Thumbscrew & Rack: Torture Implements in the 15th and 16th Centuries by George Macdonald.
It is a “...well illustrated examination of the instruments of torture used by organized Christianity to honor the God of Love and to convince unbelievers of the truth and beauty of the One True Faith.”
Reprint available on Ebay now.
I have read this book, and I think it includes some things that are not true. Sure, people have tortured each other in the name of religion or “freedom” but I don’t think they really used iron maidens. On the other hand, John H. Langbein, Torture and the Law of Proof: Europe and England in the Ancien Régime (1977), which was cited in the Second Torture Memo (the one that the administration had someone write for public consumption, but then wrote another one saying that it didn’t really apply, so GS-9s can torture away, anyway), is a much more scholarly approach. Because it was cited by the administration in the memo that they didn’t really mean, it has been reprinted. Therefore, people can read it and see what sources the administration didn’t rely upon in telling everyone that they think torture is bad while winking and nudging.
(A helpful reader, who is against torture, points to Jean Kellaway, The History of Torture and Execution: From Early Civilization through Medieval Times to the Present available on Amazon.)
Hopefully all the pro-torture presidential candidates will post their torture reading list soon. Since I know that at least 40% of my readers are in favor of torture, and I respect you’re their opinions, I ask that you post the books you used to get some historical perspective on how to torture people in the comments.
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