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Among the Lowest of the Dead by David Von…

Among the Lowest of the Dead

by David Von Drehle

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813215,666 (4.07)1

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  saintmarysaccden | Jan 29, 2013 |
Amazingly thorough review of Florida's death row, from the time that the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s to the early 1990s. Gives in depth look at many cases, and brings up the question if we only execute 1 or 2 of every hundred inmates sentenced to death, if there's any real meaning to the death penalty.

Covers everything from the back stories of inmates sentenced to death to their lawyers up to the rulings of the Supreme Court. This book is an engaging read about a very troubling topic. If I had to subtitle this book it would be "America's Dark Lottery." ( )
  wdlaurie | Jan 15, 2009 |
From Publishers Weekly
The death penalty is often levied in Florida, where 90% of surveys show that residents favor it. Von Drehle, a staffer at the Washington Post and formerly a reporter for the Miami Herald, presents a compelling argument against capital punishment. He does not discuss the morality of the issue and covers only in passing such contentions that killing one killer will deter others. Rather, he points out the vagueness of Florida's law, which many other states have copied, and shows how the human frailties of judges make its application capricious. He also assesses the role of politics: anyone seeking statewide office in the Sunshine State must favor the death penalty. Examining politicians, judges (including Supreme Court Justices), prosecutors, defense attorneys and the condemned themselves, the author makes an effective case that, despite new laws, execution is no less a lottery than it has always been.
1 vote | sonjav | Nov 25, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449225232, Mass Market Paperback)

"[A] GRIPPING PORTRAIT . . . Von Drehle takes us inside the culture of the condemned seeking to live."
--The Washington Post Book World
From the cavernous halls of justice to the desolate cells on death row, from the brutal crimes of the convicted to the unbearable anguish of the victims, prizewinning journalist David Von Drehle takes us, as never before, into the harrowing world of the ultimate punishment. Here are the lawyers, on both sides, who dedicate their lives to saving or ending the lives of the accused. Here are the judges who pass the sentences and the politicians who pass the buck. And here are the inmates, staring at their walls and looking death in the face.
A work of profound insight and stark vision, AMONG THE LOWEST OF THE DEAD sheds a revelatory light on this deepest, darkest realm. Acclaimed as one of the most powerful books ever written about crime and punishment in America, it is certain to shock both you . . . and the system.
"BITTERLY HONEST . . . [Von Drehle ] frames the legal issues well and vividly evokes both the tense calm of the courtroom and the cramped, fetid gloom of prison cells."
--The New York Times Book Review
"SEDULOUSLY RESEARCHED AND BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN . . . Read this book; by all means read this book."
--The Miami Herald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Thorough and unbiased, Among the Lowest of the Dead is a gripping narrative that provides an unprecedented journalistic look into the actual workings of the capital punishment system. "Has all the tension of the best true crime stories . . . This is journalism at its best." --Library Journal "A compelling argument against capital punishment. . . . Examining politicians, judges (including Supreme Court Justices), prosecutors, defense attorneys and the condemned themselves, the author makes an effective case that, despite new laws, execution is no less a lottery than it has always been." --Publishers Weekly "In a fine and important book, Von Drehle writes elegantly and powerfully. . . . Anyone certain of their opinion about the death penalty ought to read this book." -- Booklist "An extremely well-informed and richly insightful book of great value to students of the death penalty as well as intelligent general readers with a serious interest in the subject, Among the Lowest of the Dead is also exciting reading. The book is an ideal guide for new generations of readers who want to form knowledgeable judgments in the continuing--and recently accelerating--controversies about capital punishment." --Anthony Amsterdam, New York University "Among the Lowest of the Dead is a powerfully written and meticulously researched book that makes an invaluable contribution to the growing public dialogue about capital punishment in America. It's one of those rare books that bridges the gap between mass audiences and scholarly disciplines, the latter including sociology, political science, criminology and journalism. The book is required reading in my Investigative Journalism classes--and my students love it!" --David Protess, Northwestern University "Among The Lowest of the Dead deserves a permanent place in the literature as literature, and is most relevant to today's death penalty debate as we moderate advocates and abolitionists search for common ground." --Robert Blecker, New York Law School David Von Drehle is Senior Writer, The Washington Post and author of Triangle: The Fire that Changed America.… (more)

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