89 books like Tyburn's Martyrs

By Andrea McKenzie,

Here are 89 books that Tyburn's Martyrs fans have personally recommended if you like Tyburn's Martyrs. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century

Una McIlvenna Author Of Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900

From my list on the history of capital punishment.

Who am I?

When I started researching the history of early modern public execution, I read a few eyewitness accounts in which people behaved so strangely that I realised I understood nothing about the realities of this once-common historical practice. By reading the books on this list, I quickly discovered that the ceremony of capital punishment was a performance in which the entire community participated, filled with rituals and behaviours that had enormous emotional and spiritual significance for everyone involved, not just the ‘poor sinner’ on the scaffold. I also discovered that music and singing were crucial parts of the performance, with ballads being sung about the event for years afterwards. 

Una's book list on the history of capital punishment

Una McIlvenna Why did Una love this book?

What must it have been like to be an executioner? In this detailed and moving study, Harrington explores the extraordinary diary of Meister Franz Schmidt, the 16th-century executioner of Nuremberg, who kept notes on every one of the 394 people he executed, as well as the countless others he tortured, whipped, and disfigured according to the law's demands. This book is therefore essential for understanding exactly how this mysterious craft was carried out, but the surprising twist in the tale is how Schmidt spent his entire life seeking to have his family's honour restored in a period when executioners were believed to be able to ritually 'pollute' another human simply by touch. Harrington's real achievement here is explaining how dishonour was the central force within public punishment—something we too easily forget today.

By Joel F. Harrington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Faithful Executioner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a dusty German bookshop, the noted historian Joel F. Harrington stumbled upon a remarkable document: the journal of a sixteenth-century executioner. The journal gave an account of the 394 people Meister Frantz Schmidt executed, and the hundreds more he tortured, flogged, or disfigured for more than forty-five years in the city of Nuremberg. But the portrait of Schmidt that gradually emerged was not that of a monster. Could a man who practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive?

In The Faithful Executioner, Harrington teases out the hidden meanings and drama of Schmidt's journal. Deemed an official…


Book cover of The Art of Executing Well: Rituals of Execution in Renaissance Italy

Una McIlvenna Author Of Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900

From my list on the history of capital punishment.

Who am I?

When I started researching the history of early modern public execution, I read a few eyewitness accounts in which people behaved so strangely that I realised I understood nothing about the realities of this once-common historical practice. By reading the books on this list, I quickly discovered that the ceremony of capital punishment was a performance in which the entire community participated, filled with rituals and behaviours that had enormous emotional and spiritual significance for everyone involved, not just the ‘poor sinner’ on the scaffold. I also discovered that music and singing were crucial parts of the performance, with ballads being sung about the event for years afterwards. 

Una's book list on the history of capital punishment

Una McIlvenna Why did Una love this book?

It’s not often I’m moved to tears by an academic book, but this book did it for me by putting me in the shoes of a Florentine patrician trying to comfort his friend the night before his execution. The main historical source of the book is an extraordinary ‘how-to’ manual: the one used by the ‘comforting confraternities’ of 16th-century Bologna, men who volunteered to spiritually prepare condemned criminals for their final moments on earth and, in so doing, hopefully increase their chances of salvation. The book explains the various methods and tools that the comforter could use, including prayers, songs, and pictures, and reveals the complex rituals of execution that began long before the prisoner’s arrival at the scaffold. A moving account of the realities of historical capital punishment.

By Nicholas Terpstra (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Executing Well as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Renaissance Italy a good execution was both public and peaceful―at least in the eyes of authorities. In a feature unique to Italy, the people who prepared a condemned man or woman spiritually and psychologically for execution were not priests or friars, but laymen. This volume includes some of the songs, stories, poems, and images that they used, together with first-person accounts and ballads describing particular executions. Leading scholars expand on these accounts explaining aspects of the theater, psychology, and politics of execution.

The main text is a manual, translated in English for the first time, on how to comfort…


Book cover of The Thief, the Cross and the Wheel: Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Una McIlvenna Author Of Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900

From my list on the history of capital punishment.

Who am I?

When I started researching the history of early modern public execution, I read a few eyewitness accounts in which people behaved so strangely that I realised I understood nothing about the realities of this once-common historical practice. By reading the books on this list, I quickly discovered that the ceremony of capital punishment was a performance in which the entire community participated, filled with rituals and behaviours that had enormous emotional and spiritual significance for everyone involved, not just the ‘poor sinner’ on the scaffold. I also discovered that music and singing were crucial parts of the performance, with ballads being sung about the event for years afterwards. 

