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Pierrepoint: A Family of Executioners [Hardcover]

Steve Fielding
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2006
For fifty five years, generations of the Pierrepoint family served as fearsome hangmen in England. The dynasty began in 1901 with Henry Pierrepoint. He was followed into the gruesome profession by his brother Thomas and in time, his eldest son Albert. Between them, they carried out an amazing 900 executions. This book recounts the lives and tales of the Pierrepoint family; their reasons for taking up the profession and the inside details of the execution cases and the deeds themselves. Insight is shed on the feuds and intense rivalry between fellow hangmen as well as the notorious cases that kept the family firmly in the spotlight. With extracts from diaries and comments on the families representation in the media, this book provides a fascinating look at a profession that is long gone, but certainly not forgotten.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd; 1st ed edition (1 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844541924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844541928
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Steven Fielding is the author of several historical crime titles such as The Hangman's Record and The Murder Casebook Series. He has worked as the Historical Consultant on the Discovery Channel series The Executioners and has contributed to several magazines such as The Criminologist.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was this short note, sent to Home Secretary Sir Matthew Ridley in the early part of 1901, which set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the Pierrepoint family name becoming one of the most famous in modern British criminology, and being connected with capital punishment for the next half century. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as creepy as the Addams Family! 8 May 2006
Format:Hardcover
This is an interesting tale of the Pierrepoint family, Henry, his brother Thomas, and son Albert, who all followed the same occupational sideline to boost the family income.

I was surprised at the apparent ease with which Henry secured a job as Assistant Executioner - he wrote a speculative letter to the Home Secretary, and within a month he was starting a week's training course to quite literally "learn the ropes"; he assisted at his first execution within nine months, and was chief executioner - fitting the noose and pulling the lever - in less than two years. After this, the family members were able to pass on inside information to each other on what the job involved and how it was done, so they had an advantage when it came to applying for vacancies - Henry taught Tom, who taught Albert, who in turn advised Robert Leslie Stewart (who conducted one of the last UK hangings in August 1964) who was the husband of one of the barmaids Albert employed in his pub.

Of necessity, the book becomes rather repetitive, usually with a description of the crime and of the condemned, the date and place of the execution, and any unusual event which occurred during the hanging and how much of a "drop" was given to each "client". Appendix 2 lists for each of the family's clients their name, age, date of execution, location, and identifies the chief and assistant executioners.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the book was several times disturbed by a lack of adequate proofreading. There are several references to a place called "Lunburg", which I presume was actually "Luneburg"; there's just plain carelessness
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre at best............... 15 Aug 2008
Format:Paperback
This book should have been fascinating unfortunately it is far from this. I was hoping for insight into the executioner as a person and their feelings towards their job. Instead it is one long list of executions plumped out by facts of the crimes. Well written, I'm sure the author would write a fascinating true crime account, but ultimately not worth the time it took to read it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather dry 23 July 2007
Format:Hardcover
Want to know about the family of hangmen that were the Pierrepoints? Well don't start here, as this book gives exhaustive detail on all the people they hung, and those people's deportment on the way to the gallows, but it tells you absolutely nothing about the Pierrepoints and how they came to occupy their position in society, and surely a biography should do that? Instead you have page after page of who they hung, when they hanged them and what they'd done to be hanged. Very dull book save your money get the autobiography instead.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it should be. 20 Sep 2006
Format:Hardcover
I approached this book expecting to learn some intersting new revelations about the lives of the Pierrepoint men but instead found it a very dry recounting of almost every person they had ever hung. After a while this dry style consisting of the date and victim plus a little information on the crime repeated over and over will get on your nerves. That said there are one or two new facts to be discovered and it makes a good place to start if you have no real knowledge of the Pierrepoint family. The best place to start really is Albert Pierrepoints own biography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Badly written 17 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
More of a list than a book to be read and enjoyed. Given the recent tv adaptation this was very disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a family of executioners 9 Nov 2012
By Dougie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
no appendices in my copy, that was not good and left the book unfinished for me, otherwise the book was interesting and informative
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a lot of words that say nothing 17 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was mildly disappointed reading this book as I expected to know more about the man and the Pierrepoint family and instead it was a body by body count.I thought it would explain why he took this type of job and didn't expect to hear it was for the money.All in all, a bit flat.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Crime against writing 19 July 2011
By benb
Format:Paperback
This is withut doubt the most tedious and appalingly written book a I have ever read. Steve Fielding has written a book that clearly took him about a week to research. He has spoken to no-one involved in any of the story of the Pierrepoint family, and the book reads like one long list of who they hanged and when. At no point does he ever question any of the convictions and there are huge holes in the research. He can't even be bothered to find out the ages of the Nai war criminals Albert hanged in Germany. Easy information to find, one would think, given a) the meticulousness of the Nazis in keeping accurate records and b) the weakth of information on that period. There is very little of interest here, and at times it feels like Fielding has simply summarised (badly) Albert's diary. Don't be misled by the blurb on the back either - at no point does it provide "insights" into the Pierrepoints' lives. It barely even touches on them. For the first time ever I feel moved to write to the writer himself and ask him how he thought he would possibly get away with this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 2 days ago by Bryan J. A. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Pierrepoint: A Family of Executioners
It is a good book full of facts, but it does just lack something that I can't quite put my finger on?
Published 3 days ago by Gee-Bee
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
not a bad read
Published 1 month ago by chris
4.0 out of 5 stars Towser T
This history of a "family business" makes grim but fascinating reading. As someone who is "for" capital punishment - but only based on irrefutable and unimpeachable evidence, never... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stephen Timms
5.0 out of 5 stars first class book
what a great book I learnt a lot from thi book I will buy more books like this one great
Published 2 months ago by coli james campbell
3.0 out of 5 stars Grim but gripping.
A gripping insight into a subject most people would not like to dwell on.I must say I had'nt realised how often the ultimate punishment was carried out.
Published 4 months ago by John Ludlam
5.0 out of 5 stars born in same city
was interested in albert,s story what a read got all the family in one book father uncle plus the war thrown in
Published 5 months ago by simon eccles
4.0 out of 5 stars Let it return
Well written

Food for thought indeed

Perhaps it's what we need today? Really good read would recommend it to friends
Published 5 months ago by julie taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars book
this book was a download on my kindle I enjoyed it very much it gave a true insight into the mans work
Published 7 months ago by David Tonkinson
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing lack of details
Thought this would include more background information on both the executioners and those who hanged. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kay Fogg
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