The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century (Anglais) Broché – 31 décembre 2013
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Opens a window on a gruesome world" (Daily Express)
"Who can imagine how an executioner feels about his trade? Joel F. Harrington has written a considered and fascinating book which helps us hear the voice of one such man, a professional torturer (and healer) who, astonishingly, kept a diary. Exploring both sixteenth-century Nuremberg and the world about the city, he recreates the social context for the flamboyant displays of cruelty which later centuries find so hard to comprehend. Both the executioner and his victims are rescued from our condescension, and restored to their own moral universe: which is not so far from ours as we like to suppose." (Hilary Mantel)
"This is a sympathetic, intelligent and surprisingly tender book" (Dan Jones The Times)
"Harrington does an excellent job at recreating the thoughts and fears of a man whose job is one of the most loathed and caricatured" (Ben Wilson Daily Telegraph) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Welcome to the world of Frantz Schmidt: citizen of Nuremberg, executioner of 394 unfortunates, and torturer of many hundreds more.
Most unusually for his times, Frantz was also a diarist. Drawing deeply on this exceptional and overlooked record that he kept for over forty-five years, The Faithful Executioner takes us deep inside his world and his thinking. But the picture that emerges is not of a monster. Could a man who routinely practiced such cruelty also be insightful, compassionate - even progressive?
Young Frantz enters the trade as the Apprentice, following in his father's footsteps. Later, as the Journeyman, he travels the roads of Franconia, learning to reconcile his desire for respectability with his violent work. After a lifetime working amid human cruelty, tragedy, injustice and simple misfortune as the Master in Nuremberg, Frantz has become a moralist and storyteller, the Sage. And, in the closing chapters of his life, retired now from his role as executioner, he is the Healer, running the large medical practice that he always viewed as his true vocation.
The Faithful Executioner is the biography of an ordinary man struggling to overcome an unjust family curse and a panorama of a Europe poised on the cusp of modernity, a world with startling parallels to our own.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
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Commentaires en ligne
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards)
Think of it: the diary of an executioner of the late 1500s to early 1600s - a time when thousands were brutally tortured and put to death by barbaric means - has been preserved. Further, the man and his journal entries are then made the centerpiece of a detailed and captivating social history of the time and place in which he carried out his 361 executions, a history entirely different than what the common reader might expect. This is, in fact, what this excellent book is all about. As a lover of history, I cannot recommend this volume highly enough; it is like stepping back into another, darker, time.
The story of Meister Frantz Schmidt (b. 1555, d. 1634), executioner of Nuremberg from 1578 to 1617 (after a bloody "apprenticeship" in Bamberg from 1573 to 1578) is one you will not soon forget. It is not a story for the squeamish. However, the author does not serve horror for horror's sake: the times were, in fact, horrific. Executions were carried out by garoting (rope), sword, breaking wheel (for the most violent of criminals), burning (for those considered worse than violent criminals: counterfeiters and homosexuals), and drowning. Schmidt made diary entries for each of his 361 executions, the latter ones more detailed than the earlier, as well as for the 345 "light" punishments of cutting off an ear or finger, or flogging. However, these violent events only punctuate the social history of Schmidt's life and times; not only the crimes and criminals which kept the executioner steadily employed (and, in fact, fairly wealthy) but the societal structure of crime and punishment and of the executioner's place in that society.
Frantz Schmidt was a truly fascinating man who, after retirement as executioner, became a man of medicine, and who, upon his death, was given a state funeral. His diaries have been published since 1801. However, it is the expertise of a historian, the author, which gives us such an engrossing, well-rounded picture of the man and his times. One of the best books on history I have ever read.
This guy lived the Milgram Experiment--when authority directed him to punish in any number of horrific ways, he complied. It was a job and it appears that he didn't enjoy inflicting pain but saw his role as a necessary evil if society was to be protected. Having read this book, one appreciates the value of the rule of law. Perhaps we could not have the degree of societal respect for the rules we currently enjoy without a history of crucifixions and torture, but it is not impossible to revisit the days and times of our ancestors who dealt with the same basic problems we do and try to think of whether or not our society has truly evolved.
My take on the book was that one can find success despite any obstacles that society or circumstance may impose. It takes hard work, unyielding ethics and a great deal of patience; characteristics that are as necessary in today's world as they were in the 16th century.
The gentlemans journal opens a whole new perspective to the profession, which also served as Doctor and phamacist in may rural towns of the time. It also describes how sons studied under their fathers starting as early as age 10 by assissting with prepe and cleanup and by 16 were practicing with the equipment to prepare for their first event.
Who knew that executioners regularly practiced the healing arts? Or that the body parts of the recently dead were thought to possess medicinal benefits? Or that once an executioner, always an executioner--and your children too?
Joel Harrington writes in a clear, compelling style that was a joy to read. His research is superb, and his wise conclusions about the life of Meister Frantz Schmidt and what he desperately wanted for his family are both inspiring and heartbreaking.
Read this book. That is all.