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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  203,223 ratings  ·  23,365 reviews
An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Spiegel & Grau
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Angie This is an excellent book club book. Lots of issues for good discussions.
Chase Lin I am nearly thirteen and I believe it is very interesting, This is one of the best books I have read about justice for all race, other than to kill a …moreI am nearly thirteen and I believe it is very interesting, This is one of the best books I have read about justice for all race, other than to kill a mockingbird. This is an amazing book for a thirteen year old. You adults are underestimating our ability to understand a book. (less)

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Average rating 4.63  · 
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John Grisham
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God's work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story. ...more
Jennifer Masterson
Re-read. This time via audio. Bryan Stevenson is in the Netflix documentary the 13th. I just watched it. I highly recommend it!

I'm late to the party so there is not much for me to say about this book that has not already been said. What I will say is that This is a Very Important Book! If you have not read it you must!!! It should be required reading for high school. I had no idea the injustice that occurred in this country when it came to death row. I live in a state in which the death penalty
Elyse Walters
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just stepped out of the theater seeing this film!!!
It’s absolutely extraordinary… Incredible…
I can’t recommend it highly enough. I hope it wins best picture of the year… Best actors… Best everything!!!!!

Bring Kleenex!!!

“We must reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent".

"Capital murder requires an intent to kill, and there was a persuasive argume
Justin Tate
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Compared to average white folk, I would consider myself more aware of, and sensitive to, the relentless injustices that plague our country. Still, this book got me fired up.

It’s pretty straight forward. Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer for Equal Justice Initiative, casually describes some of the situations he’s been in and cases he’s represented. His legal practice focuses on defending the wrongly condemned, unusually condemned, or otherwise victims of the state. Many of the cases described are the res
Just Mercy: Following the Road Less Taken

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption was chosen as a Group Read for June, 2015, by On the Southern Literary Trail. My special thanks to Jane, my good friend who nominated this selection.

 photo Stevenson_zpsjykyqcqm.jpg
Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson has written a compelling memoir with Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This is an important work which should be read by any individual who is concerned with the concept of Justice and incidents of Injustice
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars! What a powerful and inspiring book! Please note, if this was a review of the author, Bryan Stevenson's, career and life story, my rating would be 5+ stars. Words cannot adequately describe how I feel about this selfless man who has spent his career fighting for justice for those who need it most. My rating of 4 stars is simply my review of this book (which is obviously what this site is about). My impression of and respect for Bryan Stevenson as an individual is extremely high and would ...more
J.L.   Sutton
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.”

Author Bryan Stevenson on Achieving Equal Justice

Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the U.S. justice system (or curious about why some people don’t feel they receive equal treatment under the law). In Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson presents what could be dry statistics or empty outrages as stories about real people. However, these stories aren’t just abou
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I often think that my grandparents and parents lived in interesting times. They saw so many things come about in their day. Theirs were exciting times. Women won the right to vote, slaves were freed, and medical advancements were plenty. It was the time of The Industrial Revolution, electricity, the telephone, planes, trains, and automobiles so to speak. I tend to downplay the important breakthroughs of my life and times, Television, Computers, a second industrial revolution of Technology, sever ...more
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Well, I suspect it'll drag you kicking and screaming from your happy place, but I defy you to read Bryan Stevenson's remarkable Just Mercy and not come away affected in some way. If you are at all interested in racial and/or sociopolitical injustice, specifically as it applies to our country's (and more specifically, my adoptive home state, Alabama's) seriously flawed justice and penal systems, this is the book for you. Absolutely haunting, heartbreaking, and unforgettable.

Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

“Mercy is just when it is rooted in hopefulness and freely given.”

Let me be honest. I would never have picked this book to read on my own. But it was my church book club selection.

This is a powerful, scary book. A young black lawyer takes on death penalty appeal cases in Alabama. And he does this because Alabama didn’t provide public defenders for those appeal cases. The book delves into all the aspects of the legal system. It also speaks poignantly on the effects of the larger community when s
i love this book so much, it means the world to me, i would do anything for it, and i have the exact proof.

because one time a guy i was dating (who would prove to be supervillain-level evil, for unrelated reasons that would later reveal themselves) ghosted me.

while borrowing my (SIGNED!) copy of this book.

and when i realized months later that he still had it (long after i had already removed him on everything and deleted his number and paid a witch to cast a spell on him, as all healthy grown-up
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is a 2014 Spiegel & Grau publication.

This book came to my attention from a couple of Goodreads friends. Their amazing reviews convinced me this book was one I should, and needed, to read.

“We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope of healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity”

This man. Bryan Stevenson. Are there any m
Debbie "DJ"
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
With all the recent protests across the nation, sparked by the high-profile deaths of several unarmed black men, this is an incredibly timely read.

This book is an account of the author, Bryan Stevenson, and his life calling. Stevenson first began helping death row prisoners, mostly black, who had had no legal defense of any kind. He discovered there were thousands who were completely innocent. This led him to start an organization called the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) which is still going st
Lauren Cecile
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Excellent! Especially for readers who care about social justice, inequality in the justice system or abolishing the death penalty. It is already abstractly known that minorities, poor people, mentally disabled and un-parented children are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system and Bryan Stevenson gives us an up-close and personal look at many of these people. Judges, police, prosecutors, jailers, politicians, etc. can be very obtuse and uncaring about them and are given "c ...more
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
We never read anything in a vacuum. Every book is filtered through the lens of experience, history and daily life.

It may have been a coincidence that I read Just Mercy only days after a horrific mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, but it didn't feel like chance. Having such fresh evidence of racism and violence in the South made the events discussed in this book all the more real.

