The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-11-18
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $24.95 Save up to $12.93
  • Rent Book $14.97
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Used and Rental copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Why does the United States continue to employ the death penalty when fifty other developed democracies have abolished it? Why does capital punishment become more problematic each year? How can the death penalty conflict be resolved? In The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, Frank Zimring reveals that the seemingly insoluble turmoil surrounding the death penalty reflects a deep and long-standing division in American values, a division that he predicts will soon bring about the end of capital punishment in ourcountry. On the one hand, execution would seem to violate our nation's highest legal principles of fairness and due process. It sets us increasingly apart from our allies and indeed is regarded by European nations as a barbaric and particularly egregious form of American exceptionalism. On theother hand, the death penalty represents a deeply held American belief in violent social justice that sees the hangman as an agent of local control and safeguard of community values. Zimring uncovers the most troubling symptom of this attraction to vigilante justice in the lynch mob. He shows thatthe great majority of executions in recent decades have occurred in precisely those Southern states where lynchings were most common a hundred years ago. It is this legacy, Zimring suggests, that constitutes both the distinctive appeal of the death penalty in the United States and one of the mostcompelling reasons for abolishing it. Impeccably researched and engagingly written, Contradictions in American Capital Punishment casts a clear new light on America's long and troubled embrace of the death penalty.

Author Biography

Franklin E. Zimring is the William G. Simon Professor of Law and Chair of the Criminal Justice Research Program at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Crime Is Not the Problem and American Youth Violence.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi
I. Divergent Trends
The Peculiar Present of American Capital Punishment
More Than a Trend: Abolition in the Developed Nations
The Symbolic Transformation of American Capital Punishment
II. Explaining the American Difference
Federalism and Its Discontents
The Vigilante Tradition and Modern Executions
The Consequences of Contradictory Values
III. Capital Punishment in the American Future
The No-Win 1990s
The Beginning of the End
Appendix A: Statistical Materials on Lynchings and Executions 207(6)
Appendix B: Reported Frequencies of National Death Penalty Policy, 1980 to 2001 213(14)
Appendix C: Death Row and Execution Statistics 227(2)
Appendix D: New Survey Analysis Materials 229(8)
Appendix E: Justified Killings by Citizens and Police, by State 237(4)
Appendix F: Review of Death Penalty Exoneration Data from the Death Penalty Information Center 241(2)
References 243(8)
Index 251

Rewards Program

Write a Review