Kiss of death: America's love affair with the death penalty
Few Issues Provoke such intense feelings and strongly held views as does capital punishment. In Kiss of Death, John D. Bessler skillfully interweaves the powerful life stories of death row prisoners, his own experiences as a pro bono attorney on death penalty cases in Texas, and historical perspective to persuade the reader that state-sanctioned executions must be abolished in the United States. Bessler's compelling, well-crafted narrative asks if capital punishment has less to do with crime control and more to do with vengeance and swift retribution--an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth. The author argues convincingly that the death penalty is just another form of violence in an already too-violent society. He contends that sentencing capital offenders to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the best way to meet the needs of public safety while breaking the self-destructive cycle of violence. Placing the nation's complex, ever-changing relationship with capital punishment within legal, cultural, and historical contexts, Bessler dispels myths about the death penalty and addresses such subjects as racial discrimination in capital cases, wrongful convictions, the prominent role of guns in American life and in homicides, the issue of deterrence versus brutalization, the impact of executions on corrections officers and others in the criminal justice system, and the worldwide movement toward abolition. Also included is a call for televised executions as a means of exposing the reality of capital punishment to the public. Kiss of Death brings a fresh yet reasoned approach to an emotionally charged and highly contentious debate. It shows why people should care--in fact, beoutraged--that government-sponsored killings are still taking place today.
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Kiss of death: America's love affair with the death penaltyUser Review - Book Verdict
"The kiss of death" is how attorney Bessler (Legacy of Violence) describes state-sanctioned executions as they are carried out in America today, and he reasons that this "kiss" is morally ruinous to our nation. In this small, well-crafted volume, Bessler presents a no-holds-barred argument against capital punishment mixed with stories of death row inmates in Texas. He points out that America stands, unabashed, in the company of totalitarian regimes that are responsible for 90 percent of the world's executions. To make his case, Bessler cites the high cost of these executions, their discriminatory nature, their brutality and racial bias, the incidence of wrongful convictions, and the toll they take on the people who carry them out. Most of his arguments are familiar to death penalty opponents. What sets his book apart is Bessler's style and personal intensity. Whereas other writers use statistics and cold facts, Bessler quotes passages from literature and tells poignant stories from his own experiences as a pro bono lawyer for death row inmates in Texas. Bessler makes no concessions to the opposing viewpoint, and his fervent outrage may even sway some people who are not already convinced. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Frances Sandiford (ret.), Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY ...
Review: Kiss of DeathUser Review - Goodreads
Bessler introduces no new evidence to the death penalty debate; most of his statistics have been presented before, and in more timely works. Statistics, unfortunately, make up the bulk of his study ...