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Gruesome Spectacles

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About the Author

Austin Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. Sarat has written for numerous academic and trade publications, and his books include: When the State Kills (2001), Mercy on Trial (2005) and Re-imagining To Kill a Mockingbird (2013).


"Austin Sarat's spellbinding book has captured the spirit of his agile mind. Gruesome Spectacles is provocatively written and sure to keep readers keenly interested in the captivating stories of many death row prisoners. This book will hook you from the first chapter and continue to fascinate you throughout its journey. A must-read." -- Charles Ogletree * author of All Deliberate Speed and The Presumption of Guilt * "America has no more incisive scholar of capital punishment than Austin Sarat, who always has something fresh to say. Gruesome Spectacles offers readers new and provocative insights." -- Scott Turow * author of Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty * "Sarat is mostly sucessful in navigating these dangerous waters of describing the gruesomeness of botched executions without making them just a spectacle or systematic failure of people or equipment. His success is a result of balancing accounts from a variety of sources, situating his work in the social sciences and legal studies." -- David Fazzino * Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania * "Sarat's chronicle of how executions were bungled, mishandled, or failed is crucial to the evolution of the methods, and thus to the penalty itself . . . Sarat's comprehensive and even exhaustive effort provides a reference that all involved in criminal justice, and especially capital punishment, must take into account." -- Jon M. Sands and Dale A. Baich * Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology * "We have harnessed the power to annihilate life on earth. Yet we still can't seem to extinguish, quickly, painlessly, and reliability, a single human life. Gruesome Spectacles tells us why. With his bright, clear, and extra-ordinary prose, Austin Sarat raises many disturbing and profound questions-not only about botched executions-but about State authorized killings made on behalf of the American people. A gripping and provocative read." -- Richard Moran * Mount Holyoke College *

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