Between them, the three men in the fearsome Pierrepoint dynasty executed over 800 people during a career spanning more than half a century. Henry, his brother Thomas, and his son Albert, dispatched some of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century, and in the process earned a public notoriety that followed them throughout their eventful lives.For years, the three men were faced with the task - prestigious to some, horrific to many others - of being the last point of contact for the guilty and condemned. The Pierrepoints executed criminals the nation over before travelling to many countries including Egypt and postwar Germany, where they hanged Nazi war criminals, and gained a reputation as the world's most deadly practitioners of the art of hanging."Pierrepoint: A Family of Executioners" recounts the intriguing stories of the three men and the effect that their macabre occupation had on their personal lives. This definitive guide is filled with shocking inside tales from the official records and diaries kept by the Pierrepoint family. With revealing insights into the intense rivalry between fellow executioners, new light is shed on the menacing world of years gone by.
©2008 John Blake Publishing (P)2013 Prospero Media
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book was written a bit differently than what I was expecting from the blurb about the book. I was expecting a biography type story of the men and their lives, instead it is mainly a chronicle of their more famous executions. The time frame of the book is from 1903 to 1956 when the death penalty was revoked. The opening of the book is what I was originally expected, in that, it tells about Henry's application to be an executioner, the process at the time to be come one, the interviews he went too and the training he took. Once he started working as an executioner the story mostly changed to the person to be executed and their crime. Albeit, I did find it interesting and noted how murder has evolved in society over the years. I found the stories in World War One and World War Two intriguing the execution changed from murder to treason. The part of the story covering post WWII war crimes trials and executions were fascinating, I am well versed in the American Nuremburg trials but was unaware of the British War Crime Trials of the concentration camp commandants and guards. I would like to learn more about the trials by the Allied countries and how they decided which country would try what type of war crimes. The last part of the book covered the controversy of the death penalty and Albert's response to it. Steve Fielding did a lot of research to gather the material for this story. Norman Gilligan did a great job of narrating the story.
This is a listing of Pierrepoint's "clients." Very little insight into the man, , his uncle, or his father. Pierrepoint: Executioner was a better read, but neither book opened the door on how it really feels to hang so many men and women.
That would depend on the reviews. I purchased the Pierrepoint book without reading what others had to day. I am not sorry I did, for what it has it is informative, but it missed the mark.
Nothing, the performance, because of the prose, was stilted and wooden.
Pierrepoint was never very forth coming about his profession. I surmise that he would have been content never to have become a person of public acclaim. I choose to believe that in the end the notoriety is what made him give up the business.
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