Professor John Bessler’s latest book, The Death Penalty as Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition, is to be published in February by Carolina Academic Press.
From the book’s page on Amazon: “[…] Bessler argues that death sentences and executions are medieval relics. In a world in which mock or simulated executions, as well as a host of other non-lethal acts, are already considered to be torturous, he contends that death sentences and executions should be classified under the rubric of torture. Unlike in the Middle Ages, penitentiaries — one of the products of the Enlightenment — now exist throughout the globe to house violent offenders. With the rise of life without parole sentences, and with more than four of five nations no longer using executions, The Death Penalty as Torture calls for the recognition of a peremptory, international law norm against the death penalty’s use.”
Bessler is the author of several books about the death penalty, including Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders’ Eighth Amendment (2012), Kiss of Death: America’s Love Affair with the Death Penalty (2003), Legacy of Violence: Lynch Mobs and Executions in Minnesota (2003) and Death in the Dark: Midnight Executions in America (1997). Bessler is also the editor of Against the Death Penalty (2016), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s dissent in Gross v. Glossip, a 2015 death-penalty case, and the author of The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution (2014), which tells the story of Cesare Beccaria, an influential 18th-century thinker who argued against tyranny and the death penalty.