A Saint on Death Row
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A Saint on Death Row

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  48 reviews
s/t: How a Forgotten Child Became a Man and Changed a World
On October 26, 2004, Dominique Green, thirty, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. Arrested at the age of eighteen in the fatal shooting of a man during a robbery outside a Houston convenience store, Green may have taken part in the robbery but always insisted that he did not pull the trigger. The...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2009)
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Larry Bassett
Dominique Green was on Death Row in Texas until his execution in 2004. (This book was published in 2009.) During his time there he taught himself and learned the skills of life that no one had ever taught him. He had to decide the purpose of his life when his execution seemed to be a certainty. The evident turn around in his life has been obvious to people who had contact with him. If rehabilitation is the goal, he was a success story by most accounts. Green said:
I didn’t know, after being cond
...more
Jonathan
This is a curiously tepid account of a compelling story. From my own experience representing a death row inmate in "post conviction" proceedings, I need no convincing of the futility, and ultimately, the barbarity and inhumanity of the death penalty. I need no convincing of the racism inherent in the death penalty as applied. I need no convincing of the inherent unfairness of "the system" in many parts of Texas -- from the appointment of inexperienced or incompetent counsel to defend capital cas...more
Tommy
I saw Cahill give a speech on this book and one of the most important things I took from it was how he was still affected by Green's death - he broke down visibly at times during his speech - and his thoughts regarding how irrelevant it is if Green was actually guilty or not. As Cahill said in the book, he believes Green wasn't the shooter but is not certain whether he was there or not, involved or not, and if so how much. These facts for Cahill are not important as he felt Green was not the sam...more
Kelsey
This book was short and could have been much longer. It gives a relatively high level explanation of the case surrounding Dominique but doesn't get much into the trial and says very little about appeals aside from the fact they were rejected. This is mostly a political book. While I agree with a lot of what is said and agree that Dominique should not have been executed, this book left me feeling terrible for Dominique and uncomfortable with the author seemingly using him for gain. Overall it was...more
Walter
Wow: what happened to Dominique Green was both a tragedy and a true miscarriage of justice. (And yet, sadly, his case is representative rather than unique.) Thomas Cahill's book detailing his sad life and eventual death is both compelling and heartbreaking, so gripping in fact that I stayed up all night and read it in a single sitting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Cahill's prose or, at times, the way he chooses to frame and/or recount some situations, but his storytelling is top...more
dee
One thing I learned is don't mess with Texas. This was a compelling story. Having just read The Green Mile, although fiction; it makes me wonder how many innocent men and women die on death row. My heart really goes out for this young man who was dealt a really bad hand in life. Growing up on the streets of Houston he chose dealing drugs as an alternative to other criminal activities. He had a horrible childhood with a crazy mother who abused him (even shot at him on several occasions) and an in...more
Jim B
Similar to Sister Prejean's "Dead Man Walking," this book exposed the unfairness of the Texas justice system. Texas has a panel that oversees death row appeals, but is clearly committed to denying all appeals. Dominique Green was unusual in how dramatically he grew intellectually, spiritually, emotionally while he was in prison from age 18-30. His breakthrough happened through acquaintance with Desmond Tutu's teachings on Reconciliation and forgiveness.

The author shares my conviction that peopl...more
Wilhelmina
Such a fascinating account of the short life of Dominique Green, the lives he touched, his grace, his intelligence and his maturity, and how his life was doomed before it was started. If you didn't like Governor Rick Perry prior to reading this book, you will like him less. Let's hope he never runs for president of the US. If you didn't like George W. Bush prior to reading this book, you will like him less also. Each person, as governor of Texas, wanted to have the most executions to his credit...more
Sonia
Apr 29, 2009 Sonia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sonia by: NPR
This is the story of a young man I promise you will never forget after reading his story.

A subject we don't like to think about but must as it is a stain on our nation that is so generous and yet we allow this barbarianism called the death penalty, a severe form of human cruelty.

The first question we should ask is not was he guilty, but did he receive a fair trial? There are no millionaires on death row. Had Dominique Green not been poor and black he would not be on death row.

A slim but power...more
Lauren Stanek
I agree with many other reviewers below who work in the criminal justice system. Regardless of which side of the death penalty debate you're on, Dominique's story was very interesting and certainly worth learning more about. The excerpts about the trial certainly concerned me and I think there could have been a lot of material there. I think Cahill really short-changed what could have been an excellent story and teaching tool. I'm surprised to read some of the other reviews that suggest Cahill d...more
Ken
This is a very important book. Its a book that changes the way we see the world and can potentially save lives. I hope. It deserves to be a huge bestseller that everyone is talking about. When we settle into our belief structures we often move through life looking for assurances that those beliefs are correct and give us peace of mind. But one of the gifts of being human is we can challenge our thought processes by reading or having experiences that can lead us to possibly see the world in a ne...more
Kimberly
This was a short but it inspirational book. The personal and spiritual transformation of Green is something we should all strive for. The book is about Green who was executed in Texas for a crime he did not likely commit. But prison allowed him time to read, study, and write, and grow in ways he could not in life outside its walls. He accomplish things many of us on the outside never do. Like truly reaching out to others,and making true friends. While it is a good read if your trying to look int...more
Carolyn.frimpter
This is a well written anti-death penalty book regarding a particular inmate who was not given a fair trial, and committed the sin of being who was poor and black in Texas. Some may have trouble with the occasional comparisons between Dominique Green and Jesus and find this hyperbolic ( I did wince at some of that), but Desmond Tutu visited Mr. Green and told the author that he thought his descriptions of him were not hyperbolic but accurate. His time in solitary confinement did seem to make him...more
Skostal
A short but amazing story of the personal and spiritual transformation of a man executed in Texas for a crime he did not likely commit. Prison afforded him the time to read, study, and write, and allowed him to accomplish things many of us on the outside never do--truly reaching out to others, making of our lives what we can, finding compassion amid a harsh world, accepting love when cynicism threatens to overtake us. The book would stand well on its own without the unnecessary polemic decrying...more
Lou Cordero
A heart wrenching book. A young boy raised in a horrible environment is convicted of murder for being at a murder during a robbery. He is the only one given the death penalty despite no physical evidence. One of the other individuals arrested was never charged because he testified against Dominique (he was the only white guy involved).

