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Ok is devoted to the life and death of William Kemmler the unfortunate who beta tested the electric chair as well as blow by blow descriptions of all the legal action in his case from jury trial to the refusal of the US Supreme Court to rule that electrocution was cruel and unusual punishment I found this to be an interesting book discussing the decision to use electricity as a painless and humane method of executing convicted criminalsDuring the last of the 19th century criminals were executed by hanging them While this was an accepted practice many people started to compla Horrifying et informative I already kind of disliked Edison now I rather hate him for his role in the now I rather hate him for his role in the chair I wish that the book went a little into the electric chair s role in the 20th century but when a book goes into this much detail Death in a Serene City you can t make the focus too broad The illustrations of the electric chairs may make people sitting next toou on the subway nervous. Orward in New York’s Auburn Pen itentiary in August 1890 and was horribly botched Moran makes clear how this industry tug of war raised many profound and disturbing uestions not only about electrocution but about the technological nature of the search for a humane method of execution And the fundamental uestion he says remains with us today Can execution ever be considered humane A superbly told tale of industrial and political skullduggery that brings to light a little known chapter of modern American histo. ,

Ld to control their empires Makes todays news stories look sad and little compared to the degree these two men went at it Very good account of how the electric chair was developed and initiated as an add for Edison s direct current in opposition to Westinghouse alternating current An interesting story but told in incredible This is perhaps useful for a scholar in this field but if A Runaway World? you just want the main storyou have to wade through an awful lot of repetition details such as what 10 different newspapers or journalists reported numerous differ Richard Moran a sociologist and death opponent argues that the electric chair was invented not provide a humane alternative to hanging but as an attempt by Thomas Edison to gain financial advantage over his business rival George Westinghouse Even if Moran s thesis is a bit overstated his lucid prose reveals corporate machination and biased scientific testimony a plenty Over much of the bo. Dison in order to maintain commercial dominance set out to blacken the image of Westinghouse’s AC by persuading the State of New York to electrocute condemned criminals with AC current Westinghouse determined to keep AC from becoming known as the “executioner’s current” fought to stop the first electrocution claiming that use of the electric chair constituted cruel and unusual punishment The legal battle that ensued ended when the Supreme Court refused to rule The electrocution of William Kemler went ,

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It s pretty clear from the start the author is both Anti Edison Anti Death Edison and anti death and unfortunately this comes through pretty
blatantly and gets 
and gets the way of honest historical research It s a uick read but I don t feel it is comprehensive to the subject Main focus is on the legal manuevering around the first execution by electrocution Much of the legal action result of the conflict between Westinghouse Edison Basically Edison stuck with a direct current system that was proving unpopular once people realized that it reuired a generation plant every few miles tried to make the use of alternating current championed by Westinghouse in an execution into a marketing ploy that would show that alternating current was too dangerous to have around the house Edison and cronies killed several animals as well to make the point The result of the legal maneuvering was clarification of cruel unusual Lots of information on two men that did what they cou. The amazing story of how the electric chair developed not out of the desire for a method of execution humane than hanging but of an effort by one nineteenth century electric company to discredit the otherIn 1882 Thomas Edison launched “the age of electricity” by lighting up a portion of Manhattan with his direct current DC system Six ears later George Westinghouse lit up Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current AC They uickly became locked in a battle for market share Richard Moran shows that ,
Executioner's Current Thomas Edison George Westinghouse and the Invention of the Electric Chair