Deary’s broader definition seems to be broadened to ‘a person with a low income and a low social position’. So long as they don’t have land and extensive income or property, the author classes them as a peasant.
The author covers the period from the Norman Conquest to the late-eighteenth century. The crimes are everything from petty theft to forgery, murder and revolt. This book is sometimes humorous and it was good for dipping in and out of. It did keep me amused (even when I had to correct minor things) and it is an easy to read book that builds on Deary’s ‘Horrible Histories’ books. It has a similar format to those books, with the era chapters sub-divided by crime, which makes it easy to find specific crimes in specific eras. Deary uses quotes judiciously to support the text.
Probably a good one for children interested in history who have read all the ‘Horrible Histories’.