Cover: Pictures at an Execution in PAPERBACK

Pictures at an Execution

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$31.00 • £26.95 • €28.95

ISBN 9780674667365

Publication Date: 07/21/1998


288 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

5 halftones


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Lesser’s mesmerizing study about the spectatorship of murder…demonstrates why a televised execution cannot succeed as either deterrent or moral instruction. A significant addition to the literature of capital punishment.—Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

What’s most engaging about Pictures at an Execution is the way in which Lesser’s intense involvement with her subject is mediated by a cool rationality that militates against sentimentality, cant, and disingenuousness. It’s bracing to watch an active moral intelligence at work, ready to question anything, including the writer’s own motives&helli; We can read the book with pleasure, interest, and admiration.—Francine Prose, New York Newsday

Unusually compelling reading, for the book suggests that the persistent interest in murder is in fact one of the threads of our common humanity, a prospect we can hardly entertain with complacency. Why murder should draw us is the question Lesser explores through a multiplicity of lenses in a sensitive and intelligent manner, abjuring sensationalism. This is a provocative, well-conceived, and well-written book.—James P. Hammersmith, Southern Humanities Review

Her style is not dense but enviable, a joy to read, like listening to an old friend.—Douglas Dennis, Angolite

Erudite but sensible culture crit.New Statesman & Society

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