A Handbook On Hanging


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Small hardcover bound in black cloth with paper spine label. 130 pages. Pictorial end-papers. First American edition, first printing. Full title reads: “A Handbook on Hanging. Being a short Introduction to the fine art of Execution, and containing much useful information on Neck-Breaking, Throttling, Strangling, Asphyxiation, Decapitation and Electrocution; as well as Data and Wrinkles for Hangmen, an account of the late Mr. Berry’s method of Killing and his working list of Drops; to which is added a Hangman’s Ready Reckoner and certain other items of interest. All very proper to be read and kept in every Family.” As Arthur Koestler wrote some years later, “Great Britain is that peculiar country in Europe where people drive on the left side of the road, measure in inches and yards, and hang people by the neck until dead.” Duff was not the first to pen a satirical polemic against capital punishment [think Swift] but he may be said to be the most unflagging, updating his polemic every decade from 1928 through 1938 and 1948 and up until 1961. An inestimable contribution to the literary catalog of English satire from Swift, through Blake and Dickens., but finally an erudite and effective blow struck against the “ineffaceable indecency of the death penalty, most especially in its rope-and-trapdoor manifestation, perhaps, but in all the other permutations.” First published in England a year before, this First American edition is actually the scarcer of the first printings. No previous ownership marks. A clean, square, unmarked copy. Very light, nearly invisible ring stain on rear board and some toning to spine label, else a well preserved copy. Very good. .

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Weight 0.75 lbs
Book Author

Duff, Charles


Hale, Cushman & Flint

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12mo – over 6¾ – 7¾" tall

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Jacket Condition

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