Cruel and Unusual: The Culture of Punishment in America and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.50
  • Save: $4.35 (16%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Former Library book. Some use and wear, book in good condition.Get more book for your bucks!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Cruel and Unusual: The Culture of Punishment in America Hardcover – March 18, 2009


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$23.15
$5.23 $0.01
Take%20an%20Extra%2030%25%20Off%20Any%20Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more.

  • Explore more great deals on 1000's of titles in our Deals in Books store.


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Abu Ghraib prison abuses, widely condemned as violations of American ideals, were actually as American as apple pie, according to this scattershot study. Cusac, a journalist and communications professor , surveys the American enthusiasm for confinement, pain and humiliation as instruments of legal and social control, from colonial-era stocks and ducking pools to today's supermax prisons and amped-up stun guns (she includes a litany of cases of kids and old ladies tasered by cops). Abandoning a mid–20th-century consensus favoring humane rehabilitation for miscreants, Americans since the 1970s have embraced a view of crime as the product of individual evil, she contends, with harsh retribution the appropriate response. For this view she blames religion—specifically the Christian Right, citing everything from spanking manuals to the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which recommends the death penalty for theft and homosexuality. Cusac's disorganized, repetitive argument treats developments in policing and penology as atavistic cultural phenomena largely unrelated to concrete social concerns; she spends far more time analyzing movies like The Exorcist and Carrie than discussing postwar crime rates. The result is a sometimes insightful but often unbalanced and distorted take on our supposed gluttony for punishment. (Mar. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This book is a bracing indictment of our culture's obsession with pain and revenge.  In chronicling the history and current reality of punishment in America, Anne-Marie Cusac exposes our collective loss of compassion to damning effect."—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
(Sister Helen Prejean)

"Anne-Marie Cusac was there first, years ago, as a journalist tracking America's growing addiction to punishment and pain.  Now she describes how that obsession with brutality threatens our very ideals as a people, how the bearer of cruelty may be a victim of it as surely as its target.  Hers is a book as illuminating as it is terrifying."—William F. Schulz, former Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
(William F. Schulz)

"Anne-Marie Cusac’s Cruel and Unusual digs deeply into American history and culture to explain the extravagant cruelty of the punishments visited on criminal offenders. H. Rap Brown in the 1960s famously observed that 'violence is as American as apple pie.' So, says Cusac, is the gratuitous infliction of pain on wrongdoers. The black and white moralism of American Protestantism has given Americans an unusual ability to tolerate the sufferings of others, especially if those others have behaved immorally (as, by definition, most offenders have). Cusac has opened up a wide new field of exploration into the origins of American criminal law and punishment."—Michael Tonry, University of Minnesota
(Michael Tonry)

"Cusac illuminates the causal connections between culture and punishment, and her comparison of corporal punishment in the colonial era with contemporary practice yields powerful insights."—Amy Dru Stanley, University of Chicago
(Amy Dru Stanley)

"Cusac's analysis should provoke a sense of deep concern: concern that contemporary punitiveness in America will damage our institutions, our political system, our culture."—Austin Sarat, Amherst College
(Austin Sarat)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Share your thoughts with other customers