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Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel

Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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Last Words of the Executed


Last Words of the Executed Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Some beg for forgiveness. Others claim innocence. At least three cheer for their favorite football teams.

Death waits for us all, but only those sentenced to death know the day and the hour—and only they can be sure that their last words will be recorded for posterity. Last Words of the Executed presents an oral history of American capital punishment, as heard from the gallows, the chair, and the gurney.

The product of seven years of extensive research by journalist Robert K. Elder, the book explores the cultural value of these final statements and asks what we can learn from them. We hear from both the famous—such as Nathan Hale, Joe Hill, Ted Bundy, and John Brown—and the forgotten, and their words give us unprecedented glimpses into their lives, their crimes, and the world they inhabited. Organized by era and method of execution, these final statements range from heartfelt to horrific. Some are calls for peace or cries against injustice; others are accepting, confessional, or consoling; still others are venomous, rage-fueled diatribes. Even the chills evoked by some of these last words are brought on in part by the shared humanity we cant ignore, their reminder that we all come to the same end, regardless of how we arrive there.

Last Words of the Executed is not a political book. Rather, Elder simply asks readers to listen closely to these voices that echo history. The result is a riveting, moving testament from the darkest corners of society.

About the Author

Robert K. Elder has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon, and many other publications. He teaches journalism at Northwestern University and is the author or editor of several books.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Studs Terkel



1          The Noose

2          The Firing Squad

3          The Electric Chair

4          The Gas Chamber

5          Lethal Injection


A Note on Accuracy and Sources

Timeline of Capital Punishment in the United States


Product Details

Elder, Robert K.
University of Chicago Press
Foreword by:
Terkel, Studs
Terkel, Studs
Terkel, Studs
Last words
Executed persons
United States - General
General True Crime
Reference-Quotations Anecdotes and Proverbs
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Punishment
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime
Reference » Quotations Anecdotes and Proverbs

Last Words of the Executed Used Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226202686 Reviews:
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