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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and…
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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014)

by Bryan Stevenson

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I would give this 10 stars if I could. This book was amazing. I had heard Bryan Stevenson's TED talk before and thought he was a great speaker with an important message. I'm so glad I finally read this. If you watched Netflix's Making a Murderer and were struck by the story, then you will find this book incredibly powerful--I can't recommend this enough!! ( )
  mariacfox | Jun 19, 2017 |
he stories Stevenson shared crushed me, like a pressure on my chest. I read a chapter at a time, then had to step away and let the horror and despair subside. For Stevenson reveals an American justice system not only without mercy but that was corrupted on the local level for political gain.

In the 1980s, fear of rising crime was used by politicians who proposed stricter and harsher prison sentences, three-strike laws, and treating children as adults. As prisons filled to overcapacity, for-profit prisons arose and they lobbied for harsher sentences to keep their business profitable. The death penalty was reinvigorated, even if the methods employed were cruel and unreliable.

Caught in the cycle are innocent men and women, children relegated to life in prison where they are sexually abused, the mentally handicapped, and women who raped by men unpunished for their abuse of power.

Bryan Stevenson was drawn to seek justice for those on death row, especially the innocent without legal counsel. He started the Equal Justice Initiative and Just Mercy is the story of his work and the people he tried to help. It is a cry for reform of the justice and prison system. And a cry for mercy.

The book has won numerous awards and prizes. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times called it, "Searing, moving." It is a disturbing book to read, especially because upright citizens who demand punishment have little idea of who they are condemning and what they are condemning them to. We have instituted "vengeful and cruel punishments" justified by our own suffering. "But simply punishing the broken--walking away from them or hiding them from sight--only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity," Stevenson writes.

There is one story that brings hope. A prison guard who showed extreme racial prejudice learns more about the prisoner he has treated with contempt, and he could connect his experiences to the prisoner's. It changed the guard's mind and his life.

Stevenson is the mouthpiece for the stories of unjustly imprisoned men and women, allowing readers to understand their walk. May we learn compassion and press for a just system, showing mercy to those broken by racism, mental illness, poverty, addiction, abuse, and trauma.

As Stevenson reminds us, we are all broken people.

I received a free book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. ( )
  nancyadair | May 26, 2017 |
Author is attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center (?), works with condemned people to get them either freed or off Death Row. Does a good job; the book focuses on the story of a few. Heartbreaking in places. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | May 25, 2017 |
I have been meaning to read this for a while and glad I finally got around to it. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer and advocate for those unjustly (or harshly convicted). This includes death row inmates, poor people without good representation, juveniles, mentally ill convicts, etc. He explores the complex dynamics of a broken legal system and systemic racism. The poor and innocent have harsh sentences will the rich and guilty walk free.

Full of stories from his legal career, the central story tells of a death row inmate he represented and his friendship with him.

Heavy stuff but enough hope in Stevenson's tale to make for a compelling read. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Good book on race and wealth being factors in justice in legal system, especially concerning the death penalty and lifers. ( )
  broreb | May 11, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812994523, Hardcover)

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 justice.
 
Praise for Just Mercy
 
“Words such as important and compelling may have lost their force through overuse, but to read this book is to feel that they have been restored, along with one’s hopes for humanity.”—Tracy Kidder
 
“Bryan Stevenson is America’s young Nelson Mandela—a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all.”—Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:45 -0400)

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