JUST REVENGE - Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty

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Reviews of Just Revenge

"Costanzo contends that it is time for this country to reconsider the costs and consequences of the death penalty. His ensuing text is thoroughly researched and refreshingly easy to read. Chapters 1 and 2 give the history of executions in the United States from the first documentation in 1608. In subsequent chapters, he considers whether the death penalty is cheaper than life imprisonment, is fairly applied, or is a deterrent to potential murderers. Highly recommended for its content and style, this book should be useful for academic collections in sociology and criminal justice."
-Library Journal

"Dr. Costanzo has written a clear, comprehensive book that could be the basis for a course on the death penalty.  Chapter by chapter, he clarifies the process and examines every aspect of the death penalty including its effect on the victim's families.  Just Revenge provides all the facts needed to make an informed decision about the effectiveness of the death penalty--and does so in an interesting and clear style.  A valuable addition to any library, it is required reading for those seeking to understand the complex issues that surround our response to violence in America."

-Murder Victim's Families for Reconciliation Newsletter

"Just Revenge gathers and summarizes vast amounts of research in a well-written and near encyclopedic fashion.  Despite its point of view, the book should appeal to capital punishment proponents as well as opponents--proponents will appreciate the fair-minded and analytical style.  Both sides will have in one place the arguments and difficult questions regarding capital punishment that are raised as the debate over capital punishment rages on."

-New York Law Journal

"Every American should read this book!  Mark Costanzo has given us a thorough, thoughtful, and eminently readable study of a national practice that is over-utilized and under-analyzed.  In doing so he has laid bare a secret that is quietly corrupting our national soul."

-Mike Farrell,
President, Death Penalty Focus 

"Just Revenge forces us to examine the real substance of capital punishment as an issue in America today.  This is must reading for all who are concerned with how our justice system decides who lives and who dies."

-Donald A. Cabana,
Author of Death at Midnight: Confessions of an Executioner 

"An excellent survey and analysis of the issues surrounding the death penalty in America." 

-Bryan Stevenson,
Equal Justice Initiative

"This is a cogent, well-researched book.  Costanzo has done his homework and handles his material evenly and fair-handedly. Plus, he must have had a grandpa or somebody to teach him storytelling because he hooks you into reading 'social scientific evidence' as if you're reading a novel."

-Sister Helen Prejean,
author of Dead Man Walking

"A breathtaking tour of all facets of this controversial policy frontier.  From the abstract debate over deterrence to the concrete cost of an execution, Costanzo deftly presents and evaluates competing perspectives.  Just Revenge is a riveting work that will make readers enormously more informed about how and why America punishes capital felons, and what--if anything--this lethal policy accomplishes." 

-Dane Archer,
Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz, 
Author of Violence and Crime in Cross-National Perspective 

"Mark Costanzo has written an exceedingly engaging and ultimately compelling book on this most controversial topic.  Just Revenge is a clear, cogent presentation of what we know about capital punishment as it is presently practiced in the United States.  If you want an insightful, empirically grounded weighing of the pros and cons of the death penalty, this book is the best place I know to find it." 

-William J. Bowers,
Professor of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University 

"While debates about the death penalty are increasing in intensity, they are all too often over-heated and under-illuminated.  Mark Costanzo's lucid book offers current information, dispassionate analysis, and historical insight that are badly needed on both sides of this debate." 

-Gerald F. Uelmen,
Professor of Law, Santa Clara University, 
Author of Lessons from the Trial: The People v. O.J. Simpson 

"Establishes a new measure for the understanding of the death penalty in the 90s ... An engaging and extensive examination of one of the most crucial moral, legal, and political issues facing society.  It will be of interest and use to students of criminology as well as to the general reader." 

-Richard Moran,
Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Mount Holyoke College,
Commentator for National Public Radio 

"Professor Costanzo has done a great service by compiling some of the best information about the death penalty and presenting it in a highly readable and thoughtful form.  Students, scholars, politicians, and citizens everywhere would profit from using this book to shed light on a topic that has been for too long buried in rhetoric and misinformation." 

-Richard C. Dieter,
Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center

"A concise overview of the death penalty in the 1990s--must reading for anyone who is ambivalent about the death penalty or curious about what fuels the contemporary thirst for blood." 

-Michael Radelet,
Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of Florida 

"This voice in the wilderness needs to be heard.  Before we can become a civilized nation, we must stop the killing--ours first. Mark Costanzo, in this compassionate and intelligent book, leads the way."

-Gerry Spence,
Author of How to Argue and Win Every Time