Una's book list on the history of capital punishment

Una McIlvenna Why did Una love this book?

An art history book might not seem like the most obvious choice for a list like this, but this one is a revelation: we often forget that Crucifixion paintings are scenes of capital punishment. Merback looks at crucifixion images of northern European masters of the late medieval and early modern period, and reveals that the often mangled positions of the limbs of the two thieves on either side of Christ are depictions of the kinds of mutilations that spectators regularly witnessed on the bodies of those broken on the wheel (where the limbs were smashed and then 'woven' through the spokes of a cartwheel - no, really). This study is important not only for understanding the physical practices of execution on the Continent, but also for exploring the profound religious significance of the entire execution ritual. 

By Mitchell B. Merback,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thief, the Cross and the Wheel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This text reconstructs the religious, legal and historical context of the Crucifixion and of other images of public torture. The result is an account of a time when criminal justice and religion were entirely interrelated and punishment was a visual spectacle devoured by a popular audience. Mitchell Merback compares the images of Christ's Crucifixion with those of the two thieves who met their fate beside Jesus. In paintings by well-known Northern European masters and provincial painters alike, Merback finds the two thieves subjected to incredible cruelty, cruelty that artists could not depict in their scenes of Christ's Crucifixion because of…


Book cover of Seeing Justice Done: The Age of Spectacular Capital Punishment in France

Una McIlvenna Author Of Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900

From my list on the history of capital punishment.

Who am I?

When I started researching the history of early modern public execution, I read a few eyewitness accounts in which people behaved so strangely that I realised I understood nothing about the realities of this once-common historical practice. By reading the books on this list, I quickly discovered that the ceremony of capital punishment was a performance in which the entire community participated, filled with rituals and behaviours that had enormous emotional and spiritual significance for everyone involved, not just the ‘poor sinner’ on the scaffold. I also discovered that music and singing were crucial parts of the performance, with ballads being sung about the event for years afterwards. 

Una's book list on the history of capital punishment

Una McIlvenna Why did Una love this book?

Many think that the medieval period was the era of cruel and sadistic punishment, but it was, in fact, the Renaissance that saw the rise of the great spectacle of the 'theatre of horror': scaffolds erected to display the brutal dismemberment and suffering of executed prisoners in front of thousands of spectators. Although it focuses on France, Friedland's study explores why, all across Europe, this period saw an appetite for something so graphic. It explores the history of capital punishment from the Romans onwards, so it's essential reading for the theory behind executions, but the real strength lies in its exploration of the gulf between what theorists believed and what the general public actually did at executions, and why they attended in their thousands. 

By Paul Friedland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seeing Justice Done as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the early Middle Ages to the twentieth century, capital punishment in France, as in many other countries, was staged before large crowds of spectators. Paul Friedland traces the theory and practice of public executions over time, both from the perspective of those who staged these punishments as well as from the vantage point of the many thousands who came to "see justice done". While penal theorists often stressed that the fundamental purpose of public
punishment was to strike fear in the hearts of spectators, the eagerness with which crowds flocked to executions and the extent to which spectators actually…


Book cover of Truth Machine

John L. Casti Author Of Prey for Me: A Psychological Thriller

From my list on psychological thrillers that will make you think.

Who am I?

I've spent the last half-century researching complex systems and mathematical modeling, both at research centers including The RAND Corporation, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Int'l Center for Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), as well with professorships at New York University, Princeton and the Technical U. of Vienna. I have also had a lifelong interest in the connection between science fiction and science fact, and have explored the relationship in several of my books including X-EVENTS, The Cambridge Quintet, and Paradigms Lost. I also served as editor for the volume Mission to Abisko, which gives an account of a week-long meeting between sci-fi writers and scientists held north of the Arctic Circle in Abisko, Sweden some years back.

John's book list on psychological thrillers that will make you think

John L. Casti Why did John love this book?

By the early twentieth century, violent crime was the number one political issue in America. In response, Congress passed the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill, which gave a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trail, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. But to prevent abuse of the law, it was necessary to create a machine that could detect lies with one-hundred percent accuracy. It was clear that such a Truth Machine would change the world. But the race to perfect the Truth Machine forces one man to commit a shocking act of treachery. Now he must conceal the truth from his own creation---or face execution.

