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Bonus Tag: Black Lives Matter > Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – 5 Stars

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message 1: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 1157 comments This is probably the best book I’ve read this year. It is one of the very few books that having read a copy from the library, I know I will go out and buy this so I can read it again at a slower pace and come back to bits in the book over and over again. I added it to my TBR when it came out, but had to wait for my library to get a copy before I was able to read it. The main focus of this book is the case of Walter McMillan, an innocent man unjustly accused, convicted and sentenced to death and how Stevenson fights to ultimately exonerate him. One of the things that struck me whilst reading this book, is just how many innocent people have been sentenced to death, and how difficult the judicial system makes it to fight to prove people’s innocence. I was also struck by the number of times Stevenson mentions his clients’ previous lawyers have been dis-barred, or have had complaints upheld against them for incompetence or other reasons, and yet their former clients are still sitting on death row with no automatic right to re-trials. Every other chapter tells of other cases Stevenson has worked on, and it was heart-breaking to read the cases of some of his clients who were not given fair trials, or were tried as adults and locked up in adult jails despite being 12 or 13-years old, or suffered from physical or sexual assault whilst in prison. This is a book I think everyone working in politics or justice needs to read, and learn the lessons from, especially if they are in the US. Then once they have read the book, they need to commit to improving the criminal justice system in the US.

message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I saw Mr. Stevenson speak in the fall and he was inspiring. I watched Just Mercy (which had been free on....Redbox?) and he was prominently featured in Ava Duvernay's documentary 13th, but I have not yet read his book.

It is on the list for sure.

On a related topic, I am just getting ready to start The New Jim Crow, which is also about incarceration but more of the macroscopic view than Stevenson's personal story.

message 3: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 1157 comments Nicole R wrote: "On a related topic, I am just getting ready to start The New Jim Crow, which is also about incarceration but more of the macroscopic view than Stevenson's personal story."

I read The New Jim Crow 2 or 3 years ago, and it has stayed with me since. It was a very similar book in that it gave me hope for the future that people would read the book and change their behaviour (and the laws) because of reading this book, but also made me so angry with politicians for seemingly not caring about the people most affected by these issues. Until I read Just Mercy, The New Jim Crow and Evicted by Matthew Desmond were the two books that I most recommended to people who wanted a non-fiction book. I would be really interested to see what you think of it.

message 4: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Oh that is good to know that it gave you hope and that you recommend it to others! I will definitely let you know what I think! I hope to finish it this month....

message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan Lewallen (susanlewallen) | 564 comments I was inspired by this book. It's a sad commentary on our system, but it made me want to work towards changing it. The author is a fine example of what one dedicated individual can do to raise awareness.

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