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Without Mercy: The Stunning True Story of Race, Crime, and Corruption in the Deep South
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Without Mercy: The Stunning True Story of Race, Crime, and Corruption in the Deep South

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  21 reviews
“Without Mercy reads like a John Grisham thriller.”
---David R. Dow, author of The Autobiography of an Execution

On December 9, 1938, the state of Georgia executed six black men in eighty-one minutes in Tattnall Prison’s electric chair. The executions were a record for the state that still stands today. The new prison, built with funds from FDR’s New Deal, as well as the fac
ebook, 288 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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This is not the kind of confession that could have earned a date with Georgia's electric chair. Those confessions, if you were black in the 1930s, were much less detailed and most likely much less voluntary. This is a confession, by a lawyer, a Georgia lawyer no less, that for a long period of our history after the Civil War justice was a precious and illusive ideal if you were an African-American in the South.

Six inmates died within 81 minutes at what was then known as Tatnall Prison
Kenneth Barber
This book deals with justice corruption and politics in the state of Georgia. The story begins in 1928 when two young white college students go on a robbery and murder spree. It then chronicles several other murders in the 1930's. These murders were committed by both Blacks and whites. The difference in the cases was in the justice meted out to the perpetrators. The white defendants tended to have better representation at trial and ended up not being sentenced to death. The Black defendants had ...more
J Roger
Compelling at the beginning but lagged a bit by the end. It's difficult to tell a compelling story about that level of corruption. Not only were these elected officials in Georgia in the early 20th century reprehensible characters, but their actions went without consequence for decades. It was also an insightful, albeit limited, treatment of the plight of being accused and black in the Deep South. The justice system was not just and all too systemic in its equally barbaric treatment of the black ...more
This book left me with the feeling that I had read an extended local newspaper article. The subject matter was compelling; the presentation was not. The author simply presented the facts of several Georgia criminal cases from the same era and then told us the resolutions and that racism and money affected them. There really wasn't much depth to the exercise and certainly nothing about the situations that was new or surprising to the average adult American. The writing itself was bland but servic ...more
I live in Georgia, so when I saw this book listed, I immediately wanted to read it. I was shocked when I read this book...I knew that African Americans weren't always provided justice in the past, but this story still managed to surprise me. I was particularly surprised at the audacity of the former governor Ed Rivers, who was not only a card carrying member of the K.K.K. but was so brazen in his corruption that even a lot of his supporters turned on him. It was saddening to read that confessed ...more
--I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway--

Living in the south in 2014 isn't glamorous. We are still riddled with racism, KKK meetings (we recently had a meeting in my hometown, I was honestly unaware this still existed), and the representation of that amongst literature is scarce. So, when I entered to win this giveaway and actually won it, I had hopes this novel would be a fantastic look into the history of the south through real events and accurate writing.

We often glamorize life
This a well-researched look at a disturbing era in Georgia history. The cast of characters is fascinating, from a corrupt governor to the head of the KKK in its heyday to a murderer sentenced to life in prison who ended up making a cameo appearance in the events that were captured in "The Great Escape" book and movie. And they're all real. If you like history, capital punishment debate, politics, or true crime, I highly recommend this book.
Enlightening. To be accused of a crime in the 20's and 30's in Georgia meant to be convicted of a crime pretty much. White's could buy their pardon, but black men either served their time in a GA chain gang or were executed.
The book does not say that these men did not commit their crimes, but that there was no justice in how the punishment was meted out.
This was a very compelling and well-written slice of American history. The author was very adept at weaving the stories and setting a good pace. As another review mentioned, he did use repetition on occasion, when bringing back a "character", but I actually appreciated it. A quick, interesting read.
This book was unbelievable. Seriously. Gah. The level of Southiness in the American South's history--I thought I knew, but I had no idea. This should be required reading. Technically, it read like a story, rather than a history. It hit me so viscerally--the inequity within the justice system that we still have to deal with in America.
Samantha Kaminski
Nonfiction. About Georgia's corrupt and racist politics in the 30s that led to 6 black men being executed in one day. Part of America's not so great history.
True crime story on the Georgian penal system, corrupt state government leaders, the KKK, and disparities in the justice system for Black defendants. Sad but true.
Justina Spencer
I thought this book was very interesting. I didn't realize the hold the KKK had on Georgia even in the 1930's. It brought up some very interesting points about the unfairness of the death penalty. Easy to read and understand. My only criticism was that the book would sometimes be repetitive in reminding the reader who characters were and what they had done as if the reader might have forgotten since the last chapter. This would be very helpful if you were a forgetful reader I guess. All in all, ...more
Good book. If nothing else, to remember what the American culture in race was, and still didn't change much after almost a century!
Christy Goldberg
This was an interesting look at the prejudice and corruption that plagued the deep south during the 20's 30's and 40's. It seems well researched and reliable. I enjoyed it, but it was a little dry at times. A good read for history buffs.
Sad, bad times in 1930s Georgia … racism, injustice, corruption … 6 executions on Dec. 9, 1938
A challenging and painful read, Beasley presents a very clear period of racist prison and execution decisions in Georgia, and, in the final section, links them to present inequities. Hate disrupts equality under the law, and Beasley's careful scholarship and story reveal a little more of how that happens.
This book was chock-full of information but it was terribly dry. It read like a newspaper or magazine article. If you are not truly interested in this topic, do not bother.
Elane Nataupsky-lukasiewicz
I found the book to be very disturbing. I am a northern by birth but living in Atlanta now. I really had no idea the depth of racism that was common place here. The KKK are now, once again recruiting members. Will this insanity ever stop?
Samantha Wymer
--I received this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway--

I thought this book was interesting. It was interesting to read about the history of the south and the injustice that happened in the 20's and 30's
Karolina Rzadkowolska
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and thought it was very interesting. The author described incredible instances of injustice and how flawed the judicial system and death penalty can be.
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