Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Live from Death Row” as Want to Read:
Live from Death Row
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Live from Death Row

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,422 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Once a prominent radio reporter, Mumia Abu-Jamal is now in a Pennsylvania prison awaiting his state-sactioned execution. In 1982 he was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner after a trial many have criticized as profoundly biased. Live From Death Row is a collection of his prison writings--an impassioned yet unflinch ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Harper Perennial (first published May 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Live from Death Row, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Live from Death Row

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeA People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnNickel and Dimed by Barbara EhrenreichThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Social Justice: Books on Racism, Sexism, and Class
137th out of 877 books — 819 voters
The Green Mile by Stephen KingDifferent Seasons by Stephen KingThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasPapillon by Henri CharrièreIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Prison Books
31st out of 272 books — 158 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
TJ Shelby
Jul 23, 2010 TJ Shelby rated it really liked it
I was recommended this book by a friend thinking that it would sway my stance on capital punishment. I am in a small majority of social liberals who support capital punishment. Mumia aptly points out major corruption in nearly every aspect of our criminal justice system, local police, correctional officers, district attornies, and judges. He also demonstrates the propensity for discrimination against blacks and backs it up with solid statistics and facts.

One of the most damning is how much more
Donna Davis
Mumia is a former Black Panther. The facts support his having been framed in the murder of the cop, a crime for which he was nearly executed.

Live from Death Row, written before his sentence was commuted, is not, however, a vehicle he uses to advocate for himself or plead his own case to the public. He has written other books I haven't read, and I don't know if he did that there.

Instead, here he uses his own situation to discuss the racism inherent both in the U.S. court system; he also talks abo
Jun 10, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Read it! Then act on it. Due to a recent Supreme Court reject of the case, he might not be "live" much longer. Write a letter to President Obama, ask for his executive clemency! If you need help writing that letter, send me a mail and I will send you a letter to draw from.
Just reading the sections on how Mumia was railroaded during his trial and the following appeals and how The Baldus Study has proven that "defendants charged with killing whites are 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to die then defendants charged with killing blacks; 6 of every 11 defendants convicted of killing a white would not have received a death sentence had their victim been black" are infuriating. From that study alone it shows how the Black Lives Matter movement is very much needed. ...more
May 04, 2010 Jake rated it really liked it
Pick it up, read it, decide what action you feel you need to take. Political prisoners are nothing new, but in the time of Facebook, Goodreads, Blogs and more, we all have a outlet for our political views. Challenge anything that you feel to be unjust.
Eva Leger
May 09, 2010 Eva Leger rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one from the little bit that I read
Recommended to Eva by: this was another winner of my own doing
This was a mistake for me to have picked up. I know next to nothing about this man or this case but was/am interested in learning more. Being that I don't know a lot about this I can't come to a conclusion on whether I think he's innocent or guilty and whether or not I think the trial was biased.
I'm inclined to assume he's guilty. Most people convicted are guilty. He may be one of the few with mitigating circumstances, I don't know. But the little of this book that I read was someone crying abo
Andrew Duenez
Sep 07, 2011 Andrew Duenez rated it it was amazing
Mumia describes the significance of the "correctional" system we have here in the US. From this book, among other mediums, I have learned that the US is becoming a prison country. The face of that prison system is blacker than any other aspect of American life. In some states where the african am. population is but a quarter, the prison is made up of over 50% of black life. it's pretty crazy that we just accept it all. I mean "they" distract us with so many things that we don't have time to thin ...more
Courtney Henley-Anderson
Mar 22, 2009 Courtney Henley-Anderson rated it it was amazing
This book changed my Life literally. I read it and it called me to action. Mumia is an innocent political prisoner and I have worked as an Activist on his case for 11 years now. His writings about the horrible conditions on the Death Rows of American Gulags is both insightful and vital. Although incarcerated in a room the size of a tiny bathroom for almost 14 years at the time he wrote this book, Mumia turned the story of his and the other prisoners plights into sheer poetry. Another must read!
Nov 21, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, school
This book was required reading for my Global & Transnational Literature class at the University of Utah.

This was my least favorite of the texts that we read. Abu-Jamal is obviously very educated, and has diligently researched court cases and examples of injustice in the US court system. However, I found his language to be stiff, and difficult to read. The presence of such heavy legal jargon made his memoir feel like a textbook. Most of our texts have focused on life in prison, which I have f
Apr 13, 2011 Brad rated it really liked it
Yeah, he's biased. I'd be biased as hell. I'd want to bias someone in the face.
Ramon Frunkis
Jan 26, 2011 Ramon Frunkis rated it did not like it
This guy needs to have a play date with "Old Sparky".
As if there's something I could possibly say to highlight Mumia's powerful words that he doesn't say himself. . .

In lieu of extracting quotes from this book, as I normally do with my readings, I simply have set the entire piece aside in my head as worth rehashing, rereading, and keeping on the tip of my tongue an forefront of my thoughts.

Life from Death Row is a compilation of essays from long-time death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. As a professional reporter, Mumia made a career of presenting
Jude Arnold
Oct 06, 2010 Jude Arnold rated it it was amazing
A Case for Reasonable Doubt a DVD of the 60 Minutes show about Mumia's case. (A really good film!)

I've been getting most of my info from 2 organizations working to Free Mumia:

Refuse & Resist! and Partisan Defense Committee. My understanding of what Mumia really wants most is to get out of jail.

The organizations say the only way to accomplish this is by drawing International Media attention to the issues of his case.

