“Deeply moving . . . Sister Prejean is an excellent writer, direct and honest and unsentimental. . . . She almost palpably extends a hand to her readers.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An immensely moving affirmation of the power of religious vocation. . . . Stunning moral clarity.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Here is one voice for life. We really should need no other.” —The New York Review of Books
"An intimate meditation on crime and punishment, life and death, justice and mercy and—above all—Christian love in its most all-embracing sense. . . . [Prejean] never shrinks from the horror of what she has seen. She never resorts to something so predictable as pathos or a play for sympathy." —Los Angeles Times
"A remarkable writer . . . Prejean's manner of describing the tortured relations among prisoners, criminal-justice officers and victims' families would be the envy of many novelists. Even if your own views on capital punishment are set in concrete, you are sure to be moved by the force of Prejean's personality and commitment." —Glamour
"Painful and powerful . . . [Prejean's] practical moral courage is heroic." —The New Yorker
"Providing a gritty look at what really happens in the final hours of a death row inmate . . . Prejean takes readers to a place most will thankfully never know . . . adeptly probing the morality of a judicial system and a country that kills its citizens." —San Francisco Chronicle
"An impassioned condemnation of capital punishment." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
"This arresting account should do for the debate over capital punishment what the film footage from Selma and Birmingham accomplished for the civil rights movement: turn abstractions into flesh and blood. Tough, fair, bravely alive—you will not come away from this book unshaken."
In January 1982 a member of the Prison Coalition in America asked Sister Helen Prejean whether she would agree to correspond with a convicted murderer awaiting execution in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. When she said yes she found herself in the midst of one of the greatest moral controversies in America today: the question of the death penalty. In this account of her relationships with two death-row inmates, we see at first hand Sister Helen's horror at the brutality of their crimes and her discovery that they are nonetheless human beings themselves and that killing them is itself a violation of moral principle. She meets with the victims' families and knows the rage and frustration that has led many of them to insists on the death penalty. She confronts us with the terror of those waiting on death row, with the grief and anger of families tortured by their unbearable memories, and by the unease of wardens, executioners, and politicians.
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