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Execution: The Guillotine, the Pendulum, the…

Execution: The Guillotine, the Pendulum, the Thousand Cuts, the Spanish…

by Geoffrey Abbott

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Mostly focuses on European history, particularly English, French, and German history. A lot of the articles are somewhat related (hanging, hanged drawn and quartered, hanging in chains, etc), but there's plenty of information about the death penalty through the ages in here.

The articles range from extremely indepth to very brief. A few methods only get a few paragraphs dedicated to them (cannibalism, shot by arrows) while the more common methods of execution get longer articles with stories attached. I was looking more for variety of execution methods when I started, but I got really drawn into the stories as well. The article on hanging is particularly interesting.

Not an easy or spectacular read (and definitely not for the squeamish, I have a strong stomach and some of these gave me nightmares), but interesting all the same. ( )
  ConnieJo | May 14, 2008 |
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Execution is a gruesomely fascinating account of methods of judicial Execution from around the world and through the ages, and includes such hair-raising categories as death by cannibalism, being sewn into an animal's belly and a thousand cuts. In his own darkly humorous style, Geoffrey Abbott describes the instruments used and their effectiveness, and reveals the macabre origins of familiar phrases such as 'gone west' or 'drawn a blank', as well as the jargon of the underworld. From the preparation of the victim to the disposal of the body, Execution answers all the questions you are ever likely to ask, and some you would never want to imagine.… (more)

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