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The Memoirs of a Prague Executioner: A Historical Novel Based on Actual Events (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Josef Svátek

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

A young man is about to graduate from medical school when a sudden shift of fate changes his life forever. He becomes stuck in the most detested profession for the rest of his life, and he is on his way to becoming the most well-known executioner in the history of Bohemia.

Master Jan finds himself in the center of the historical events of the time. The religious and political turmoil of Bohemia culminates in the 1621 White Mountain Battle. Czech Protestant rebels are defeated by Catholic forces, and Master Jan is to execute 27 men who are his fellow Protestants.

The Old Town Executioner gives the reader a first hand account about how justice was carried out by the medieval law. While his memoirs offer an intriguing account of the manners and values of late medieval society, his observations about human nature may come as a surprise. The law and society have changed since the 17th century, but people have changed very little.

This book contains graphic descriptions of medieval torture.

Biographie de l'auteur

Josef Svátek (1835-1897) was a Czech journalist, writer, and historian. He graduated from a technical college but decided to pursue a career in journalism. He was the chief editor of the Prager Zeitung. Collecting valuable material in historical archives, he used it in his writing. Svátek's area of interest was the historical period of the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. He wrote about the times of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, the history of the postal service, Prague legends, etc. The Memoirs of the Prague Executioner Mydlar Family was his most successful book.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 800 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 302 pages
  • Editeur : Sharpless House, Inc. (13 janvier 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004HO5G18
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°329.929 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  67 commentaires
31 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Pleasant Surprise! 17 mars 2008
Par Mike Morgan - Publié sur
A Medieval executioner ?

Torture in the heart of late 16th and early 17th Century Europe ?

Not subjects in which I have a lot of interest, I must say !

But, despite being based on the writings of one Jan Mydlár, a master executioner of Prague, historic capital of Bohemia, this book is not solely about his gruesome trade.

In fact, it spares us too much detail of Mydlár's work, and focuses on his role in society, at a time when Prague was the hub of a continent seething with religious turmoil and intrigue.

It is full of warmth, human interest, and timeless observations about society, greed, and corruption, as well as shedding light on, and sketching an interesting picture of, the momentous events of the day.

I enjoyed it !

Almost against all my expectations, I really enjoyed it !

I found Jan Mydlár to be an engaging character, and I found myself sympathising with his problems, as well as celebrating his progress as he fought to overcome ignorance and stigma in his attempt to improve both his status as an executioner, and the quality of his life.

Further, I was impressed by the wealth of historical detail and context in the book.

I know Prague well, and I could easily envisage the settings of the various events and episodes which take place.

We are promised more books in the "Forgotten Prague" series : this reviewer anticipates them with relish !
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The face behind the mask 23 août 2008
Par Steven Reynolds - Publié sur
A young medical student attempts to rescue a condemned woman by posing as the executioner's assistant. He fails to save her life, but changes his own forever. Stained by the association, he assumes the role he feigned. So begins his path to becoming a Master Executioner of Prague... This is Mirek Katzl's translation of an historical novel written by Josef Svátek and first pubished in 1905, loosely based on the memoir of Jan Mydlár an actual executioner in sixteenth-century Bohemia. A stirring portrait of a life and violent deaths, Katzl's work is engaging on several levels: as the memoir of morally compromised man who attempts to insulate himself from a society that shuns him; as a focalized history of Bohemia; as a study of the social function of capital punishment; and as a relentless exposition on methods of torture and execution which, though hardly coy, are certainly not gratuitous. Katzl's style is free-flowing and the narrative is lucid. As other readers have noted, the vignettes don't necessarily sum to a compelling plot, but so it is with memoir - a life does not unfold with the narrative pacing of a novel. Having said that, devotees of historical fiction will probably enjoy the wealth of detail and the air of authenticity. What I found most interesting here was the sense of how contradictory the role of executioner is within - or rather outside of - society. He is shunned as monstrous and disreputable, made to feel ashamed, and yet he is merely the instrument of law - the very thing that allows the society to flourish.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Surprisingly Good 3 avril 2008
Par H. Dowling - Publié sur
Executioner of Prague is a very readable historical account of Prague in the 1600's. It is much more than an Executioners' life, it consists of many stories and entertaining events he encounters and has vivid description of life and customs at that time. A must read for history buffs.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good historical detail; dry delivery & over-long. 24 juillet 2012
Par Bob Jarvis - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I quite enjoyed the story of the young medical student that inadvertently becomes an executioner's assistant, thus divorced from any formal association with decent society, but going on to become the master of his profession and gaining a small measures of respect and recognition in the process. The technical details of the executioner's "art", together with a wealth of historical detail regarding the political progress (or not) of 16th./17th. century Bohemia are interesting and rewarding. Lots of larger than life characters become clients of this curiously proud killer of men which also add to the enjoyment.
Sadly, about half way through this (quite long) book the plot deteriorates into a long succession of tales concerning the most efficient and imaginative forms of torture and execution, often coldly and brutally described, and the more interesting family, inter-personal relationships get largely overlooked. Jan (the axe-man) marries the girl of his dreams and produces five, apparently wonderful, children but these characters' no doubt difficult relationships, that involved adapting to live life within the heartless constraints of the society that supports but ostracises them, get no more than two pages treatment in the whole book.
I was amazed how quickly and thoroughly this man pragmatically developed an extraordinarily thick skin towards his cruel career that allowed him to take the moral high ground whenever he confronted the poor wretches that would be suffering under his handiwork. He had convinced himself he was just doing his duty and never had any notion that he could have been doing the wrong thing.
The book ultimately read like an instruction manual on how best to make the prisoners suffer horribly and how to quickly dispatch them out of their final misery.
Sadly I didn't feel I ever got to understand the mind and character of this man at all.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Boring 7 juillet 2014
Par Schoolmarm - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book was supposedly based on a diary, and it reads like one...repetitious and rather boring. .way too long. Much of the time it was like reading a very dry history lesson..again, boring. Two stars because there were no typos, and it was punctuated correctly. However, one thing really bothered me: modern slang in a book supposed to be

several hundred years old. I don't think the Master Executioner would refer to his helpers as guys...or tell someone to scram...reply"no way" stolen goods hot...and so on. If you want to read an account of this period in Bohemian history that is not dry and least not nearly as much so, read any of The Hangman's Daughter's books. At least they have a story to them. Sorry, but I had to skip pages just to finally get through the book. Can't recommend it.
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