The Passport: The History of Man's Most Travelled Document

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9780954715038: The Passport: The History of Man's Most Travelled Document

The passport is a document familiar to all, used and recognized worldwide. Yet, how does a passport actually work, and what happens when it doesn't? When was the first passport issued? How can a forged passport be detected, and how did a passport link Lord Palmerston to the attempted assassination of Napoleon III? In this book, Martin Lloyd uses his in-depth experience with H.M. Immigration Service to explore the problems, humour, crime and politics which constitute the history of the passport.

The idea of the passport is not new. The Ancient Egyptians were known to have a passport system while, in Roman times, persons travelling on official business were issued with a Tractorium (a letter) in the name of the emperor. Yet contrary to the popular idea, passports were often used to prevent not facilitate travel. William the Conqueror allowed no one to enter or leave England without his permission while Henry I and Elizabeth I refused to grant passports to, respectively, the legate from the Pope and Mary, Queen of Scots. Passports have also enabled murder to take place and saved the lives of many Jews in the Second World War. However, their ultimate role appears to be that of control. When machine-readable passports provide the state with more information on the movement of citizens than at any time in history, many are beginning to ask whether the age of Big Brother has not already arrived.

The Passport offers a unique perspective on the intriguing history of this document. Martin Lloyd draws on many years of research, and includes illustrations from his own collection, to create the first book on this subject.

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