This is the story of ""the most extraordinary judge"" and the ""most extraordinary court"" the United States has ever contained, says its author, and, indeed, in some respects, it belongs beside the witch trial courts, for religion again has a hand in law. When Isaac Parker was appointed by President Grant to Preside at the federal district court in Western Arkansas, he committed himself to justice as he saw it -- he sentenced almost all the murderers who appeared before him to death by hanging and had a death machine prepared that would do away with twelve men at a time. This account deals mainly with the criminals who came before Parker, giving details of their condemnatory actions which are often quite exciting. It also gives a picture of the court, of the prison, of the hangman Maledon who proudly carried out Parker's decrees, and of the lawyer Reed who opposed Parker's stiff justice. The author skirts the person of Parker, giving us many facts about him but never penetrating him -- one feels he is still an enigma to Mr. Croy. As a result, this book is good reading but fast rather than deep.