Cannibalism and the Common Law: The Story of the Tragic Last Voygage of the Mignonette and the Strange Legal Proceedings to Which it Gave rise

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9780226759432: Cannibalism and the Common Law: The Story of the Tragic Last Voygage of the Mignonette and the Strange Legal Proceedings to Which it Gave rise
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Cannibalism and the Common Law is an enthralling classic of legal history. It tells the tragic story of the yacht Mignonette, which foundered on its way from England to Australia in 1884. The killing and eating of one of the crew, Richard Parker, led to the leading case in the defence of necessity, R. v. Dudley and Stephens. It resulted in their being convicted and sentenced to death, a sentence subsequently commuted. In this tour de force Brian Simpson sets the legal proceedings in their broadest historical context, providing a detailed account of the events and characters involved and of life at sea in the time of sail. Cannibalism and the Common Law is a demonstration that legal history can be written in human terms and can be compulsive reading. This brilliant and fascinating book, a marvelous example of eareful historical detection, and first-class legal history, written by a master.

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“In manuscript, it has already become a best-seller in my family; my wife and daughter will not allow it to leave the house until they have finished it.” ―Stanley N. Katz

“The book can be read with equal profit and pleasure by lawyer and layman alike. I doubt that a more civilized book has ever been written about a more gruesome subject.” ―University of Chicago Law Review

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