Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Book To Raise Eyebrows

After many years writing for newspapers and magazines throughout the world, I ventured into another unknown and accepted a publisher's invitation to write a book.  It was hard work but both challenging and satisfying ... so I decided to write another.
If you don't know me, you can only imagine the flurry of raised eyebrows when the title emerged, accompanied by a chorus of astonished query.  "What's someone like YOU doing writing something like THAT!"  While it wasn't pornography, The A-Z of Punishment and Torture is, I must admit, in many ways a far cry from anything I had written before.  However, in other respects, it was for me simply a matter of reporting the facts, hard or otherwise which, as a journalist, I had done for decades.  In the same way a surgeon regards his patient as a section of flesh to be probed and corrected, I took the tales of torture and cruelty and wrote them down, without judgement or sentimentality.  I did try to minimise the more gory parts as the object of this book was to inform rather than to shock.  It was intended to present an overview of the ways in which humans have punished each other over the centuries and as a reminder of how some still do.  There are moments of levity to lighten the load and some splendid illustrations. 
Now where shall I turn for my next challenge?