Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
A must for fans of corporal punishment
on May 11, 2001
One of the best in-print works on the history of torture and basic human nastiness. The focus with this book has been on the visual, and there is at least one picture on every page. The authors are a little short on the how-to info, but anybody with the time and the inclination can figure out the details pretty easily.
I also found it interesting that the authors spend the last 52 pages of this work---over a quarter of its 192 pages---focused on the dilemas of torture and execution in modern society. While entirely worthy of philosophical discussion, contemporary cruelty pales in comparison to that of previous societies, and as such is less interesting.
Visually, the only book currently available that can compete is Michael Kerrigan's The Instruments of Torture. Since Kerrigan's book is also stronger on the verbal side of things, I'd recommend that as a starting point for those with an interest in the subject. Which isn't to say you shouldn't get this book (4 stars, baby), just that there is a better work out there that you should get first.
For those in search of more detailed verbal accounts of torture techniques, I highly recommend Daniel Mannix's exemplary work, The History of Torture. Or, if you can find a copy, Fuad Ramses' masterwork Ancient Weird Religious Rituals, which goes into great detail about Old World cruelties such as the Blood Feast.