- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press (October 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674057236
- ISBN-13: 978-0674057234
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peculiar Institution: America's Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition
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Top Customer Reviews
I was surprised to see the review that criticized this book for ignoring issues about the rights of individual states. Garland seems clearly sensitive to this issue and his analysis is nuanced in regard to states, the death sentence, and executions. This is simply puzzling to me that someone would object on this level. It was this prior review that prompted me to write this--the first time I've written an Amazon review.
Occasionally, I felt Garland was repetitive, announcing what he was going to do, telling the reading when he was doing it, and then summarizing by telling us he had done it.
One minor quibble about the Kindle edition: I couldn't directly access the footnotes from the body of the text. I would have to bookmark my current location, go to the Table of Contents, read the notes, then go back to the menu to find my bookmark. In an age of hypertext, this seems like extraordinarily poor design. Given the high price of the book from HUP, this is particularly annoying.
Incidentally, in the notes I would have liked to have seen some references to more recent empirical work on the race of victims in (a) charging crimes as capital offenses and (b) actual sentencing patterns.
The failure to accept that basic principle is crucial to the philosophical underpinnings of the book.
It's a shame, because such a deeply researched and otherwise well written book had an opportunity to add something new to the conversation about capital punishment. Instead, it's just another voice in the chorus of those who oppose the death penalty regardless of any opposite argument.