This book is the first full account of anti-death penalty activism in America during the years since the ten-year moratorium on executions ended in 1976. It traces the successful assault on capital punishment during the 1960s and the struggle of abolitionists against the backlash that has steadily gained momentum since the mid-1970s, and diagnoses the reasons for their inability to mobilize widespread opposition to executions. Finally, it assesses the prospects for the future of the death penalty in the United States.
Readership: Criminology and sociology scholars; general
Herbert H. Haines, Associate Professor of Sociology, State University of New York, Cortland
"Drawing on a variety of methods, data, and theoretical frameworks, Professor Haines skillfully crafts a comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the dynamics of the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States. It is scholarly yet engaging, critical yet sympathetic, and topical yet important. Social movement scholars, criminologists, activists, and other observers will find this first extensive account of anti-death penalty activism since the ten-year moratorium on executions ended captivating and provocative." - Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska
"Herb Haines tells the compelling recent story of one of the
nation's oldest social movements. His tale picks up after organized opposition to the death penalty nearly succeeded in seeing capital punishment abolished in 1972, and it follows the movement's change of direction as hope faded that the U.S. Supreme Court would deliver on its promise to keep the death penalty free of arbitrariness and racial bias, or do away with it. Haines' book presents a uniquely critical but sympathetic appraisal of where the anti-death penalty movement now stands, and what directions it should take." - William J. Bowers, Northeastern University
"Mr. Haines' book is a clearly written and well-informed account of the struggles against the death
penalty in America over the last two decades. Reading about the passions and commitment of those opposing executions is bound to give pause to even the closest friends of the executioner." - Michael L. Radelet, University of Florida
"The most important theoretical task in current social movement theory is the integration of organizational and culturalist approaches to movement dynamics. Haines provides us with a model of theoretical syncretism applied to an important empirical case. He makes both the movement's successes and its failures understandable. Against Capital Punishment will no doubt become a standard on social movement bibliographies." - Rhys H.
Williams, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale