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Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair

by Moran, Richard A

  • ISBN: 9780375410598
  • ISBN10: 0375410597

Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair

by Moran, Richard A

  • List Price: $25.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Publish date: 10/01/2002
  • ISBN: 9780375410598
  • ISBN10: 0375410597
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Description: "Two Titans of capitalism locked in bitter public battle over the means of killing convicted murderers -- it is a macabre and enthralling story. In Executioner's Current, Richard Moran, a fine social historian, takes us in a crisp and incisive narrative to the heart of the emotional confusion that still characterizes American capital punishment." --Norval Morris, author of Maconochie's Gentlemen "Although the insidious lethal injection, which Richard Moran chillingly observes being adminstered, is now in fashion, the symbol for the Death Penalty remains the electric chair. It adds a timely twenty-first century dimension to the wretched thing to learn that Mr. Edison's contribution to the American criminal justice system was born of corporate greed. With the Death Penalty at last being revisited, Executioner's Current is a valuable contribution to the much-needed national conversation." --William S. McFeely, author of Proximity to Death "Executioner's Current is a brilliant description how the electric chair became one of America's first electric appliances. Moran's research is meticulous, his writing is superb, and his scholarship is unusually insightful. He shows how today's search for a more humane method to execute prisoners, now focused on lethal injection, has long historical roots and will continue as long as the executioner is in our employ." --Michael L. Radelet, author of In Spite of Innocence "Moran is a wonderful storyteller, and the history of the electric chair - - with rich A-C, D-C electric mogels trying to destroy each other's business - - makes a fascinating tale of greed, opportunism and hypocrisy. Thomas Edison's attempt to make George Westinghouse into America's Dr. Guillotine is worth reading by everyone who cares about business ethics, the death penalty and justice." --Alan M. Dershowitz, author of Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge "Richard Moran has written a terrific book, a wise and compelling account of an episode in American history that speaks to some of today's mostly deeply held beliefs about capital punishment. He writes with the flair of a fine novelist and the passion of a morally committed scholar. The result is a riveting story of the invention of the electric chair and a singular contribution to the modern debate about whether the state can ever kill painlessly, decently, humanely." --Austin Sarat, author of WHEN THE STATE KILLS: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND THE AMERICAN CONDITION "The moral of this well told tale, as I read it, is that our obsession with the technical question of how to execute convicted criminals has become a convenient substitute for the ethical question of whether we really believe in capital punishment at all." --Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
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