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Life After Death by Damien Echols
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Life After Death (edition 2012)

by Damien Echols

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2272751,069 (3.97)15
Member:wendyrs
Title:Life After Death
Authors:Damien Echols
Info:Blue Rider Press (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Life After Death by Damien Echols

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If you don’t know about the case in West Memphis three little boys were murdered and three teenagers were charged the 3 teenagers were innocent of the crime but spent the next 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, they were railroaded because they dressed in black and were known around town as troublemakers there is no evidence against them yet all three went to prison but Damien was the only one to be sent to death row where he spend the next 18 years in a small cell waiting for execution thankfully he was released before they killed an innocent man.

This wasn’t as much of a book about Damien’s life after death row but his life during, and a scathing commentary on our prison system. Having watched all the Paradise Lost documentaries I really wanted to know how Damien has been doing since he got out of prison but that isn’t what I got so I was a little disappointed in that. But as a man in prison for over 18 years for a crime he did not commit I guess I can understand him not wanting to share his life anymore. I understand that he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore and that he is sick of hearing about the West Memphis Three, I hope one day they find out who actually committed this crime and they see justice themselves.

I hope that one day he will be able to have a close relationship with his son, who was born shortly before Damien was falsely accused so when he got out of prison his son was 18 years old so sad that they missed all that time.

When Damien talks about what prison was like it is just heartbreaking, to be treated as a non-person a non-human being and for someone on the cusp of their adult life I know that this is something that will stay with him forever and that is horrible for an innocent man to live with. I wish Damien, Jason and Jessie good luck in their free lives and that they can become productive members of society and find some happiness.

If you have never seen the documentaries I would highly recommend you watch them all three Paradise Lost documentaries are available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Also check out The West Memphis 3 website http://westmemphis3.org/ to learn more about the case.

3 ½ Stars ( )
  susiesharp | Sep 26, 2014 |
A fascinating look at Damien Echols's arduous journey through life, from his hardscrabble upbringing in the poverty-stricken South with an absent father and an abusive stepfather, to his wrongful conviction for capital murder and his subsequent years on Death Row. Echols's writing is a bit uneven -- at times, quite poetic -- but considering the book is pieced together partly from journal entries scribbled in prison over the years, some of which are incomplete due to the destruction of the guards, overall the project is well done. Echols does a good job expressing the gross injustices of the prison industrial complex and his anger at the personal abuse he suffered while maintaining some kind of perspective. He worked very hard over the years to save a sense of himself and to avoid being eaten alive by bitterness and hate, and this shines through in Life After Death. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
A fascinating look at Damien Echols's arduous journey through life, from his hardscrabble upbringing in the poverty-stricken South with an absent father and an abusive stepfather, to his wrongful conviction for capital murder and his subsequent years on Death Row. Echols's writing is a bit uneven -- at times, quite poetic -- but considering the book is pieced together partly from journal entries scribbled in prison over the years, some of which are incomplete due to the destruction of the guards, overall the project is well done. Echols does a good job expressing the gross injustices of the prison industrial complex and his anger at the personal abuse he suffered while maintaining some kind of perspective. He worked very hard over the years to save a sense of himself and to avoid being eaten alive by bitterness and hate, and this shines through in Life After Death. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
A fascinating look at Damien Echols's arduous journey through life, from his hardscrabble upbringing in the poverty-stricken South with an absent father and an abusive stepfather, to his wrongful conviction for capital murder and his subsequent years on Death Row. Echols's writing is a bit uneven -- at times, quite poetic -- but considering the book is pieced together partly from journal entries scribbled in prison over the years, some of which are incomplete due to the destruction of the guards, overall the project is well done. Echols does a good job expressing the gross injustices of the prison industrial complex and his anger at the personal abuse he suffered while maintaining some kind of perspective. He worked very hard over the years to save a sense of himself and to avoid being eaten alive by bitterness and hate, and this shines through in Life After Death. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Damien Echols is one of the West Memphis Three, three teenagers who were tried and convicted of the murders of three eight year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. Prosecutors alleged that the killings were part of satanic rituals and that Damien was the leader of the group. Damien was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley Jr. was sentenced to life plus two 20-year terms, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The three spent nearly 20 years in prison before new dna evidence emerged neither matching the victims or the defendants and the West Memphis Three were offered a plea deal allowing them to be released.

I cannot say wether or not I believe Damien's claims to innocence but the book was very interesting and kept my attention throughout. I do recommend it as a good read. ( )
  clayhollow | Apr 8, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Silently I sit by. Watching men pace their cells Like leopards. Bring their nails With furrowed brows. The scene speaks for itself. - Damien Echols, Varner Super Maximum Security Unit, Grady, Arkansas
Dedication
For Lorri
First words
Saint Raymond Nonnatus, never was it known that anyone who implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Quotations
"December tastes like Hershey's Kisses. The month of December and those little Herhsey Kisses are conncected in a way that I can't quite articulate. For me, at least. I do know that eating a Hershey's Kiss is like an act of commniun-like taking a tiny taste of December into myself. I don't like to eat them any other times of the year, because I don't want that special association to fade....My favorite time of the year is from Dec 20 until sunrise of Dec 25. During that stretch of time I can feel the entire world come to an absolute standstill. On these few days the hair on the back of my neck stands on end, and the world feels like a pendulum that has swung all the way to one side and hangs suspended for a split second before beginning the reverse swing., At sunrise of Dec 25 the spell is broken and we begin the swing back in the other direction. Those magickal days are gone for another year, and my vigil starts all over again....When I picture heaven, I see a place where it's always December, every radio station plays hair band, and every time I check my pockets they're full of Hershey's Kisses. There's a Christmas parade on every street, every day is my birthday, and the sun always sets at 4:58 pm."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399160205, Hardcover)

In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three—were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the “ringleader,” was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011.
Now Echols shares his story in full—from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades.

In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. Life After Death is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:40 -0400)

Falsely accused of murdering three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas, eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the "ringleader" of the West Memphis Three, was sentenced to death. Then in August 2011 the WMT were released. In these pages, Echols describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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