In late summer 1923, legal hangings in Texas came to an end, and the electric chair replaced the gallows. Of 520 convicted capital offenders sentenced to die between 1923 and 1972, 361 were actually executed, thus maintaining Texas' traditional reputation as a staunch supporter of capital punishment.
This book is the single most comprehensive examination to date of capital punishment in any one state, drawing on data for legal executions from 1819 to 1990. The authors show persuasively how slavery and the racially biased practice of lynching in Texas led to the institutionalization and public approval of executions skewed according to race, class, and gender, and they also track long-term changes in public opinion up to the present.
The stories of the condemned are masterfully interwoven with fact and interpretation to provide compelling reading for scholars of law, criminal justice, race relations, history, and sociology, as well as partisans on both sides of the debate.
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Number of pages: 295
Weight: 794 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 509 mm
"An important new book . . . the first to explore in such depth the historical continuities in capital punishment in a single state, and especially the complex part played by racism in both past and present application of the death penalty. It is must-reading for anyone who seeks to understand capital punishment in the United States." * Criminal Justice Review *
"[The authors] have produced a book that is, on the one hand, a moving human document and, on the other, a model of dispassionate analysis. Readers will feel for the victims of the death penalty, whose humanity is glimpsed in their diaries, in their last words, and in pathetic pleas for clemency made on their behalf by loved ones. Equally, readers will be repelled by the patterns of bias in the administration of the death penalty so clearly reflected in social science tables. The authors have done us a great service by adding both detail and nuance to our knowledge of the human foibles and fallibilities of our justice system, which are revealed so glaringly when we presume to mete out final punishments." * Criminologist *
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