Cover: Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition, from Harvard University PressCover: Civilizing Torture in PAPERBACK

Civilizing Torture

An American Tradition

Add to Cart

Product Details


$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674244702

Publication Date: 03/10/2020


416 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

16 photos

Belknap Press


  • Introduction. A Question of Civilization
  • 1. The Manners of Barbarians
  • 2. Discipline in a Young Democracy
  • 3. Cruelty and the Paradox of Slave Property
  • 4. Torture in the Brothers’ War
  • 5. Imperialist Excesses
  • 6. Police Station Trespasses
  • 7. Cold War Brutality
  • 8. The Enemy Within
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Illustration Credits
    • 1.1. The Death of John Lawson.
    • 1.2. Several Modes of Inflicting Pain during the Inquisition.
    • 2.1. Implements of Torture, and Their Dangerous Effects.
    • 2.2. The Negro Convict, More, Showered to Death. Harper’s Weekly, December 18, 1858.
    • 3.1. The Author Hanging by His Hands Tied to a Cotton Screw. Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery. With an Appendix, Containing a List of Places Visited by the Author in Great Britain and Ireland and the British Isles; and Other Matter (Berwick-upon-Tweed: Published for the author and printed at the Warder Office, 1848).
    • 3.2. Wilson Chinn, a Branded Slave from Louisiana, ca. 1863.
    • 4.1. Southern Chivalry—Dedicated to Jeff. Davis. Harper’s Weekly, February 7, 1863.
    • 4.2. Retribution Will Be Surely Given. Harper’s Weekly, May 21, 1864.
    • 5.1. How United States Soldiers Were Met by Conquered Natives.
    • 5.2. Those Pious Yanks Can’t Throw Stones at Us Anymore. Life, May 22, 1902.
    • 6.1. “Well, Captain, the Prisoner Has Confessed to Murder!” “O.K. Hold Him till There Is a Murder!”
    • 6.2. President Herbert Hoover Meeting with the Wickersham Commission, May 1929.
    • 7.1. “The Evidence Is Piling Up.”
    • 7.2. Soldiers Torturing Viet Cong Suspect.
    • 8.1. “We Do Not Torture People!”
    • 8.2. Protestors Demand Justice for Victims of Chicago Police Torture.
  • Index

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound, by Daphne A. Brooks, from Harvard University Press

“Everything I Wanted”: Black Women Listeners and the High Fidelity Culture of Taste-Making

Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound, praises Hulu’s High Fidelity series, whose main characters are creative, intelligent Black women who are passionate about music and confident in their tastes and opinions. Where are the other shows like it?