Assassins’ Deeds

A History of Assassination from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day

John Withington

Assassins’ Deeds

John Withington

Distributed for Reaktion Books

368 pages | 81 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9781789143515 Will Publish November 2020 For sale in North and South America only
Assassins have been killing the powerful and famous for at least three thousand years. Personal ambition, revenge, and anger have encouraged many to violent deeds, like the Turkish sultan who had nineteen of his brothers strangled or the bodyguards who murdered a dozen Roman emperors. More recently have come new motives like religious and political fanaticism, revolution and liberation, with governments also getting in on the act, while many victims seem to have been surprisingly careless: Abraham Lincoln was killed after letting his bodyguard go for a drink. So, do assassinations work? Drawing on anecdote, historical evidence, and statistical analysis, Assassins’ Deeds delves into some of history’s most notorious acts, unveiling an intriguing cast of characters, ingenious methods of killing, and many unintended consequences.
Review Quotes
Tim Wilson, director, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), University of St Andrews
"Like Shakespeare himself, Assassins’ Deeds offers us a stage memorably strewn with the most distinguished of corpses. ‘Bloody instructions’ (as Macbeth called them) are certainly to be found here in abundance. But there are also wise words about how often incompetence and unintended consequences derail the best laid plans. Assassination, Withington instructs us in entertaining style, is no exact science. A messy tale: and a haunting one."
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