I spoke to a woman this summer from Philadelphia who said; "They will never
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Quick amazing read. Mumia is hard hitting, real, and raw. This volume is comprised of many short chapters (2 - 3 pages)--I believe they are his radio broadcasts re-cast for a book. It's so good. His analysis of the prison industrial complex and his ability to report on different people's struggles through a revolutionary analysis in such short vignettes is gripping and inspiring. Raw, real, and impactful. Not hard to grasp, accessible, incredibly edited, well cited. Highly recommend.
Jan 03, 2015 Earl rated it liked it
Mumia speaks of the terrible conditions that exist in Pennsylvania's prison system from his vantage point on death row. He also offers commentary on happenings that occurred while in jail, from Rodney King to the Connor. If you are unfamiliar with the man, it's helpful to read the end of the book first so you can understand the path that led him to death row. A decent, depressing read that highlights racism in the system.
Sep 16, 2013 Zack rated it it was amazing
I read the book "Life on Death Row", I really liked this book because it viewed more then one persons case and how they waited for death and survived until their due date. I liked that this book was very graphic and got intense and I liked that because it kept me reading. I liked that it stated facts and on the bottom of every page showed where they got the info. Also, at the end of the book the author even talked about his own experience on death row. Something's I didn't like about the book w ...more
Eugenia Hu
Feb 18, 2015 Eugenia Hu rated it it was amazing
Whatever you think about Mumia's guilt or innocence or whether he had a fair trial, you can't deny that he's a phenomenal writer with a singular perspective. I'd call this book eye-opening, but the essays contained therein serve only to emphasize what we all know - that the US is great at creating second-class citizens and sub-humans and keeping them where the ruling class deems them worthy.
Dec 24, 2013 Sonya rated it it was amazing
I read this and college and went back and re-read- this book is phenomenal. I know that people are torn as to whether Mr. Mumia Abu-Jamal is guilty or not, but I just became enthralled in his story and journey and what his life is like and it is really interesting. No matter where you stand on the death penalty in my opinion when you have someone this articulate, who seems to be non- violent now; it should at least give you pause as to whether the system works. No matter what you believe about t ...more
Tiana Brawley
Jan 25, 2014 Tiana Brawley rated it it was amazing
Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal provides intense insight, research, personal accounts and nostalgia to one of the most oppressive institutions to the 20th and 21st century: prison. He provides countless research and documentation of the brutality and horror for black prisoners and the unjust racial system which funds the black-prison complex. Mumia paints a picture of life and conversations in these hell-holes so vividly you can't help but create your own horrific scenes. He challenges reader ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Deanna rated it it was amazing
Great book but pretty heavy as it details first hand accounts of Mumia's experience on death row. A must read for anyone who cares about re-entry, rehabilitation, and completing revamping our judicial/prison system.
Jul 14, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
Don't agree with everything he says, however I did really enjoy his point of view.
Feb 12, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Overall good book. I really enjoyed the stories told by a real death row inmate
Aaron Lozano
Apr 03, 2016 Aaron Lozano rated it it was amazing
Such an interesting and sad perspective. And yet uplifting at the same time. Another example of a severely broken justice system.
Feb 18, 2016 Idiris rated it really liked it
this was very exciting book. i would recommend it to my class
Jan 05, 2008 molly rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the books that I find myself constantly going back to and picking up, either looking through particular parts that I find special or just going back and re-reading semi-random sections. I struggle with simply calling it "amazing" or "life-altering" b/c not only would those be understatements in my opinion, but I think they in some ways diminish the strength of Mumia's voice and wisdom...

No matter your interest/liking, I do think this book will challenge most people and reaff
Mike Da Silva
Aug 09, 2008 Mike Da Silva rated it it was amazing
I'll admit, my first response to this book was, "Gee, another wrongly convicted innocent. Aren't they all." After reading his book and researching many of the footnotes and links listed in the book, I can't believe how wrong I was. Not just for him, but I really felt for all inmates on death row, denied basic interaction with their loved ones. This book is recommended for any one with an open mind, a thirst for truth and justice, and any one with one ioata of compassion for their fellow human.
Oct 02, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This is a very quick read with a large number of short and impactful stories throughout the book. However, as someone who was not very familiar with the story of Mumia's court proceedings, I found the very end of the book the most interesting. The insane injustice in his case is infuriating. I think it is essential that everyone get their hands on this book to get a taste of what the criminal justice system can really be like — it is often anything but just.
Mar 12, 2013 Zack added it
HEY! This book is really fucking good and important to read. It's kind of a journal of a person on death row who most certainly did not receive anything near a fair trail...if that's even possible in our society. He's an ex-black panther and he's in prison largely for political reasons. Really smart and really sad and really powerful. Read it. Recently he got taken off of death row (after 30 years!) and he is sentenced to life without parole.
Jul 05, 2008 Mo rated it really liked it
Shelves: prison
This is one of those books that just makes me so angry that I can barely see of those I-want-to-riot-in-the-street books. I read this immediately after reading Newjack (which I read after reading the prison memior Life On The Outside) and they all just distressed me to no end, but in different ways. I cannot believe that our country is basically becoming one big supermax prison.
Sep 03, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
The essays are very well written. NPR decided not to air these reports at the last minute due to outside pressure. He gives us a look at a part of life most of us hope we will never know firsthand. I did not come away from the book feeling like the author made a good case for his innocence. If he did not commit the murder he is in prison for, he likely knows who did.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
  • Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance
  • Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
  • The Black Panthers Speak
  • Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six
  • Are Prisons Obsolete?
  • Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton
  • Black Power: The Politics of Liberation
  • To Die for the People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton
  • Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America
  • The Prisoner's Wife: A Memoir
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
  • I Cried, You Didn't Listen: A Survivor's Expose of the California Youth Authority
  • Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology
  • Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex
  • American Power and the New Mandarins: Historical and Political Essays
  • Malcolm X: The Last Speeches
  • Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town

Share This Book