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by Peter Moskos

April 11, 2011

Liking a Defense of Flogging

The first review of In Defense of Flogging is out today. It's always a bit nerve racking when you click on that first review. But it's favorable. Phew! Though I view descriptive/neutral-plus as favorable for a book like this. It's hard to gush over a book called In Defense of Flogging, lest others start wondering if you got "something you want tell me?" (Hell, I'm just happy it wasn't panned... but maybe I should set my sights a bit higher.)

From Publishers Weekly:
Moskos, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who specializes in police and criminal science, debates with the utmost seriousness the merits of flogging as an alternative to incarceration. Whether it's called caning or lashing, he concludes flogging, which penetrates the flesh but is over quickly, is less cruel than depriving people of a chunk of their lives in "a barbaric, inhuman" institution where a record number of 2.3 million Americans endure insult and humiliation, with a high incidence of sexual aggression, rape, and a great risk of contracting a communicable disease. Moskos lists the long history of prison reforms in the U.S., but concludes that our penal system remains "an insidious marriage of entombment and torture." Presenting the Singapore and Malaysian models of flogging, the author draws on interviews and recommendations to boost his "thought experiment." Indeed, when Moskos mentions the possibility of electric shock as another option , readers will begin to wonder if the writer is poking outlandish fun and crafting a notion similar to Swift's 1729 classic "A Modest Proposal," using satire to call attention to the "shame" of our inhumane prison system.
Just for the record, I intend no satire. But any comparison to Swift's A Modest Proposal has got to be good.

The book will be out June 1. And it's up to #24 on the Vulture's Anticipation Index.

1 comment:

Map Monkey said...

Congrats on your first review! It seems generally positive. I agree with you about the comparison to Swift. That ain't a bad thing!