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An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (International Pocket Library) (International Pocket Library) Paperback – November 4, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)

From the Back Cover

Penal laws, so considerable a part of every system of legislation, and of so great importance to the happiness, peace, and security of every member of society, are still so imperfect, and are attended with so many unnecessary circumstances of cruelty in all nations, that an attempt to reduce them to the standard of reason must be interesting to all mankind. Its is not surprising, then, that this little book hath engaged the attention of all ranks of people in every part of Europe.
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Product Details

  • Series: International Pocket Library
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Branden Books; Revised ed. edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082831800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0828318006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,269,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Reading Beccaria's masterpiece was truly comforting, in a sense in which more recent works are not. In a world where increasing numbers of people are in favor of the death penalty, and where the rights of the person under trial sometimes don't seem to matter, this rational, lucid and yet quietly compassionate book was a worthwhile read. Its enlightened, ingenious and sometimes colloquial way of presenting arguments is even more satisfying when you place the book in its historical context (Beccaria's ideas were truly revolutionary by the time's standards) and learn that, after it was published, many works were written in reply to it, defending and trying to morally justify the use of torture in judicial proceedings. You should read this essay in order to fully grasp this great leap in the history of juridical thought and philosophy.
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Interesting as period piece; he's a philosophe so be ready for long on theory short on anything else. The life in prison is worse than death began with Ch. 28 this work fyi. This was in circulation in Original 13 so had influence.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent translation of Beccaria's masterwork. The phrasing is clear and unaffected; and the format is pleasant and well-disposed. An Essay on Crimes and Punishments is one of the greatest treatises in the democratic tradition, a testament to human freedom and social justice. For students of law or political theory (of which I am one) this is an excellent account of some of the fundamental principles of democratic society and jurisprudence. Anyone who holds public office should be forced to read this book at gunpoint.
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Format: Paperback
The Prince by Machiavelli Versus An Essay on Crimes and Punishments
by Cesare Beccaria

Two men, living hundreds of years apart, in many ways, wrote with parallel opinions and conclusions. Most well known is Machiavelli's The Prince; however, in many ways, the greater impact came from lesser known Cesare Beccaria, with An Essay on Crimes and Punishments--the latter being the basis upon which much of governments and laws have been established.

Both men emphasized that the virtue of man should be the basis of our interpersonal actions. Yet they also conceded that man's seemingly instinctual appetite for power prevents that base virtue from ruling our decisions. Given the continued use of military might of one country against another, it is abundantly clear that what Machiavelli wrote in the 15th century and Beccaria wrote in the 18th continues to hold true today.

The Prince was written based upon Machiavelli's observations and analysis of what was happening in his country. His books resulted in his recognition as the founder of political science inasmuch as he was the first to analyze various forms of government.

Many of us may also observe, perhaps evaluate and analyze, and come to the conclusion that somebody has to do something. Machiavelli, in writing The Prince did just that. He wrote and sent his treatise directly to Lorenzo De Medici, Duke of Urbino...as a token of his service. Throughout The Prince Machiavelli constantly refers to the virtues needed to be an effective leader, an effective prince. At the same time, he looks at what actually happened, using events of those days, and effectively explained what was done right or wrong.
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