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Michigan is the only state in the country that has a death penalty prohibition in its constitution—Eugene G. Wanger’s compelling arguments against capital punishment is a large reason it is there. The forty pieces in this volume are writings created or used by the author, who penned the prohibition clause, during his fifty years as a death penalty abolitionist. His extraordinary background in forensics, law, and political activity as constitutional convention delegate and co-chairman of the Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment has produced a remarkable collection. It is not only a fifty-year history of the anti–death penalty argument in America, it also is a detailed and challenging example of how the argument against capital punishment may be successfully made.
About the Author
Lawyer, author, and longtime opponent of capital punishment Eugene G. Wanger received the Champion of Justice Award from the Michigan Bar and is the author of the state’s constitutional ban of the death penalty. He has been a member of the legal profession for over half a century.
“Fighting the Death Penalty is a compelling mosaic of reasoned argumentation and evidence in opposition to capital punishment. Compiled by Wanger—who is both historian and historymaker—over the course of his half-century struggle to perpetuate and reaffirm Michigan’s 1846 repudiation of the death penalty, this volume offers enduring lessons for a nation still not fully committed to following Michigan’s lead.”
—James R. Acker, Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Criminal Justice, SUNY at Albany, and coeditor of America’s Experiment with Capital Punishment
Wanger, lawyer, legal scholar, and Michigan's foremost authority on the death penalty, presents readers with an insightful history of the topic in this compilation of essays and speeches. His analyses clearly show his commitment to facts and data rather than merely employing an emotional or ideological approach in questioning the state's imposition of capital punishment. The volume offers 40 of the author's essays in chronological order that highlight his life-long attempt to inform and persuade the public and opinion leaders about why this supreme penalty should be rejected. Fighting the Death Penalty is a valuable resource—suitable for both reference and circulating collections—that will significantly aid novice and seasoned scholars researching the controversies of this centuries-old debate.
— C. A. Groves, Middle Tennessee State University
"The well-designed 230–page book offers clear insights into the subject . . . While repetitious at times because of the inclusion of his judicial testimonies, it's not boring, presenting numerous arguments relating to the subject."
— Ray Walsh