BOOKS: "Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment"

A classic book about the death penalty has recently been re-published and is now available in paperback and electronic form. Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment was written by Michael Meltsner, currently a professor at Northeastern University School of Law, and one of the key architects at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund behind the challenge that led to Furman v. Georgia in 1972. This Supreme Court decision resulted in overturning every death penalty law and every death sentence in the country. The book traces the history of that case and fits it into other significant events in the 1960s and early 1970s. In a new Foreward to the book, Dr. Evan Mandery, an Associate Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, writes, “This is the best and most important [book ever written about the death penalty in America.] … Every serious scholar who wants to advance an argument about capital punishment in the United States - whether it is abolitionist or in favor of the death penalty, or merely a tactical assessment—cites this book.”

(M. Meltsner, “Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment,” Quid Pro Books, 2011; originally published in 1973 by Random House). See U.S. Supreme Court and Books on the death penalty.