May God Have Mercy on Your Soul: The Story of the Rope and the Thunderbolt

Ed Baumann, Author, Edward Baumann, Author Bonus Books $24.95 (499p) ISBN 978-0-929387-90-1
During his 37 years as a reporter in Chicago, Baumann ( Murder Next Door ) witnessed every execution in Cook County. His chronicle of the last days of those executed reaches back to 1840, but his claim that he is undecided about whether there should be a death penalty seems disingenuous. Baumann begins with background on the grisly means of execution developed in Europe in centuries past. Writing about hanging, he notes that death often resulted from slow strangulation, not a broken neck; in discussing electrocution, he observes that we do not know whether it is painful. Baumann prints a talk against capital punishment given by New York's Governor Mario Cuomo in 1981, and a chapter entitled ``A Vote in Favor of the Death Penalty'' written by George Murray, author of The Legacy of Al Capone. Although the book is a mixed bag, it is nevertheless a powerful indictment of execution. Photos not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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