When the Guillotine Fell by Jeremy Mercer
The Bloody Beginning and Horrifying End to France's River of Blood, 1791--1977

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Synopsis

How long did the guillotine’s blade hang over the heads of French criminals?  Was it abandoned in the late 1800s?  Did French citizens of the early days of the twentieth century decry its brutality?  No. The blade was allowed to do its work well into our own time.  In 1974, Hamida Djandoubi brutally tortured 22 year-old Elisabeth Bousquet in an apartment in Marseille, putting cigarettes out on her body and lighting her on fire, finally strangling her to death in the Provencal countryside where he left her body to rot.  In 1977, he became the last person executed by guillotine in France in a multifaceted case as mesmerizing for its senseless violence as it is though-provoking for its depiction of a France both in love with and afraid of The Foreigner.  In a thrilling and enlightening account of a horrendous murder paired with the history of the guillotine and the history of capital punishment, Jeremy Mercer, a writer well known for his view of the underbelly of French life, considers the case of Hamida Djandoubi in the vast flow of blood that France's guillotine has produced.  In his hands, France never looked so bloody...


 

About Jeremy Mercer

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JEREMY MERCER is the author of Time Was Soft There, two crime books, and a former writer for the Ottawa Citizen. He lives in Marseille, France.
 
Published June 24, 2008 by St. Martin's Press. 321 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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A history of capital punishment in France combined with a detailed description of the crime that led to that country's final use of the death penalty.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of When the Guillotine Fell: The...

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Despite its appealingly gory subject, Mercer's uneven history of the guillotine is too poorly organized to be truly informative. Arriving in rough-and-tumble Marseille in 1968, Tunisian-born H

May 26 2008 | Read Full Review of When the Guillotine Fell: The...

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