent, solid, selfless, charismatic, intense, obsessive, energetic, modest - and above all singular. Forever concerned with minutiae, not without friends but lacking close social contacts, the workaholic Howard frequently travelled alone and in dangerous places for months on end. Always restless and forever retracing his steps, he was equally at home in Russia, Germany, Holland and other foreign parts as he was pursuing his carefully planned routines in places such as Bedford, Warrington, Cambridge or London.Wherever he went the perfectionist John Howard brought his influence, genius and reputation to bear seeking to improve prisons and other institutions - and as this book shows he deserves to be remembered as a far greater figure in social history than many people might suspect.'One of the most extraordinary men this age can show': Jeremy Bentham'One of the greatest men in Europe': John Wesley

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