Murdering Myths: The Story Behind the Death Penalty by Judith W. Kay (Polemics: Rowman and Littlefield) (Paperback) goes beyond the hype and statistics to examine Americans' deep-seated beliefs about crime and punishment. She argues that Americans share a counter-productive idea of justice--that punishment corrects bad behavior, suffering pays for wrong deeds, and victims' desire for revenge is natural and inevitable. Drawing on interviews with both victims and inmates, Kay shows how this belief harms perpetrators, victims, and society and calls for a new narrative that recognizes the humanity in all of us. More
The Complete History of the Death Penalty by Hayley R. Mitchell (Complete History of Series: Greenhaven Press) Gr. 6-12. For an in-depth introduction to the subject as much as for reference and research, each of these large, detailed, accessible, well-designed Complete History Of anthologies includes more than 90 entries by well-known people in the field who describe what happened and look critically at how events continue to be interpreted. The selections are organized into chapters, and there are short introductions on the contents pages, full introductions with each entry, and extensive bibliographies. The text, in clear type, two columns per page, is broken up with lots of subheads and occasional black-and-white photographs. American Slavery begins with the Atlantic slave trade and ends with the Civil War, with entries by Frederick Douglass, Nat Turner, Mary Chestnut, and many others. It is organized into 16 chapters on a number of topics, including a fascinating discussion of whether the Underground Railroad actually existed. There's no mention of the current reparations debate. Ancient Greece is organized first chronologically, then by topic--law and justice, art, literature, etc. The Death Penalty is like an expanded version of an Opposing Viewpoints title, with debate about issues, landmark cases, and court decisions. Holocaust is an excellent collection of seminal accounts and commentaries by some of the leading writers in the field. Of course, there's no "complete history" of anything, but especially for smaller collections, these volumes provide both the big picture and a detailed focus on what's important. No further titles in this series are planned at this time. Gr 9 Up-This companion volume to Gail Stewart's The Death Penalty (Greenhaven, 1997) is a no-nonsense compilation of articles written since the hardcover volume was published. Not truly an update, it is grouped by topic (administration and implementation, the question of innocence, etc.), and articles attempt to illuminate rather than argue along strict oppositional lines. Though edited, the articles require careful, mature reading. Each one begins with a biographical sketch about the author and a clear position statement. Interesting angles include articles on women inmates and poignant personal narratives by writers who befriended inmates on death row and who witnessed their executions. Interestingly, though there is no pro/con format, the preponderance of the articles clearly oppose the death penalty. With a thorough index and bibliography, as well as a list of organizations to contact, this companion volume is a worthwhile addition to high school collections.
The Complete History of the Death Penalty by Hayley R. Mitchell (Complete History of Series: Greenhaven Press) (PAPERBACK) is a comprehensive anthology covering a wide range of topics on a perennial issue. Contributors include such noted authorities and representatives of opposing opinions as Hugo Adam Bedau, Victor Strieb, and Welsh S. White. Prominent religious leaders including Jesse Jackson, Helen Prejean, and others present arguments from a religious perspective. The book covers moral, legal, and religious issues as well as important historical trials such as those of the Rosenbergs and Leopold and Loeb. Also included are the results of pivotal Supreme Court cases. In addition, viewpoints on the death penalty and its use for women, juveniles, minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill and disabled emphasize some of the more current topical debates. Other issues, such as execution procedure and methods, the role of the media, and the increasing rights of victims' families in the courts round out this comprehensive volume. Finally, introductions and prefaces, extensive maps, charts, appendices, bibliographies, and a complete index make The Complete History of the Death Penalty an indispensable tool for further research.
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