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Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Case 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195179804
ISBN-10: 0195179803
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From the commuting of death sentences to life imprisonment and the pardoning of four death-row prisoners last year by then Illinois governor George Ryan, the death penalty has now come front and center in American consciousness. This collection of essays presents a balanced discussion of the range of issues associated with this debate, including the speech delivered by Ryan when he made his historic decision. The essayists include federal judges, lawyers, and philosophers. Four of the essays argue for the death penalty and four against. Contributors examine the key areas concerning the death penalty: race and economics, the U.S. position on capital punishment in contrast to that of other nations, retribution and morality, the risks of wrongful convictions, the deterrence value of capital punishment, and closure for victims' families. Contributors emphasize their own particular points of view but add to an excellent overview of this life-and-death issue. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"From the commuting of death sentences to life imprisonment and the pardoning of four death-row prisoners last year by former Illinois governor George Ryan, the death penalty has now come front and center in American consciousness. This collection of essays presents a balanced discussion of the range of issues associated with this debate, including the speech delivered by Ryan when he made his historic decision. The essayists include federal judges, lawyers, and philosophers. Four of the essays argue for the death penalty and four against. Contributors examine the key areas concerning the death penalty: race and economics, the U.S. position on capital punishment in contrast to that of other nations, retribution and morality, the risks of wrongful convictions, the deterrence value of capital punishment, and closure for victims families. Contributors emphasize their own particular points of view but add to an excellent overview of this life-and-death issue." --Booklist

"The controversies over capital punishment in the United States grow more heated each year, but there is very little discourse by public intellectuals on the meaning and legitimacy of death as a criminal punishment. This collection is an important attempt to fill that gap, to map out the key questions in contention and the evidence available to answer them. It is a civilized and serious examination of a profoundly important fault line in the American legal system." --Franklin E. Zimring, William G. Simon Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment

"At long last, an intelligent, well-reasoned debate and a much needed balanced discussion of this most serious and vexing issue in our system of criminal justice. Some of the most prominent and outspoken supporters and opponents of capital punishment get to have their say in a thoughtful and reasoned discourse. At least, in this publication, supporters of capital punishment are given equal and appropriate treatment of their views on a subject most often swept under the rug or obscured by emotionalism."--Lynne Abraham, District Attorney of Philadelphia

"Brings fresh energy to an ongoing national conversation. It brings together some of the best thinkers and gets the best out of them. It contains up-to-date commentaries, all of which are lucid, engaging, and provocative. This book will be a singular resource for students of capital punishment for years to come."--Austin Sarat, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College

"It is not often that subtlety enters the death penalty debate in America. But Debating the Death Penalty achieves just that by bringing together the views of eight men who have very different ways of thinking about the subject. The book's most unique contribution is the way it reveals the humanity and good faith of those who support the ultimate penalty; as they struggle with the gravity of their own conclusions, they remind us that our compassion and our duties as a civil society must flow toward the victim of crime as well as the accused."--Carla Main, Opinion Page Editor of The National Law Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195179803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195179804
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Harris on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for balanced arguments for and against the death penalty, this is probably one of the best sources currently available. The book alternates between retentionist and abolitionist papers (those for and those against capital punishment). I have personally found it very hard to find any academic arguments in favour of capital punishment and perhaps the most academic one I have found is in this book - Louis Pojman, who was also the editor of a book on moral philosophy that was used in my philosophy studies in university.

This book is mostly focussed on the death penalty as it is experienced in the United States and features some of the most well known figures in the US on this issue (including former Illinois Governor George Ryan).

Being most familiar with the abolitionist arguments, I would say that this volume is not completely comprehensive, but it is worthy and I get the feeling that this is not aimed at showing all arguments - just the primary arguments of those speaking - and it does that excellently. It is an excellent book too if you are having trouble understanding 'the other side' in this issue and well worth the read.

On a side note, if you are interested in understanding the legal and international perspective of the death penalty I recommend Professor Roger Hood's _The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective_ - the best comprehensive study on the subject I have ever found.
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Format: Hardcover
Wealthy Nathaniel Neville shocked his two children and their spouses when he married his nurse and later left her with the estate when he died. His wife Virginia promised the irate foursome that they would be her heirs, but that vow seems shaky now. Virginia apparently has fallen in love with artist Jake O'Neill. At the opening of her new gallery in Broward's'Rock, South Carolina, Virginia announces that she and Jake will marry.
Already disturbed by their father's will, her stepfamily goes berserk thinking the handsome artist will waste what they believe is rightfully theirs. Chloe Martin is also stunned by the announcement because she thought she was exclusively seeing Jake. However, someone decides to take action, killing the charming artist. All evidence indicates that Chloe committed the crime as she flees the scene and her shawl is found near the victim. Chloe's boss mystery bookstore Annie Darling tries to prove her assistant is innocent while her spouse Max helps the police with the official investigation.
Though the who-done-it is relatively easy to figure out by real amateurs like this reviewer, readers will enjoy the latest Death on Demand mystery. Although obvious, the story line is fun to follow, as the darling lead couple wants the same thing even while working on opposite sides of the inquiry.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoy the Death on Demand series. Some people find the references to other mysteries and mystery writers annoying but I find it fun as I can many times relate to the reference, adding an extra little bit of pleasure to the mystery.
I particularly enjoyed this book because it features a lot of interplay between husband and wife Max & Annie Darling without focusing solely on their relationship. A wealthy "older" woman is about to announce her engagement to a much younger man when a murder occurs preventing that event from happening. A good friend of Annie's is the prime suspect for the murder and Annie & Max must, of course, step in to find the real killer. Max, in fact, is deputized to help the sheriff, a fact that irritates Annie to no end.
There are a few side issues thrown in for fun and they make for some nice diversions from the main mystery. I must say that one reason I especially enjoyed this book is that Max's mother does not play a big role - I do find her a little irritating as I find her somewhat of a stereotype airhead.
Really looking forward to the next entry in the series: "Murder Walks the Plank" and hope to see a new Henri O. mystery soon!
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Format: Hardcover
Carolyn Hart, where have you been all my life?
Seriously, how is it that I never spotted you on the bookshelves amongst the Sue Graftons and Patricia Cornwells and Sarah Paretskys? Well, I have now rectified that, thank goodness.
Carolyn Hart is a mystery lover's dream come true. Her stories are for anyone who will confess to the guilty pleasure of reading serial mysteries (okay, and even for those of you who won't admit it, but secretly indulge nonetheless). ENGAGED TO DIE is Hart's latest installment --- the fourteenth installment, to be exact --- in the Death on Demand whodunit series featuring Annie and Max Darling, amateur detectives reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles.
Annie Darling owns a bookstore, but not just any bookstore. She is the proprietor of Death on Demand, a popular venue on the island of Broward's Rock in South Carolina that specializes in selling leather-bound enigmas and paperback puzzlers. If you have ever walked into a real-life mystery bookstore like The Cloak and Dagger in Princeton, NJ, you know the sheer joy of losing yourself in the thievery, murder and mayhem oozing from the pages authored by Dashiell Hammett, Carolyn Keene or Arthur Conan Doyle.
The bookstore setting is ingenious; it affords Hart the opportunity to show off her knowledge of mystery writers, new and old, great and virtually unknown. Conversations in the store between Annie and her customers are peppered with titles and authors, and the reader, if a lover of mysteries, can't help but feel that he or she is part of a special club. Henny Brawley is described as the store's best customer; each of her visits results in the purchase of several books and the exchange of mystery trivia. (Brownie points for anyone who knows the significance of the name "Hepzibah" in the mystery genre.
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