Author: Berry (James) & Ward (H. Snowden) Ed. by:
Year: 1892
Publisher: Percy Lund
First Edition
Edition Details: 1st edn.
Book Condition: Fair
Price: 650.00
Hardback. Edited by H. Snowden Ward. James Berry, who plied the gallows trade from 1884 to 1892, was the first - and the last - British hangman to write freely about the techniques of execution. He describes not only his personal attitude towards the ultimate punishment but also that of many of the condemned prisoners whose fall he engineered. Britain's Official Secrets Act was extended to forbid executioners' memoirs soon after the book was first published. His book, a collector's item for many years, is uniquely informative. It is a fascinating social document; an indispensable work of reference for criminologists; a contribution to the argument between those who wished to see the return of capital punishment and those who regarded death by hanging as a barbaric anachronism. Contains 144pp. of text with simple monochrome illustrations throughout. There are two reasons for the book's rarity. First the book was produced with a card and paper cover, hardly adequate protection against the ravages of time. Second, when George Chapman was arrested in 1902 for the murder of his 3 common-law wives, a copy of the book was found among his possessions, and according to H.L. Adam (Trial of George Chapman, Hodge, 1930), 'Berry...appealed to the police to keep all reference to his book out of the case, explaining that he wished to be entirely dissociated from it. He had, he said, destroyed all the copies remaining in his possession, and all others which he could find.' 12mo. card and paper cover. Very fragile and just about holding together. Extremely Rare. Fair

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