Engel, an award-winning mystery writer, has written a scholarly history of executions and executioners, with an emphasis on England and the Commonwealth countries. Notable beheaders' and hangmen's lives are presented with their thoughts and beliefs on how executions should be carried out. Engel briefly discusses capital punishment in Europe and the United States. In so far as he states that he is in favor of abolishing executions but has attempted to be unbiased, he fails. In his discussion of the death penalty in the United States, he uses cases that were causes clbres among opponents of the death penalty: Barbara Graham, Caryl Chessman, Ted Bundy, etc. Nevertheless, academic libraries should consider this title because it contains material that is rarely covered: capital punishment in Canada and women who have been sentenced to death. Unlike Engel, Farrington, a writer and ex-Fleet Street journalist who worked for several years at London's Central Criminal Court, has written a concise survey of "justice" through the ages. The punishments and tortures discussed, seen as barbaric today, were once considered appropriate for the particular time. Heavily illustrated, this book is not for those with a weak stomach. The major drawback is the use of red pages with black words and black pages with white words, which makes the text difficult to read. In addition, there is no bibliography. Despite these flaws, this is a good purchase for popular true crime and history collections.Michael Sawyer, Clinton P.L., Ia.