The diverse violence of modern Britain is hardly new. The Britain of 1850 to 1950 was similarly afflicted. The book is divided into four parts.
'Getting Hurt' which looks at everyday violence in the home (including a chapter on infanticide).
'Uses and Rejections' two chapters on the use of violence within groups of men and women outside the home (for example, violence within youth gangs, and male violence centred around pubs).
'Going Public' three chapters on how violence was regulated by law and the professional agencies which were set up to deal with it.
'Perceptions and Representations' this final section looks at how violence was written about, using both fiction and non-fiction sources.
Throughout the book the recurring themes of gender, class, continuity and change, public/private, and experience, discourses and representations are highlighted.