This is a book about the death penalty from a rational and philosophical perspective. The United States stands almost alone among developed nations in retaining capital punishment. This raises a number of questions: Do we know something these other countries do not, or are we unique among these nations in needing the death penalty? Is the death penalty necessary to achieve justice for victims and their loved ones? Does the death penalty reduce the murder rate? Do we have adequate safeguards to prevent innocent people from being sentenced to death? Is the death penalty applied in an evenhanded manner, or is it unreasonably arbitrary? Finally, given all that is going badly in the world, why should we worry about something that affects so few people? We enlist the wisdom of Michel de Montaigne to help sort out these thorny problems.