Anthony Dykes

Out of Fashion

Hanging in Judgment: Religion and the Death Penalty in England

By

SCM Press 274pp £19.95 order from our bookshop
 

Everyone seems keen on hangings. Executions are living liturgy. Here is a thorough piece of social history where the ghoulish reader will find nothing to enchant him. The author takes us through the arguments and battles of the abolitionists and retentionists, culminating in the abolition of hanging as the penalty for murder in 1969.

Potter’s detailed social history brings to light a variety of engaging characters who are, without exception, on the side of abolition. Surreal, but in many ways successful, is the campaigner of the 1930s and 1940s, Mrs Van der Elst. She seems,

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