This book raises numerous questions about the death penalty as a whole and the death penalty in Texas in particular. Many advocate against the murder of Dominique...more
Val
I have to admit, when I saw this book I had a lot of questioon marks -- wait, Thomas Cahill, the guy who wrote the [AMAZING] "Hinges of History" series???? What, exactly, is this book about??? It seemed kind of random. This is an amazingly powerful story that speaks to social justice and really makes you think -- deeply -- about what we really believe and about "justice." Incidentally Desmond Tutu's book "No Future Without Forgiveness" is an amazing and powerdul book too. A must-read.
Milt
In some areas of our nation, the phrase "criminal justice system" is more descriptive adjective than attributive noun.

Is it always a fundamental tenet that justice, mercy, and forgiveness be rendered one-off in application to those most in need, rather than to those in power quite the other way?

If Texas were to secede, would the U.S. drop to fifth in the world for capital punishment?
Leslie Lee
I had hoped this book would be inspiring and passionate, but I found it plodding and not up to the subject, which is a very compelling story. You will learn something about how unjust our legal system can be, how a man facing execution can find a kind of grace, and who to contact to take a stand against capital punishment, but if you are looking for a good read I'm betting Dead Man Walking is a better choice.
Rebecca Henderson
I don't agree with Cahill's theology, in this or others of his books. I also don't completely agree with him politically. But I continue to find him a compelling author, nonetheless, because of the way he provokes thought and the way he uses words. The story of Dominique Green is tragic from beginning to end, a story that needs to be heard, and Cahill has done a good job in telling it.
Heidi
I always knew that our justice system was lacking, but this showed the ultimate wrongs we commit on a daily basis, with fatal consequences. It is frightening how easily we sentence someone to death without real evidence. I truly believe that we must exhaust all attempts at giving people a second chance, even though some will not take it, some will not turn around their lives.
Davis
It was a quick read, but impacted me. The author has a way with the English language and even in instances where he wasn't actually present, he is incredibly detailed due to his thorough research.

After reading I felt the desire to contribute to the organizations he listed in the Appendix and become a pen pal with a prisoner. I highly recommend this book!
Paul
As someone not opposed to the death penalty for murder in principle this was a compelling read. The blatant unfairness of Dominique's trial made me think again and again. Researching the subject further only makes me concur with Cahill's analysis. The [in]justice system in Texas is rascist and unfair through and through.
Missy
A call to action..the cruely, injustice and racism still happening in our country...I'm so happy the author had a list of resources to learn more and to get involved...a real hard eye opener, yet knowing the way in which Dominique handled himself is truly inspiring
Rachel
Ironic to compare his growing up life with some of the youth that I work with here...and the absolute need for every child to have ONE person whom they can depend on...and how society loses out and ultimately fails those children that DON'T have that critical person...
Judy
Jul 10, 2011 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marie Groberg
An interesting account of how someone with great potential can get totally lost because of bad parenting and problems with the justice system. At the same time, it shows the potential of the human soul to rise to greatness despite terrible circumstances.
Tina Alston


Watching the Olympics 2012 and having just finished this book it makes you wonder what Dominque's life would have been like had he been able to play a sport and have had a coach like Kudisha's coach, the Irish Catholic brother in Kenya.
Martha
After I read this I thought, If i weren't white, I think I'd be afraid to drive through TX, just i case I was accused of a crime. But then NC's SBI was exposed for all it's corruption and I realized I was in just as much danger here in NC.
Liz
If you are a supporter of the death penalty, this book might very well change your mind. Beautifully written and read by the author (I listened to it on CD), the story of Dominique Green will stay with you.
Stephan D.
An education into Texas justice, or injustice as this case demonstrates. While definitely not a saint, no teenager, not guilty of being a sociopath, deserves this. Even then, the death penalty is inhumane.
Sharie
I hate that we live in a world so callous that sees a person's skin color and/or wealth status as more important that his life. And our court system seems to support it!
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Born in New York City to Irish-American parents and raised in Queens and the Bronx, Cahill was educated by Jesuits and studied ancient Greek and Latin. He continued his study of Greek and Latin literature, as well as medieval philosophy, scripture and theology, at Fordham University, where he completed a B.A. in classical literature and philosophy in 1964, and a pontifical degree in philosophy in...more
More about Thomas Cahill...
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