Torture has been an intrinsic part of the legal process in most cultures for centuries. Indeed, the violence we witness daily in our own society and recent revelations about the continued use of torture, seems proof that inflicting extreme mental or physical pain on an individual to achieve one's own ends is not a taboo practice buried in the past.
This incomparable, extremely thorough book ? told with a frightening and factual honesty ?examines every aspect of torture: professional torturers, theories and techniques, the role of torture in history, moral implications, and the refinements brought to the practice of torture by individual fanatics, religious groups, the military, and, indeed, entire cultures. For such transgressions against society as adultery, heresy and espionage, from the primitive snake pit to the sophistication of brainwashing, there have been literally thousands of techniques devised to distort both the body and the mind in order to satisfy the sadistic needs of those who command, perform and witness human torture.
At the time of its first publication (1964), The History of Torture was the most complete repository of information on the subject ever assembled in one volume.