This book is full of the horrible things mankind (manKIND - there's a contradiction) has done over the centuries to its fellow humans. Well I say "full of" when I should say 3/4 full. The other 1/4 is the bibliography and index.
It starts of at 1000BC and works its way through the ages up to around 1880AD. And it would appear that we, as a race, have managed to create countless methods of handing out pain, suffering and humiliation in ways meant to maximise the pain, suffering and humiliation.
The book is just right for reading in short bursts as it is split into mini sections that are rarely more than a couple of pages long each. This means that you can get straight into the nitty gritty of each gruesome subject. Unfortunately, it can also mean that sometimes you are left wanting to learn more about a particular section. You can pick and chose what you want to look further into I suppose. This is not realy meant for in depth information gathering on any one area of torture, punishment, war or general nastiness. It is more of a starting reference point from which to chose what you want to learn about further.
There is a sufficient amount of horrible stuff in here to keep most fans of history or horror happy. It could just possibly have done with being bulked out a tiny bit more.