From Charles I to Saddam Hussein
It is the historical account which carries the argument. By examining trials of heads of state and government throughout history – figures as different as Charles I, Louis XVI, Erich Honecker, and Saddam Hussein – Laughland shows that modern trials of heads of state have ugly historical precedents. In their different ways, all the trials he describes were marked by arbitrariness and injustice, and many were gross exercises in hypocrisy. Political trials, he finds, are only the continuation of war by other means.
With short and easy chapters, but the fruit of formidable erudition and wide reading, this book will force the general reader to re-examine prevailing opinions of this subject.
Acknowledgements In writing this book, I have contacted many people out of the blue, ask- ing them for help. I have been immensely touched by the generosity with which they have responded, spent time on my requests, and imparted their knowledge. I am in debt to the following for their kindness: Chris Black, David Brewer, Richard Crampton, István Deák, Vesselin Dimitrov, Penelope Evans, James Felak, Aaron Fichtelberg, Ivaylo Gatev, Milan Grba, David Jacobs, László Karsai, Lasse Lehtinen, Radomír Malý, Takis Nitis, Hannu Rautkallio, Filip Reyntjens, Urmi Shah, Phil Taylor, Kjetil Tronvoll, Ilya Vlassov, James Ward.
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