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Diary of a Hangman

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But I still can't deny I very much enjoyed reading this book, and all the gruesome crimes committed inside it that felt straight from a fantasy story. Did have a few good parts such as the explanation for the execution methods but that is about it for me. The eeriest thing to think about is that all of these people were very real, and suffered these fates and caused tragedies that seem to be no different than today.

The first half is a historical background on execution and torture in medieval Nuremberg and it dispels myths and legends about the era. W. Gruner have put together a masterful tome that sets the scene of execution day and puts you in Master Franz Schmidts shoes as he does his duty for his country. Some of these remarks are about the criminal's conduct before execution - "Behaved very wantonly at the end" (175), "He was a godless man" (187) and "He sang all the way when he went to his death" (210). Use of the archive is by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (during term-time) and Fridays.

Pierrepoint, arriving at Chelmsford prison slightly intoxicated on 13 July 1910, had started a row, and would have beaten Ellis up, had not warders intervened. The second is the executioners log book on how and why each person was executed and finally the last chapter is of people he was tasked to punish and exile. Barthel Meussel, of Mehrenhüel, a murderer, who single handed committed two murders; the first at Bamberg at the mill-weir, when he stabbed a man and took his money, the other at Welckendorff on the mountains, when he cut the throat of a man who was sleeping with him on the straw in a shed, and took his money—beheaded at Hollfeld and exposed on the wheel. Sometimes difficult to get through because of repetitiveness, and some sections seem to drag on, due to perhaps Meister Schmidt's particular feelings on a specific execution or torture. This particular edition of the diary has an excessively long introduction that felt like modern moralizing rather than objective presentation in many parts.

It's interesting to know how things like this were dealt with in the past and in other countries, and how much we've changed and improved. Item despatched quickly and as described, but damaged in transit due to plastic wrap packaging being inadequate protection. I dont fully know what I was expecting from this book but it certainly wasn't this, it failed to bring to life the diary of the hangman and just really went through the number of executions and methods. This was definitely a diary that he used to keep track of those that he executed and how they were executed.Now an esoteric of legal and criminal history, A Hangman's Diary gives a year-by-year breakdown on all of Master Franz Schmidt's executions, which included hangings, beheadings, and other methods, as well as details of each capital crime and the reason for the punishment. TL;DR: I recommend if you're interested in the Middle Ages/executions/ye olde justice system, otherwise might not be your cup of tea.

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