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Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson


Overview - #1 New York Times Bestseller - Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times - The Washington Post - The Boston Globe - The Seattle Times - Esquire - Time

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction - Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction - Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award - Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize - Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize - An American Library Association Notable Book

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system.  Read more...


 
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More About Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
 
 
 
Overview
#1 New York Times Bestseller - Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times - The Washington Post - The Boston Globe - The Seattle Times - Esquire - Time

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction - Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction - Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award - Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize - Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize - An American Library Association Notable Book

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

Praise for Just Mercy

"Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields."--David Cole, The New York Review of Books

"Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America's Mandela."--Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

"You don't have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful."--Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review

"Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he's also a gifted writer and storyteller."--The Washington Post

"As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty."--The Financial Times

"Brilliant."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God's work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story."--John Grisham

"Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice."--Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780812994520
  • ISBN-10: 0812994523
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Lawyers & Judges
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Social Activists
Books > Law > Criminal Law - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

With a mandate to serve the poor and voiceless, Stevenson, a professor of law at New York University and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal firm providing services for the wrongly condemned, describes in his memoir how he got the call to represent this largely neglected clientele in our justice system. He notes that, with no parole in some states and a thriving private prison business that often pushes local governments to create new crimes and impose stiffer sentences, America has the world’s highest incarceration rate and, at 2.3 million, its largest incarcerated population. In an early case during his career, Stevenson defended Walter McMillian, a black man from southern Alabama, who was accused by a white con-man of two murders, although the snitch had never even met him and was himself under investigation for one of the murders. Through a series of bogus legal situations, police harassment, racism, and phony testimony, McMillian found himself on Alabama’s death row, fully aware of the legacy of class and race prejudice that made poor Southern blacks susceptible to wrongful imprisonment and execution. Stevenson’s persistent efforts spared McMillian from that ultimate fate, and the author’s experience with the flaws in the American justice system add extra gravity to a deeply disturbing and oft-overlooked topic. (Nov.)

 
BookPage Reviews

A case against death row

Bryan Stevenson was fresh out of Harvard Law School when he embraced—first in Georgia, then in Alabama—the mission of defending death row inmates and others facing undeserved or disproportionate prison sentences. An African American from a poor family in Delaware, Stevenson accepts as a starting point the maxim, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

In Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, he builds his case against the flaws of America’s judicial system by clustering his observations around the case of Walter McMillian, a black man who first drew community ire by having an affair with a married white woman. Subsequently, a drug dealer who associated with the same woman, in an attempt to lessen his own jail time, told authorities that McMillian had killed a local college girl. The dealer’s ever-changing testimony was transparently false from the outset, but eager to close the case, the authorities arrested McMillian for murder, a jury with only one black member convicted him and a judge sentenced him to death. In succeeding chapters, Stevenson describes his struggles to exonerate McMillian.

His primary adversaries are deep-seated racism, tough-on-crime politicians, ambitious prosecutors, by-the-book judges, incompetent for-hire “expert” witnesses, a Supreme Court more interested in judicial expediency than actual justice, the rise of the victims’ rights movement (which recognizes only the initial victims of crimes), the burgeoning private prison lobby and the “good Germans” among us who piously avert our eyes as we go about our daily business.

Although Stevenson writes in a calm, deliberate style, there are passages here so harrowing and outrage-provoking that sensitive readers may need to set the book aside periodically until they can clear their minds of the foul images it conjures up. Anyone animated by a modicum of fairness will recognize Just Mercy as a de facto call to arms.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews