"[P]resent[s] a colorful picture of a time when executions were a form of public entertainment, and provides keen insight into the origins of contemporary preoccupations with deterrence as the avowed goal of punishment. Highly recommended." CHOICE
"[I]mpeccably researched and written... French historians, but Europeanists also, will profit from the broad reach and scholarly acumen of this book." Pamela Pilbeam, History
"This book's impressive timespan provides the reader with access to an extraordinary range of interrelated material, which Friedland astutely juggles into a cohesive whole."
Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley, French History
"[A] brilliant book about changing taste in executions... This thoughtful and thoughtprovoking book is filled with interesting, arcane information. The argument is clear and the research admirable." David P. Jordan, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"This fine book takes up, works with and complicates a whole series of narratives about power, justice, punishment and death... Thought-provoking at almost every turn, it poses questions about ordinary people's relationship with the most extreme manifestations of state power that continue to resonate into the present day." David Andress, American Historical Review
"Anyone wanting to understand how capital punishment developed in the first place, both in France and on the wider European stage, and how the move towards its diminution and abolition began, should read this book." Hugh Gough, English Historical Review
"By concentrating on the history of capital punishment when it was performed publicly in France, Friedland hopes to provoke reflection on the continued use of the death penalty in the United States today... [Friedland] has written a sweeping intellectual and cultural history that challenges a number of prevailing explanations about the rise and fall of public executions in France." H-France