Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking

An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States

Book - 1994 | First Vintage Books edition.
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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.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1994.
Edition: First Vintage Books edition.
ISBN: 9780679751311
Branch Call Number: 364.660973 Pre
Characteristics: xi, 276 pages ; 21 cm


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Mar 12, 2014

I recently heard Sister Helen Prejean speak in Minneapolis and her articulate presentation made me want to read her book. I saw the movie Dead Man Walking years ago but the book is much better. Prejean completely opposes the death penalty and she works as a spiritual advisor for Death Row inmates. She is sickened by the evil acts these prisoners committed (although she states some innocent people are mistakenly executed) but until government is perfect, capital punishment should be abolished. She also points out it is much more expensive to execute (with lawyers, trials, retrials, etc) than to sentence a prisoner to life in prison. A fascinating and thought-provoking work.

seki Jun 05, 2012

This book reads like two books. One that covers the gaps that were not addressed in the movie. The second part is the overall arch of the book. How she was transformed to work for those who are on death row and victims rights. She is passionate about these two issues. It is overwhelming to read the fault of the criminal justice system affects both those who are on death row and the families of the victims. But there are the unsung people. The Harvey's, which are featured in the second part of the book, the Mennonite community and the laywer who is pro death penalty but believes strongly that someone who is on death row deserves to exhaust all of their legal options before they are executed. A fine book.

JCLBeckyC Mar 28, 2012

One of the rare times I liked the movie better than the book. Although I admire Sister Prejean's effort in telling her story of working closely with prisioners on death row, I found myself growing bored with the legal details and facts about the death penalty in the United States. This book would make a great resource for someone writing a paper about the death penalty. If you're not doing research on the topic, however, I recommend watching the movie over reading the book.

Nov 08, 2007

Great legal resource for the death penalty

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