"It would be a disgrace to us if amongst us men should burn a rattlesnake or a mad dog. The badness of the victim is not an element in the case at all. Torture and burning are forbidden, not because the victim is not bad enough, but because we are too good.... It is evident, however, the public opinion is not educated up to this level."
William Graham Sumner
So begins the preface to Walter White’s, Rope & Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch. The book was first published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1929. It was written during an era in which scholars believed that the social sciences were handmaidens of progress. A comprehensive study of lynching, it was hoped, would lead to an end of mob justice.
We’ve had the book on the shelves at Whitlock Farm Booksellers for some time now. It is a first edition, in yellow cloth binding, with decorative red stamping and black print. The bindings are a little loose, and the front page bears the mark of a removed library card. The book bears the stamp of the Bristol, Connecticut Public Library. A lithograph opposite title page portrays the gruesome sight of a man being burned alive. It is a reprint of George W. Bellows, "The Law Is To Slow." Both front and rear cover are somewhat soiled, but the book’s overall condition is still good.
An excerpt from the dust jacket is tipped in after the front pages. It describes he authors years of service as Assistant Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
A good read for those interested in the history of a sordid practice differing only in degree, but not in kind, from capital punishment.
Whitlock's offers the book for a mere $20, plush shipping and handling.