Item description for Who Owns Death?: Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions by Robert J. Lifton & Greg Mitchell...
In this timely book, Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell investigate the mindsets of individuals involved in the death penalty -- including prison wardens, prosecutors, jurors, religious figures, governors, judges, and relatives of murder victims -- and offer a textured look at a system that perpetuates the longstanding American habit of violence. Richly rewarding and meticulously researched, Who Owns Death? explores the history of the death penalty in the United States, from hanging to lethal injection, and considers what this search for more "humane" executions reveals about us as individuals and as a society... and what the future of the death penalty holds for us all.
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Studio: Harper Perennial
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.04" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.75" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Jan 22, 2002
Publisher Harper Perennial
ISBN 038079246X ISBN13 9780380792467 UPC 099455014007
Reviews - What do customers think about Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment, the American Conscience, and the End of Executions?
Killing a Person is Either Right or Wrong...Can't Be Both, Can It? Nov 30, 2005
Regardless of how "biased" or "unbiased" these authors are, or whether or not the paperback edition costs less than the hardcover, and just what this site's marketing intentions really are, this IS an important book that should be read by anyone concered about, or who participate in, the debate about the "death penalty." My own belief is that it's really easy to argue "for" killing as the ability to do so lies in the "nature" of each of us. As an old 3-Dog Night song goes, It's "easy to be hard...to be cruel!" Taking an honest look at forgiveness and mercy is what's difficult - I know it is for me, the belief in an "eye for an eye" notwithstanding. Actually, Jesus Christ, speaking As and For GOD "struck down" this particular belief (eye4eye) in favor of a not-so-natural way of behaving. (Matthew 5:38) Anyway, Take Care & Stay Well!
BUY THE PAPERBACK Nov 29, 2003
I am primarily offended that the authors and this site publish the almost the exact same book in both hardback and paperback with different titles in order to sucker folks into buying both. this site outright recommends the purchase of both books - but you should only buy the paperback. It has all the text of the more expensive hardback plus one additional chapter.
The book graphically displays some of the problems with the justice system; it fails, however, to examine the proponents' take on the death penalty. By failing to make such an examination, people with little or no opinion or those who are pro-death penalty will likely make changes to their political thought without the necessary logical underpinnings.
Interesting Look Yet Not Unbiased Oct 11, 2002
I was a bit disappointed in this book because the dust jacket states the authors attempted to write a unbiased book covering the people that are part of the capital punishment process in America. Maybe it is that the authors stance on the death penalty is so strong that it is all they could do to be as objective as they were, but I was still looking for an unbiased account. With that said I did learn a lot from the book, I also agree with the author's position on the death penalty so their position was not that hard to take. I just wanted more of the other side represented so that I could learn more about that point of view.
The most eye opening part of the book is just the raw data on how many people are currently on death row and how many people have been taken off death row after being proven innocent. The authors also take the reader through all the people associated with the death penalty for interviews. From Judges and juries to the prison guards and executioners, all get a say in the book. What was interesting is that the authors did not present any really gun ho, hang them high types, all the people seamed down to earth and a little uneasy about the whole process. I think there is such a primitive law and order feeling associated with the states power to end a life that I do not think the authors are correct that the death penalty is coming to an end in America - it just appeals to too much of the population.
Overall this is an interesting and eye-opening book. If you are interested in the personal side of the death penalty then this is a good place to start. It did slow down at the end and again I would have liked a little more unbiased writing if only to hold the book out as an example of an unbiased report pushing for the end to the death penalty.
Good book -- good angles on capitol punishment Sep 3, 2002
I found this book a good read and would recommend it.
One major objective of this book is to show capitol punishment from all angles. They talk about he prosecutors, the jurors, the judge, the executioners, the governors, and all other cogs in the system. By the time they are done, they make a convincing argument that this process is so fractionalized that nobody feels ultimate responsibility for this grave action (which helps keep it alive).
It also explores people's "support" for capitol punishment. You come to realize that the *objective* of a lot of supporters is keeping the criminal off the street, not vengeance. Thus, when given the option of life without parole, the support for capitol punishment drops below 50%.
I feel that there was a lot of "On one hand... then on the other hand... but you have to remember... and it is important not to discount...".
Although they referenced many polls and facts, I would have preferred this to be a little more 'scientific' and less philosophical. Also in their effort to explor all sides of this issue, many of their statements are pretty obvious -- for example, victim families what vengence and 'closure'. Duh.
I found the style to be a little odd. One of the writers is a journalist and the book is written accordingly. One one hand, they try to be even-handed showing all sides, while on the other, they write with the base assumption that capitol punishment is wrong. I did not find this confusing, but it was a little odd.
I don't wish these comments to discourage people -- it is a worthwhile read, but it does have a few shortcommings.
Very good book! Jun 11, 2002
I read this book for a class and I really liked the book! I thought it was one of the best books that I've read on the issue of capital punishment.