DEATH AND THE SUPREME COURT by Barrett Jr. Prettyman


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While it was the expressed intent of the author to give to the layman a thorough knowledge of the workings of the Supreme Court and the procedural safeguards which the law accords a man sentenced to death, this book is hardly a comprehensive study. The greater portion of the book is devoted to a description of the crime and of the offender, interpolated with occasional lucid analyses of the application of constitutional principles to a capital case and of the decision making process of the Supreme Court. Much of the material of a capital case is, of course, lurid to a degree. It is perhaps too much to ask that a popular book be scholarly. A wide public is consistently held in view: the author does not pick his way through the sensationalism with taste and dignity; the book is filled with trite phrases. On the other hand, the author, In his summing-up, presents a brilliant discussion of the issues which warrant review by the court and of the limitations on the effectiveness of the court. The book has value in that in reading it one has a feeling of coming into direct contact with the men who formulate and interpret the supreme law of the land.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World