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The Execution of a Serial Killer: One Man's Experience Witnessing the Death Penalty Paperback – December 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing; 2nd edition (December 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419683713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419683718
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,998,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Diaz's powerful examination of the death penalty opens with a detailed description of the crimes of serial killer Edward Castro, a man whose execution Diaz witnessed. In 1986, Castro was responsible for three brutal murders and confessed when picked up by the Florida police on an unrelated issue. Diaz, a sociology and criminology professor at a college in Minnesota, was undecided about his stance on the death penalty. On one hand, he opposed it on moral grounds, but he had also seen the devastation such callous and sadistic killers wrought. When he learned the states of Texas and Florida needed volunteers to witness executions, he sent them both letters. Florida called on him. From that moment up until (and beyond) the execution itself, Diaz agonized over the process--including wrongful convictions and botched executions--and the consequences of the state taking a life, even that of a murderer. Readers on both sides of the death-penalty debate will find much to ponder in this thoughtful assessment of the U.S.' highest form of punishment. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...direct and humble ... achingly honest ... extremely affecting. It's a significant addition to the literature on this subject." -- Scott F. Turow, Bestselling author of Presumed Innocent and Reversible Errors

"...vivid account of his experience as a witness to an execution ... insights about the factors that create serial murderers…" -- Stephen Nathanson, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Northeastern University, Author of “An Eye for an Eye?---The Immorality of Punishing by Death”

"I doubt that any reader will walk away from this book unchanged." -- Claire M. Renzetti, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Sociology, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA

"…[Diaz] simply but powerfully nudges us into recognizing that capital punsihment is far more than just a controversial topic..." -- Claire M. Renzetti, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Sociology, St. Joseph’s University

"…direct and humble…achingly honest…extremely affecting…a significant addition to the literature…" -- Scott Turow, Bestselling author of Presumed Innocent

"…readers on both sides of the death penalty debate will find much to ponder in this thoughtful assessment ..." -- Kristine Huntley, Booklist, American Library Association --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This book is absolutely brilliant!
Kristin L.
The book allows one to face the emotional trauma one undergos when witnessing something like this.
Becky Roith
This was a great book and I would recomend everyone to take the time to read this book!
Carrie Hoversten, Student

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Blaker, author/columnist on April 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Execution of a Serial Killer begins by taking readers on a disturbing journey through the unspeakable crimes of a sociopath, with descriptive narration of the savagery of Edward Castro and of several other serial killers and the emotional and physical torture endured by their victims. Although opposed to the death penalty myself, the accounts quickly and temporarily induced a desire for revenge and for the death penalty, a normal human response to such brutal killings.
But author Joseph Diaz continues by sharing his own experience of indecision in regards to the death penalty, which is compounded by various arguments on both sides of the issue. Finally, when faced with witnessing the execution of Castro, the author comes to terms with the death penalty, concluding it is not the solution.
What especially captured me was the author's style and candidness. He has a sense of humor that is used appropriately, helping to relieve some of the edginess that builds from the intense subject. I was able to know the author as he shared his innermost thoughts that at times, if not odd, bordered on bizarre. Yet, they were very much like the thoughts that sometimes pop into my own mind and that we probably all encounter but would be unwilling to share with even our closest confidant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Crocker on April 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Edward Castro was a piece of work. He was a sociopathic serial killer who enjoyed his life of crime way too much. Professor Joseph Diaz is a Professor of Sociology who specializes in criminology and antisocial behavior, has a wife and kids, and is a very Christian man. Professor Diaz was also a person who used to be ambivalent about the death penalty. The Execution Of A Serial Killer is Professor Diaz' very personal story of how he came to watch Edward Castro executed by the State of Florida, and what effect this event had on his thinking. I was thoroughly involved with Diaz' physical and mental journey, and highly recommend this book, especially to those folks who are either ambivalent about the death penalty or pro-death penalty, but couldn't see themselves pushing the button personally.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader Bailey on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book a must read. Gripping from the first page to the last. Dr. Diaz goes into more than just the behavior of Edward Castro. He explores other factors that helped contributed to what may have caused Castro to become a killer. While exploring these factors, one theme is constant - Castro was responsible for his actions. This book also explores the effects witnessing an execution has on those who witnessed it. This book is in two words.....well done.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Hoversten, Student on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I could not put the book down, it kept you always interested wondering how the author was going to deal with certain situations he put himself in. The author also made you think twice about whether we should or should not be using this as a punishment. This was a great book and I would recomend everyone to take the time to read this book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What an amazing book. For anyone for, against, or undecided about executions.
It also does a great job of descibing how people become serial killers and discusses the minds of various serial murderers (including the one the author watched being executed).
I thought this was a powerful book and I admire it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Boatwright on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was the officer who arrested Mr. Castro in 1986 just after he murdered the man in Ocala. I was present during his interview when he described the murders he committed. I look forward to reading this book (ordered 9-10-07). Bobby Boatwright
After reading the book I was very disapointed. The author did not rely on the facts of the case and did not research the events surrounding Castro's murders and arrest. His obvious bias manifested itself throughout the book and in my mind, made the story a fictional work centered on an actual event.
Castro was a very sick man that raped and murdered and was seeking to do the same to a small male child when he was arrested. To try and create excuses for this man or justify any of his perverse crimes is sickening to me. The world is a much safer place for all of us and our children now that this man is not in it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Becky Roith on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Execution of a Serial Killer invites one into the mind of someone who did the unthinkable. One can explore the killer's motives and thought patterns while travelling with Professor Diaz throughout the trying experience. The book allows one to face the emotional trauma one undergos when witnessing something like this. He keeps one on the edge of his or her seat provoking the ultimate internal question: "Could I watch someone die?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kathleen buxton on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I tried to use this as a source while writing a paper on the death penalty. I found nothing worthwhile. This book is awful and I'm pretty sure all of the positive reviews were written by the author.
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