A Punishment in Search of a Crime: Americans Speak Out Against the Death Penalty

Ian Gray, Author, Moira Stanley, With Avon Books $8.94 (383p) ISBN 978-0-380-75923-1
As polls report that a majority of Americans favor capital punishment, Gray and Stanley, in cooperation with Amnesty International U.S.A., marshal opposing arguments. The editors, screenwriters who claim to have approached the issue with neutrality, were convinced by their research that ``violent solutions merely produce more violence.'' The 42 interviews here--with lawyers, clergy, prison personnel, inmates on death row and families of murder victims, among others--offer persuasive testimony. Keeping vigil with a mentally deficient young man the night before his execution is compared to a ``campfire, and the conversation to throwing logs on the fire to keep away the darkness and terror.'' Willie Darden is heard protesting his conviction on the way to Florida's electric chair in 1988. The history of the death penalty, economic and sociological factors concerning its application, as well as its dubious efficacy as a deterrent do not, however, receive adequate attention in this format. Author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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