The conflict here is truth versus justice, as is often the case in human affairs. I was extremely interested in seeing how the author would balance these two seemingly irreconcilable factors. The book does a startingly job in resolving this conflict, in the process creating…

By James Halperin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Truth Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Prepare to have your conception of truth rocked to its very foundation.

It is the year 2004. Violent crime is the number one political issue in America. Now, the Swift and Sure Anti-Crime Bill guarantees a previously convicted violent criminal one fair trial, one quick appeal, then immediate execution. To prevent abuse of the law, a machine must be built that detects lies with 100 percent accuracy.

Once perfected, the Truth Machine will change the face of the world. Yet the race to finish the Truth Machine forces one man to commit a shocking act of treachery, burdening him with…


Book cover of The Partner

Neil Peter Christy Author Of Head Lion

From my list on reminders not everyone deserves happily ever after.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning creative director and have worked in the advertising industry for the past twenty years. I've worked on brands like Pepsi, Citibank, Sheraton, Unilever, Emirates, and DHL in over twenty countries. I've been fascinated with the glitz, glamor, and grit of the advertising world since I was a teenager. My second book, just like the first, is set in this unique world. As a writer, my inspiration has always been John Grisham. I aspire to use advertising as the backdrop for my stories the way Grisham uses the law. I choose revenge because revenge has moved humankind forward. Every story has traces of revenge embedded in it. 

Neil's book list on reminders not everyone deserves happily ever after

Neil Peter Christy Why did Neil love this book?

Praising John Grisham’s writing is like showing a candle to the sun. Even though none of his books are underrated, The Partner seldom makes the list of his best works. What I love about this book is what I aspire to do as a writer—the book pulls you in from the first sentence. It’s like sitting in a rocket that thrusts into space without picking up speed. The reader is forced to turn the pages one after the other till the book ends. There is an underlying theme of revenge in almost all the characters, including Patrick Lanigan, and this motivation keeps driving the story forward. If I had to pick one writer who is a master at pacing novels, I would choose John Grisham every time.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Partner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping legal thriller from the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author and creator of Sooley and The Judge's List.
________________________________

A man will do almost anything for ninety million dollars.
So will its rightful owners.

Patrick S. Lanigan died in a car crash in February 1992.

He left behind a mourning wife, young daughter and bright future.

Six weeks after his death, ninety million dollars disappeared from the law firm he'd worked at.

It was then that his partners knew he was still alive.

And the chase was on . . .
_____________________________________

'A master at the art of deft…


Book cover of A Time for Mercy

Neil Turner Author Of A House on Liberty Street

From my list on underdogs overcoming impossible odds.

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian thriller and suspense novelist with an abiding affinity for stories of good ultimately overcoming evil. I’m partial to reluctant heroes battling powerful entities that are inflicting injustice. If our protagonist is flawed and forced to overcome internal demons and/or challenges, so much the better! My Tony Valenti thrillers feature a mom-and-pop law firm known as Lawyers to Little People and Lost Causes, so I know a thing or two about this type of book. Characters using brains, integrity, and bravery—moral and/or physical—fascinate me every time.

Neil's book list on underdogs overcoming impossible odds

Neil Turner Why did Neil love this book?

If there is an heir to Harper Lee in the realm of legal thrillers, my vote goes to John Grisham. There’s a basic sense of decency in Grisham’s books that appeals to me. In A Time for Mercy, Grisham’s enduring character Jake Brigance returns to Clanton, Mississippi in a story constructed around a polarizing small-town murder. However, precious little can be categorized along strictly black and white lines in this crime. Grisham understands that we live in a world where the grays of reality are predominant and inherently more interesting. He makes sure we understand the characters, even those we may dislike or disagree with. Grisham doesn’t take the easy way out in A Time for Mercy. The story unfolds to a surprisingly untidy yet satisfying conclusion that leaves the reader with plenty of food for thought.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Time for Mercy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Jake Brigance is back! The hero of A Time to Kill, one of the most popular novels of our time, returns in a courtroom drama that The New York Times says is "riveting" and "suspenseful."

Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the…


Book cover of Education for Thinking

Andrew Shtulman Author Of Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories about the World Are So Often Wrong

From my list on the cognitive foundations of science.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of psychology at Occidental College, where I direct the Thinking Lab. I hold degrees in psychology from Princeton and Harvard and have published several dozen scholarly articles on conceptual development and conceptual change. I’m interested in how people acquire new concepts and form new beliefs, especially within the domains of science and religion. My research investigates intuitions that guide our everyday understanding of the natural world and strategies for improving that understanding.

Andrew's book list on the cognitive foundations of science

Andrew Shtulman Why did Andrew love this book?

Two skills fundamental to scientific reasoning are inquiry and argument. Inquiry is generating new information, and argument is using that information to justify and evaluate knowledge claims. Kuhn presents a framework for understanding these processes, as well as methods for teaching them. Her insights are grounded in science-education research demonstrating not only why inquiry and argument are challenging but also how they can be improved. Kuhn’s book fundamentally changed how I teach science to others. It provided me a way of organizing and motivating the various research methods I cover in my courses, as tools for building a collective body of knowledge.

By Deanna Kuhn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Education for Thinking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What do we want schools to accomplish? The only defensible answer, Deanna Kuhn argues, is that they should teach students to use their minds well, in school and beyond.

Bringing insights from research in developmental psychology to pedagogy, Kuhn maintains that inquiry and argument should be at the center of a "thinking curriculum"-a curriculum that makes sense to students as well as to teachers and develops the skills and values needed for lifelong learning. We have only a brief window of opportunity in children's lives to gain (or lose) their trust that the things we ask them to do in…


Book cover of Until I Could Be Sure: How I Stopped the Death Penalty in Illinois

Maurice Possley Author Of Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI's Story of Courage and Faith

From my list on true stories with meaning and power.

Who am I?

I am a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has worked for the past 10 years as the senior researcher for the National Registry of Exonerations. In that capacity, I have written nearly 2,500 individual accounts of men and women and teenagers who were wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. Some of them were sentenced to death. I have seen and written about these tragedies firsthand.

Maurice's book list on true stories with meaning and power

Maurice Possley Why did Maurice love this book?

This is the true first person account of Illinois Governor George Ryan’s courageous and unprecedented decision to suspend the death penalty and empty death row in 2003. He oversaw the state’s last execution, an experience that was seared in his brain. In 2000, he became the first governor (and a Republican at that) to impose a moratorium on the death penalty. I was there as a journalist and I helped him write this powerful memoir.

By George H. Ryan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Until I Could Be Sure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In January 2000, Illinois Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on executions-the first such action by any governor in the history of the United States.

Despite a long history as a death penalty proponent, Ryan was emotionally moved after allowing an execution in 1999. He was also profoundly disturbed by the state's history-12 men had been executed and 13 had been exonerated since the return of the death penalty in Illinois in 1977. More had been proven innocent than had been executed.

Three years later, in 2003, Ryan pardoned four death row inmates based on their actual innocence and then…


Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Rick R. Reed Author Of The Man from Milwaukee

From my list on true crime that would be criminal not to read.

Who am I?

I chose this list for two reasons—one, true crime has always held great fascination for me. I have a real hunger to understand the motivations behind the darkest sides of human nature, which I believe exists in us all. My own book, The Man from Milwaukee, dives deep into this obsession by sympathetically portraying a closeted young gay man in 1991 Chicago, who sees the cannibal killer as a victim himself of his own irresistible murderous impulses, likening them to our main character’s own self-loathing toward his same-sex desires. 

Rick's book list on true crime that would be criminal not to read

Rick R. Reed Why did Rick love this book?

Mailer’s opus dramatizes the cursed life of Gary Gilmore. In 1976, he robbed and killed two strangers. After being tried and sentenced to death, Gilmore insisted on being executed, to the disagreement of the justice system, who wanted him to remain alive. Written simply and with great compassion, the novel is disturbing, yet ultimately thought-provoking and redemptive.

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Executioner's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW O'HAGAN

In the summer of 1976 Gary Gilmore robbed two men. Then he shot them in cold blood. For those murders Gilmore was sent to languish on Death Row - and could confidently expect his sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. In America, no one had been executed for ten years.

But Gary Gilmore wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him into a world-wide celebrity - and ensured that his execution turned into the most gruesome media event of the decade.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in capital punishment, the American Revolution, and social justice?

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