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9780679751311

Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate

Prejean, Helen Author

9780679751311: Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier’s death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. She also came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute—men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing.
        Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Here Sister Helen confronts both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the fears of a society shattered by violence and the Christian imperative of love. On its original publication in 1993,  Dead Man Walking emerged as an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty. Now, some two decades later, this story—which has inspired a film, a stage play, an opera and a musical album—is more gut-wrenching than ever, stirring deep and life-changing reflection in all who encounter it.

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From the Publisher:

"Destined to become the most influential anti-capital punishment statement since Albert Camus wrote' Reflections on the Guillotine ' in 1957...This unblinking book about the deliberate killing of human beings refuses to turn a blind eye to the sins of the murderers--be they prisoners or prison officials. The author, Sister Helen Prejean, is a Roman Catholic nun who has lived and worked with poor black families in New Orleans. Walking explores her personal and spiritual evolution into both a death penalty opponent and victims advocate, an evolution that begins when she serves as the spiritual advisor to two condemned men." --Washington Post Book World

"This arresting account should do for the debate over capital punishment what the film footage from Selma and Birmingham accomplished for the civil rights movement: turn abstractions into flesh and blood. Tough, fair, bravely alive--you will not come away from this book unshaken."--Bill McKibben

From the Back Cover:

When Helen Prejean is invited to write to a prisoner on Death Row who brutally killed two teenagers, she has little idea how much it will change her life. Although she abhors his crime, she befriends one man as he faces the electric chair. Dead Man Walking is Helen Prejean's gripping true story, which formed the basis for a major motion picture event. As powerful an indictment of the death penalty as has ever been written, her book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 124 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. When Chava Colon from the Prison Coalition asks me one January day in 1982 to become a pen pal to a death-row inmate, I say, Sure. The invitation seems to fit with my work in St. Thomas, a New Orleans housing project of poor black residents. Not death row exactly, but close. Thus begins Sister Helen Prejean s story of her encounter with the death penalty in America. When she first writes to Patrick Sonnier, the condemned killer of two teenagers, this unassuming Roman Catholic nun from a middle class Louisiana family is wholly unprepared for what will follow. As she grows to know Sonnier, she sees the terrified human being beneath the surface of the repentant killer and becomes increasingly disturbed not only by the inhumane conditions of his confinement but also by the terrible anguish he suffers during the long countdown toward execution. She also sees the moral struggles of the public officials - the governor, the head of the Department of Corrections, wardens, guards - who have to carry out killings that the law demands but that they do not personally believe in. And she comes to know the dismaying truth about the death penalty s disproportionate cost in money and resources, and how fragile and sometimes chaotic the justice system can be. Her experience soon leads her to ask: How can society benefit from replicating the violence it condemns? In formulating her answer, however, Helen Prejean also confronts the counterbalancing factors. Chief among them is the devastating rage and grief of the victims families, whom she comes to know and befriend and whose need for retribution she understands. Prejean s indictment of capital punishment sensitively navigates the complex personal,ethical, and legal issues involved, balancing compassion for both the criminals and the people whose lives they destroy. By turns reflective and deeply personal, spiritual and candidly human, this engrossing and deeply moving meditation on one of the most painfully controversial issue. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780679751311

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 124 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. When Chava Colon from the Prison Coalition asks me one January day in 1982 to become a pen pal to a death-row inmate, I say, Sure. The invitation seems to fit with my work in St. Thomas, a New Orleans housing project of poor black residents. Not death row exactly, but close. Thus begins Sister Helen Prejean s story of her encounter with the death penalty in America. When she first writes to Patrick Sonnier, the condemned killer of two teenagers, this unassuming Roman Catholic nun from a middle class Louisiana family is wholly unprepared for what will follow. As she grows to know Sonnier, she sees the terrified human being beneath the surface of the repentant killer and becomes increasingly disturbed not only by the inhumane conditions of his confinement but also by the terrible anguish he suffers during the long countdown toward execution. She also sees the moral struggles of the public officials - the governor, the head of the Department of Corrections, wardens, guards - who have to carry out killings that the law demands but that they do not personally believe in. And she comes to know the dismaying truth about the death penalty s disproportionate cost in money and resources, and how fragile and sometimes chaotic the justice system can be. Her experience soon leads her to ask: How can society benefit from replicating the violence it condemns? In formulating her answer, however, Helen Prejean also confronts the counterbalancing factors. Chief among them is the devastating rage and grief of the victims families, whom she comes to know and befriend and whose need for retribution she understands. Prejean s indictment of capital punishment sensitively navigates the complex personal,ethical, and legal issues involved, balancing compassion for both the criminals and the people whose lives they destroy. By turns reflective and deeply personal, spiritual and candidly human, this engrossing and deeply moving meditation on one of the most painfully controversial issue. Bookseller Inventory # KNV9780679751311

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