By LORD LONGFORD
THE RIGHT TO LIFE: A world review of Capital Punishment, by James Avery Joyce (Gollancz, 30s.).
THIS book is an invaluable guide to many of the facts about capital punishment which are not readily available elsewhere. No-one who wishes to know the present practice of capital punishment throughout the world, or the history of the struggle for its abolition can possibly neglect it.
In so far as the real argument for abolition is primarily a statement of facts which are still unknown to many or are glossed over. it makes a formidable contribution to abolitionist literature.
It is not, however, in all respects a persuasive book.
In particular the attempt to link the abolition of capital punishment and the abolition of nuclear weapons does not seem likely to be of service to either cause in spite of the intellectual interest of the points raised. There is no doubt that in Britain today the forces of abolition are many times stronger-politically and statistically-than those of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Some at least who are now coming over to abolition might hesitate if they thought that by doing so they were • logically committed to C.N.D.
But the book breathes a noble passion throughout. It will appeal to all the converted antl coupled with other reading, to many who are now on the margin.