April 8, 2013
The Executioner's Song
One of the pleasures of reading history is to be transported somewhere, even if we aren't sure we want to go.
A public execution, for example.
The scene that opens Joel F. Harrington's new book is of an impatient crowd in 1617 Nuremberg that waited hours to observe the final moments of a counterfeiter. As people jostle for a good view, they are rendered so vividly by the historian that one can almost smell the concessions—sausages, roast chestnuts, salted