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Crime and Culture in Early Modern GermanyCrime and Culture in Early Modern Germany
Author: Joy Wiltenburg
Publisher: Charlottesville, VA; London: University of Virginia Press, 2012. 280p.
Reviewer: Laura Kounine | November, 2015

Crime and Culture in Early Modern Germany by Joy Wiltenburg is a fascinating look at how people’s perceptions of crime are shaped by media presentations of their (the media’s) representations of the realities of crime.  What makes this work particularly interesting is that it is not situated in 21st century media, but rather in 16th and 17th century media, as it then existed, in Germany.  Reviewer Laura Kounine calls this a “highly readable book” of potential interest to students and scholars of crime and culture, of the role of popular literature, and of the history of emotions.

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The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction EraThe Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era
Author: Michael A. Ross
Publisher: Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015.  320p.
Reviewer: Jonathan Lurie | November, 2015

Lest one think that a book entitled The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case would be rather narrow in its focus, our reviewer, historian Jonathan Lurie, points out that it is quite to the contrary.  Instead, says Lurie, what author Michael Ross has accomplished is explaining “not only what happened to Reconstruction in New Orleans and Louisiana as well as the former Confederacy, but also why it happened and, finally, what might have occurred.”  He concludes that Ross’ book makes for “superb reading.”

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Congress and Crime: The Impact of Federalization of State Criminal LawsCongress and Crime: The Impact of Federalization of State Criminal Laws
Author: Joseph F. Zimmerman
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. 165p.
Reviewer: Craig Hemmens | November 2015

The question of who has what role in combating crime and implementing criminal justice, as between the federal government and the states, is the subject of Joseph Zimmerman’s Congress and Crime: The Impact of Federalization of State Criminal Laws.  Reviewer Craig Hemmens says the question Zimmerman asks is “has the process of cooperative federalism made for better, fairer, and more efficient administration of the criminal law?” Hemmens’ interpretation of Zimmerman’s answer is “a definite maybe!”

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The Forgotten Men: Serving a Life without Parole SentenceThe Forgotten Men: Serving a Life without Parole Sentence
Author: Margaret E. Leigey
Publisher: New Brunswick; London: Rutgers University Press, 2015. 242p.
Reviewer: William W. Berry III | November 2015

The most prevalent alternative to the death penalty in the United States has been the increasingly used criminal sentence of life without parole.  How prevalent is it?  According to Margaret Leigey, author of The Forgotten Men: Serving a Life Without Parole Sentence, there are some 50,000 offenders currently serving this sentence.   It is popular among liberals because it is not the death penalty, while among conservatives it is still tough on crime.  Reviewer William Berry says of Leigey’s book that it lifts a veil to show what this kind of condemnation feels like for those who are so condemned – with some surprising results.

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