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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars24
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 January 2014
This is not for the faint of heart of weak of stomach, but then the title should be enough to warn off those who can't take it. This book is an excellent research tool for the writer who wants to inflict something unpleasant - or downright horrific - on their protagonist. It is also a sad indictment of what humans are capable of doing to one another.
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on 19 January 2013
If you love a bit of historical gore like me, then I would definitely recommend this book. Tracing the history of punishment in the UK, as well as bringing in details from around the world, the book is thorough and well-researched. It is not for the faint hearted because some parts go into a lot of graphic detail! Great introduction to the history of punishment and torture.
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on 22 April 2008
A riveting chronicle of punishment, torture and pain down the ages -- though not a book for bedtime! Irene T. also explodes a few myths. It's unlikely sailors ever had to walk the plank (they were probably just tossed overboard), while in England few witches were burned alive at the stake. They hanged or strangled them first. And lifelong imprisonment wasn't without its comforts: one fellow kept in Newgate prison without trial for nearly 50 years managed to have a wife who gave him children -- all ten of them born in his cell. A relief to learn, too, that eucalyptus oil works best if you've just been tarred and feathered. Well-written by an accomplished journalist, it's a good read.
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on 6 February 2013
Just finished reading this and enjoyed it (if that's an appropriate exrpession about a book which delves into the darkest aspects on inhumanity)
I felt some of the listings were a bit brief and rushed but on the whole a good read that you can drop in and out of with lots of interesting 'not a lot of people know that' moments
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on 26 January 2013
All in all I would say this is a good introduction to this grisly subject. Much of the subject matter will be known but there is enough obscure references to keep you interested. Considering this book was free its a great "buy" to keep you occupied for an hour - although hopefully not by putting these techniques into practice!
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on 30 January 2013
A very brilliant book! Well informed, and well written. Irene Thompson has done an outstandingly fantastic job on keeping you interested, and fascinated with the punishments from history. Very hard to put down :)
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on 5 April 2014
I found this a very good book that describes the punishment and torture dealt out over the years without going in to too much gruesome detail.
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on 19 January 2013
I really enjoyed Thompson's tongue-in-cheek style, narrating the bizarre and unusual forms of torture, as well as the one's we all know about it. She uses historical anecdotes to flesh out her list of punishments which - if you love history - makes for an interesting and sometimes amusing read. I very much enjoyed this book - it may be quite short but Thompson still manages to pack plenty in!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 April 2009
No, this certainly isn't the A-Z of punishment and torture. It leaves a great deal out, so much in fact that one can learn far more just browsing the internet. If you really want a comprehensive and detailed A-Z of suffering then get the CD entitled "The Encyclopedia of Human Cruelty", published in Australia and easily tracked down on the internet. It's still not perfect, but will give you real nightmares as opposed to this book which is a very basic guide to the subject. However, if you want to be a serious student of suffering, then the best approach is to buy or obtain every single item of the subject because even this book has a few gems the others don't have. At the very least I'd recommend this book to my dentist for his waiting room to reasure the patients that they could be a lot worse off!
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on 27 January 2014
This book is interesting but very lacking in any real detail.
It is easy to read but glosses over each subject far too quickly & would have benefitted from being more indepth
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