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The Big Book of Pain: Torture & Punishment Through History

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
For millennia, mankind has devised ingenious and diabolical means of inflicting pain on fellow human beings. This deporable but seemingly universal trait has eaten away at mankind's very claim to civilisation. The Big Book of Pain is an exploration of the systematic use throughout the ages of various means of punishment, torture, coercion and torment; which takes the reade ...more
ebook, 279 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by History Press (SC) (first published January 1st 2007)
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Hannah (Vamp of Savannah)
A very interesting look at the historical, political, sociological, and economical sides of torture as perceived justice and/or a means of information gathering through fear and physical coercion.
Todd Martin
Jan 24, 2013 Todd Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
What could be more fun than an illustrated book about torture throughout the ages? Well, probably a lot of things actually, but The Big Book of Pain does offer insight into the vast amount creative energy that humans have expended in order to inflict suffering on one another. The book is historical in nature, focusing primarily on the time leading up to the middle ages.

While society has become somewhat more civilized in the intervening years (we no longer break people on the wheel or stretch th
Excellent resource! Superbly dry authorial voice, with lots of essential information and anecdotes.
Jennifer Daniel
I am one sick individual. Had I been around in the middle ages when torture was at it's zenith, I would have been more inclined to put my engineering skills to work at, oh I don't know, indoor plumbing maybe? This is what happens in a society where women are repressed and men are allowed to run the world.
Emma Sea
In ten weeks, despite much effort, I only made it to page 33, as the author's voice was not to my taste. But I'll keep it as a reference. I don't have enough knowledge to assess its depth, but it certainly seems extensive.
Feb 12, 2016 Jc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book solidified my belief that humanity is the cruelest species on this planet bar none. No other Earth-based species has the capacity to willfully inflict pain upon its own species and other species than homo homo sapiens.

Throughout recorded history, humans have inflicted vast amounts of pain and suffering on other humans for a variety of reasons. Torture, information gathering and pure enjoyment of causing pain seem to be common threads through history.

The authors discuss various aspects
Kat Davis
Jul 30, 2013 Kat Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book detailing the types of torture device employed through history as well as looking into the concept of torture and its effectiveness. This book is not as gruesome as it sounds, but is rather a well thought out and researched exploration into the ways the human race has developed to hurt itself. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in interrogation, historical weaponry and the psychology of pain.
Rick Farmer
Apr 12, 2013 Rick Farmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book to read if you're interested in just how messed up humanity was and still is to this day if you fuel the fire of paranoia, power and greed of political leaders. It's amazing what people will actually do if they are simply told by a higher power. Interesting read
May 10, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating history and I learned lots of handy tips and hints ... not that I'll ever need them, I'm sure ...
Aug 04, 2013 Rustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of torture. Torture is most prevalent in kingdoms with a weak ruler who fears his people. It was also more prevalent before the 1700s when torture began to be outlawed throughout much of the world. It avoids mentioning how improved the world is now that torture is less prevalent stretching to find examples of modern torture. The authors go to great lengths to attempt to show that the world is still a painful place. In reality, they demonstrated so clearly how common place torture was ...more
Aug 18, 2014 Trinity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible book, the fact that human king finds it so much easier to be evil then to be good and charitable is disgusting. I wonder how people come up with the many instruments used throughout the ages, What does it take to make a human being torture, maim and kill another or numbers of them? If we do not honour the past and learn from their mistakes then we are doomed to repeat it and the tortures and killing of millions of people throughout the ages cannot be repeated.
Mar 12, 2015 acetone2 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
quite repetitive. the last 30% just goes over what has already been discussed in the first 70%. very interesting in parts. more case studies would have been nice. torture in the modern world is not discussed at all, no mention of guantanamo bay or any other atrocities committed in the last 15 years.
Sarah Hoov
Mar 30, 2016 Sarah Hoov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by all the history this book covers. Not just the horrors of torture, but the psychology of why it happens, the politics behind it, the victims, the torturers, the cultures. The story behind the justice system and a brief history of how the modern one started.
Aug 02, 2014 Manikmaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Referensi metode siksaan dari abad pertengahan yang paling lengkap sejauh yang bisa saya temukan. Memang tidak dijelaskan secara lebih rinci soal 'rack' tapi metode penyiksaan lainnya dijelaskan secara cukup gamblang.

Dec 17, 2014 S.A.Mckernan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It's historical and very informative. This novel delivers exactly what the titles promises.
Janet Jay
Interesting subject matter but not... Just not interesting to me in terms of writing style, historical citations & general novelty of subject matter. There are better books for this.
Cassandra Woods
Fantastically written with excellent explanations and categorising of devises. It really wasn't hard to read like other non-fiction books can be
Laura Moore
Jun 18, 2014 Laura Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this and it was very informative but I feel like some of the layout could have been more consistent.
Angela Ramsey
Jul 11, 2014 Angela Ramsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of ways to kill a man.
Learned a lot, but it was somewhat repetitive.
Maria rated it liked it
May 01, 2013
J.L. Flores
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Oct 30, 2016
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Christy Schumacher
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Daniel Diehl
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Professor Mark P. Donnelly (S.S.S./ E.A.A./ B.F.H.S./ S.W.A.S.H.) has been studying armed combat in various incarnations since the age of thirteen. After years of research and training in the disparate disciplines of western martial arts, sport fencing, stage combat, tournament fighting and eastern martial disciplines, he moved from the US to England in 1996 to undertake a PhD in Medieval Archaeol ...more
More about Mark P. Donnelly...

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