Tessa West

The Curious Mr. Howard

Though John Howard’s reputation rests squarely on his philanthropy and his efforts as a prison reformer, my intention was to write a biography that would give interest and enjoyment to a wide range of readers, not just to those interested in penal affairs.

As I read his books, in which he details many aspects of life in prisons, and as I read about him and his aims to improve the terrible conditions he witnessed, I became increasingly aware of not only what Howard did, but what sort of a man he was. It became clear that as well as being generous, humane and energetic, he was unusual. Once he started on his prison work, he hardly stopped. He seemed to flourish only when working, and his private life became a source of sorrow.
My Image
'Impeccably researched and fascinating'

The Howard Journal

'No-one who reads this wonderful book could dispute that Howard ranks among the most interesting people of his age'

Times Literary Supplement.

'A brilliant book'

Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons

'A riveting account of the great penal reformer, this humane, obsessive, guilt-ridden, lonely dissenter, indeed the "curious Mr Howard"' guardian.co.uk

‘This book is a timely reminder of the dreams that inspired one man many years ago, and a reminder that we need John Howard as much or more ­today’

Clive Stafford-Smith (from the Foreword)


£29.95 - buy here

Waterside Press - ISBN 978-1-904380-73-3