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer in Alabama who works to defend the poor and the wrong
Ahmad Sharabiani
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson

Brian Stevenson started a law firm when he was a young lawyer, defending people who needed help and support more than anyone else. 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
La Crosse County Library
Wow, what a life-changing read! This story follows a lawyer who represents prisoners who have been given very harsh sentences, (some guilty, some innocent) all begging the question of what justice truly is.

What was most difficult for me in this story was to see that such cruel injustice, based on race or poverty, is happening today.

In order for Walter McMillian to be convicted of murder and given the death penalty, the judge, the sheriff, the district attorney, and the jury would need to be on
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
The Force of Forked Lightning

Author and civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson has some hard bark on him: for dozens of years now, traveling into the backwater towns of Alabama (and other places in the South) to defend and save the lives of inmates, many of whom were railroaded onto death row. He centers his soul-sparking memoir on the especially egregious case of Walter McMillian in Monroe County, AL, interspersed with brief sketches of examples nationwide proving particular types of injustices in
Iris P
Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
"I…believe that in many parts of this country, and certainly in many parts of this globe, that the opposite of poverty is not wealth… I actually think, in too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice… Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. Because it's in that nexus that we actually begin to under
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was just discussing in one of my goodreads groups, a weekly question is “are you in any face to face book clubs?” I personally am not but my father is in a group that meets monthly and he is one of the coordinators. Always at a loss for what to read, he asks me for titles that he thinks his group will enjoy and gives them choices to vote from. Most of the books read are ones that my mother or I suggested. This time the table was turned. My father had read Just Mercy in his group last year and ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
There is nothing I can write to do justice to this exceptional book. Really, the only thing to say is "Read it!". But here are a few thoughts: Just Mercy is both horrifying and awe inspiring. I listened to the audio of Just Mercy as read by the author, Bryan Stevenson. I listened to it in 40 minute daily increments as I walked to work or for exercise. Each time I had to turn the audio off, I found it hard to disengage from everything Stevenson has to say about his work as the founder of the Equa ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: current-events
Bryan Stevenson delivers a compelling narrative about his career fighting for those on death row, children sentenced to life without parole and discriminatory justice that fills our prisons with minorities, the poor and the vulnerable. Stevenson grew up black and poor. He decided he wanted to do work that meant something to him personally. Upon graduating Harvard Law School in 1985 rather than look for the high paying jobs other graduates pursued, he chose to work for $14,000 a year with the Sou ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Just Mercy was heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. I felt a wide range of emotions while reading it, including sadness, anger, and frustration. I knew our system is broken but I wasn't aware to what extent. It was infuriating to read how far behind the times some states are, most notably, Alabama.

Before reading this book, I was fairly confident in my views re: the death penalty, and punishments by imprisonment in general. This book changed my views on some things. Bryan Stevenson is a
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
This book will make your blood boil.

While I would have preferred some more nuance in this work (the author cherry picks the most outrageous examples of injustice and the most compelling inmates to argue his cause, understandably so, the majority of us don't possess the amount of empathy Bryan has for people, even the most despicable ones), what Stevenson has done throughout his career to make our world a little bit less awful and a little bit more just, is no less than heroic. His work is hard
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Harrowing, but brilliantly done.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
True stories of injustice always seem to be the most difficult to stomach, probably because they’re harder to separate yourself from. It’s not just a hypothetical, however realistic some of those narratives may be, but the reality of the world you’re currently living in. In actuality, some of the most gut-wrenching and nearly unbelievable stories told are the ones that tend to be rooted in fact, for the simple reason that nobody would be able to buy into them otherwise.

Just Mercy by Bryan Steven
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-read book for anyone interested in the integrity of the justice system in the U.S. This book will make you cry, seethe, and grab everyone you know by their lapels and say to them, "Do you know this is happenening?!?! How can this be?!?!?!"

The author is an attorney and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. The book highlights several cases of people wrongly imprisoned, and sentenced to death, for crimes they clearly did not commit. In other cases, while crimes were committed t
Cathrine ☯️
5 🌠 🌠 🌠 🌠 🌠
For the book and for the author in recognition of his incredible work on behalf of those wrongly convicted to death or life in prison caught up in a system of blind justice and no hope.
Read by the author, this was compelling from start to finish and deserving of all the recognition and awards. I had no idea, really. All emotions possible will hit the reader; consciousness will be raised.
The film version has an expected U.S. release in January 2020 but read it first.
Content Warning: This is a dark review of a very dark subject. Reader discretion is advised.

Joe Sullivan was thirteen years old when he was arrested.

Mentally disabled, neglected and abused, the product of a chaotic home, Joe could barely read at a first grade level and grew up mostly on the streets.

On May 4, 1989, with two older boys, he broke into an empty house in Pensacola, Florida. Later, the elderly owner of the house was brutally raped. The woman never saw the man who raped her. When the
“… the death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to kill?

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption chronicles the founding, growth, and work of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). EJI is “a private, nonprofit that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

We litigate on behalf of condemn
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The Humble Bumble...: BOOK OF THE MONTH [MAR-2022] - "Just Mercy" 2 6 Mar 21, 2022 06:39AM  
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Historical insight of the legal system 1 4 Jan 24, 2022 05:24PM  
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Justice and Spiri...: Just Mercy: Additional Resources and Actions 6 85 Dec 29, 2021 01:43PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias again

Articles featuring this book

The prolific and beloved author John Grisham, known for his courtroom thrillers, is back this month with a new pageturner, A Time for Mercy,...
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“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” 508 likes
“Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” 347 likes
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