History Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Source

Christian Century


Reviews of three books:

  • Randolph Loney, A Dream of the Tattered Man: Stories from Georgia’s Death Row.
  • Austin Sarat, When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition.
  • Mark Lewis Taylor, The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America.

Author's introduction: I finish this review in the shadow of Timothy McVeigh's execution. But while America's most notorious mass murderer is dead, and while the pundits continue to argue the merits and meaning of his execution, news about capital punishment just keeps coming. Next after McVeigh on the federal death list is Juan Raul Garza, but because of the dramatic racial and geographic disparities in federal death sentences, religious and civil rights leaders are using Garza's case — he is a Mexican-American convicted in Texas — to press for a moratorium on federal executions. Recently the Supreme Court overturned the death sentences of Texans Mark Robertson and Johnny Paul Penry, the latter on the grounds that his jury should have received better instructions on how it should take into account his mental retardation and frightful childhood. And here in Ohio, the state prepares to execute Jay D. Scott, even as his attorneys continue to argue in various courts that to kill a schizophrenic is "cruel and unusual punishment"; Scott's execution has been delayed twice, the last time five minutes before the poison was to be administered — the shunts were already in his veins.

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The Christian Century





Place of Publication

Chicago, IL

Peer Reviewed