Wednesday, October 25, 2023

"Execution, State and Society in England, 1660–1900"

New from Cambridge University Press: Execution, State and Society in England, 1660–1900 by Simon Devereaux.

About the book, from the publisher:

This book provides the first comprehensive account of execution practices in England and their extraordinary transformation from 1660 to 1900. Agonizing execution rituals were once common. Male traitors were hanged, disembowelled while still alive, then decapitated and quartered. Female traitors were burned alive. And common criminals slowly choked to death beneath wooden crossbeams erected at the margins of towns. Some of their bodies were either left to rot on roadside gibbets or dissected by anatomy instructors. Two centuries later, only murderers and traitors were executed – both by hanging – and they died alone, usually quickly, and behind prison walls. In this major contribution to the history of crime and punishment in England, Simon Devereaux reveals how urban growth, and the unique public culture it produced, challenged and largely displaced those traditional elites who valued the old 'Bloody Code' as an instrument of their rule.
Simon Devereaux is Associate Professor of History at the University of Victoria.

--Marshal Zeringue