A Handbook on Hanging

Charles Duff

A Handbook on Hanging is a Swiftian tribute to that unappreciated mainstay of civilization: the hangman. With barbed insouciance, Charles Duff writes not only of hanging but of electrocution, decapitations, and gassings; of innocent men executed and of executions botched; of the bloodlust of mobs and the shabby excuses of the great. This coruscating and, in contemporary America, very relevant polemic makes clear that whatever else capital punishment may be said to be–justice, vengeance, a deterrent–it is certainly killing.

status Copy #1 (2585): in
genre Humor and Satire » General Humor
publisher The New York Review of Books
publish date 2001
popularity checked out 1 time(s)


  • By Bill Svoboda -

    The subject matter (not surprisingly!) is dark…and detailed. The impeccably sarcastic prose reads like a non-fictional (and subversive) JRR Tolkien crossed with a modern Jonathan Swift-this was actually NOT the kind of book Charles Duff (linguist, teacher, translator and best selling author) usually wrote. As a combination history of hanging, anti capital punishment satire and general send up of British arrogance and stuffiness it is perhaps overambitious. For best results, start by reading the list of chapters … and then sip rather than guzzle.

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