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 Featured Title
The Practice of Execution in Canada
Ken Leyton-Brown  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/18/2010
ISBN: 9780774817530    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 1/1/2011
ISBN: 9780774817547    

216 Pages


About the Book

It is easy to forget that the death penalty was not abolished in Canada until 1976. But from the time of Confederation execution was an entrenched aspect of Canadian culture and criminal justice, one whose meaning was shaped by ritual, symbol, and theatricality.

The Practice of Execution in Canada is not about what led some to the gallows and others to escape it. It is about the taken-for-granted rituals and practices of execution, seen as a social institution. Drawing on hundreds of capital case files, Ken Leyton-Brown shows that each phase of the process -- from the trial to confession, from the procession to interment -- was constrained by law and tradition. But the institution was not rigid. Powerful forces were arrayed against it, and a series of reforms tried to preserve execution as a positive institution in Canadian society. As execution receded from the public eye, however, it was emptied of meaningful ritual and became more vulnerable to criticism.

The Practice of Execution in Canada is the first comprehensive look at the history of execution in Canada. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Canadian history, legal history, criminology, and law and anyone who wants a deeper understanding of contemporary debates on capital punishment.

About the Author(s)

Ken Leyton-Brown is an associate professor in the History Department at the University of Regina.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1 Introduction

2 Trial and Sentencing

3 Redemption

4 Confession

5 Procession

6 Hanging

7 Display

8 Inquest

9 Disposal

10 Conclusion





"This study of executions in Canada is morbidly fascinating--literally. In calm, clear, well-written prose, Leyton-Brown looks at several hundred Canadian executions and presents details about enough of them to make a good story…anyone who reads this dispassionate book will have difficulty concluding that execution can ever be justified. Summing Up: Highly recommended."
-- J.L. Granatstein, emeritus, Canadian War Museum, CHOICE, November 2010, Vol. 48, No. 3

"Ken Leyton-Brown has tackled an enormously important piece of research and The Practice of Execution in Canada will, without a doubt, serve as an important reference. Everyone who opposes, and also those who favour the death penalty should read it."
- Gord Barnes, is an Amnesty International volunteer, activist and fieldworker living in Regina, Saskatchewan,, February 2011

"This fascinating work takes us from a dramatic account of the public execution of Claude Ruel on July 1, 1868 in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, to the double hanging of Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin in Toronto’s Don Jail on December 11, 1962. Just as that jail had gradually evolved from an example of mid-Victorian penal innovation into a symbol of public indifference and cruel confinement, so this story had evolved along a similar path within the public’s perception. What’s most original is the focus upon treating this process as an institutional history -- a rich approach and one certain to provoke debate."
-- Bruce Bowden, Registrar at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and historian in Canadian public history

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

History > Canada

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of The Practice of Execution in Canada from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

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Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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