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Image for Massacre of the innocents  : infanticide in Great Britain 1800-1939

Massacre of the innocents : infanticide in Great Britain 1800-1939

By: Rose, Lionel

Part of the Routledge Library Editions: The History of Crime and Punishment series
1138945064 / 9781138945067
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24 cm 222 pages
Postgraduate, Research & Scholarly  Learn More Undergraduate
Reprint. Originally published: London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

Before contraception was generally available, and when abortion was fraught with danger, infanticide was a common solution to the problem of unwanted children.

Massacre of the Innocents, first published in 1986, shows the causes and consequences of the high tide of infanticide in Victorian Britain.

Lionel Rose describes the ways in which unwanted and 'surplus' infants were disposed of, and the economic and social pressures on women to rid themselves of their burdens by covert criminal and sub-criminal means.

He discusses the activities of infanticidal and abortionist midwives, and shows how the practices of wet nursing and baby farming were closely related to infanticide.

Unscrupulous insurance salesman even turned infanticide into a profitable business, in their reckless grab for commissions.

Infanticide declined with the growing practice of contraception, the lessening of pressure of unmarried mothers, and as adoption was made easier. This is a hard-hitting, scrupulously documented piece of social history.

This title will be of interest to students of history and criminology.


1DBK United Kingdom, Great Britain, 3JH c 1800 to c 1900, 3JJ 20th century, HBJD1 British & Irish history, HBTB Social & cultural history, JKVC Causes & prevention of crime, LAZ Legal history

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