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In 1993 prisoners took control of the maximum-security prison in Lucasville, Ohio. Their 11-day ordeal started with a dispute between the warden and Muslim prisoners and ended with a negotiated settlement, but only after nine prisoners and one hostage had been killed. In the months that followed, leaders of the uprising were singled out by the state, tried, and sentenced to death despite compelling evidence of their innocence. Lucasville tells the inside story of the uprising, the subsequent trial and sentencing. Eminent historian and lawyer Staughton Lynd brings the full power of evidence to bear as he retells the Lucasville story. He argues compellingly that the five men sentenced to death have been unfairly convicted. In addition, he describes the uprising from the inside-how the prisoners worked together, black and white, even Muslims and members of the Aryan Brotherhood, for the improvement of conditions. The ease with which the state has been able to use its resources, and the court's, to bring the Lucasville 5 to the point of execution raises questions that will make readers want to rethink not only the justification for these convictions, but the legitimacy of the death penalty in any case.
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A textbook case for what is wrong with the death penaltyFrom the Inside Flap:
"Mr. Lynd is a masterful storyteller and he has a hell of a story to tell. [He] has written a definitive history of one of the longest prison riots in U.S. history and its aftermath. That alone is worth the price of admission....What makes the book unique in the historical sense is the remarkable range of primary and secondary sources; Lynd writes with a lawyer's pen but a poet's ear....This book is a reminder that prisoners—even death row prisoners—are human beings, too. Lucasville is a resounding affirmation of our common humanity."
—Michael Mello, author of The Wrong Man: A True Story of Innocence on Death Row
"They rose above their status as prisoners, and became, for a few days in April 1993, what rebels in Attica had demanded a generation before them: men. As such, they did not betray each other; they did not dishonor each other; they reached beyond their prison 'tribes' to reach commonality."
"There is a temperature at which the welder's torch becomes so hot and burns with such purity that its flame is no longer yellow, orange, or red, but burns blue. Then it is capable of cutting through steel. Staughton Lynd wields the blue flame of truth, cutting through the lies, threats, evasions, and misrepresentations of the authorities of the state of Ohio."
—Professor Peter Linebaugh, Department of History, University of Toledo; author of The London Hanged and co-author of The Many-Headed Hydra
"Lucasville is one of the most powerful indictments of our 'justice system' I have ever read. What comes across is a litany of flaws deep in the system, and recognizably not unique to Lucasville. The detailed transcripts (yes, oral history!) give great power to the whole story."
—Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
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Book Description Temple University Press, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1592130941
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