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Death in the Tiergarten Murder and Criminal Justice in the Kaiser's Berlin

by Benjamin Carter Hett

Death in the Tiergarten Murder and Criminal Justice in the Kaiser's Berlin Synopsis

From Alexanderplatz, the bustling Berlin square ringed by bleak slums, to Moabit, site of the city's most feared prison, Death in the Tiergarten illuminates the culture of criminal justice in late imperial Germany. In vivid prose, Benjamin Hett examines daily movement through the Berlin criminal courts and the lawyers, judges, jurors, thieves, pimps, and murderers who inhabited this world. Drawing on previously untapped sources, including court records, pamphlet literature, and pulp novels, Hett examines how the law reflected the broader urban culture and politics of a rapidly changing city. In this book, German criminal law looks very different from conventional narratives of a rigid, static system with authoritarian continuities traceable from Bismarck to Hitler. From the murder trial of Anna and Hermann Heinze in 1891 to the surprising treatment of the notorious Captain of Koepenick in 1906, Hett illuminates a transformation in the criminal justice system that unleashed a culture war fought over issues of permissiveness versus discipline, the boundaries of public discussion of crime and sexuality, and the role of gender in the courts. Trained in both the law and history, Hett offers a uniquely valuable perspective on the dynamic intersections of law and society, and presents an impressive new view of early-twentieth-century German history.

Death in the Tiergarten Murder and Criminal Justice in the Kaiser's Berlin Press Reviews

This new book is a terrific read. It leads its readers into the lost world of Berlin's courts in the last two and a half decades before World War One. Hett has done a remarkable job bringing to life the social and cultural history of criminal law, courtroom culture, and its popular reception in Wilhelmine Berlin. Throughout, he weaves accounts of specific trials into an analysis of the transformation of the criminal justice system.--Julia Bruggemann H-Net Death in the Tiergarten is an impressive book. Written in a light and entertaining style, with elegance and wit, it is a rich source of thought-provoking insights. Hett offers his own distinct spin on some of the common themes of Berlin literature--crime, sex, sensation, mass media, and the dramatic character of life in the modern metropolis. This unusually successful and effective work of scholarship has the potential to reach a broad audience.--Jonathan Sperber, author of The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 An extremely rich and well-argued analysis of the culture of the criminal courtroom in Wilhelmine Germany. Using stories about love, lust, betrayal, and honor--crime stories and city stories--Benjamin Hett pries open Berlin's public life in brilliant, unexpected ways.--Peter Fritzsche, author of Reading Berlin 1900

Book Information

ISBN: 9780674013179
Publication date: 18th June 2004
Author: Benjamin Carter Hett
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
Categories: European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, History: specific events & topics, Criminal law & procedure,

About Benjamin Carter Hett

Benjamin Carter Hett is Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College, City University of New York.

More About Benjamin Carter Hett

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