my take: Profound. Important. Essential. Imperative. What word best sums the necessity of Bryan Stevenson’s voice? Right up there with Pope Francis, his is a most needed voice for the poor. I think he deserves a Nobel prize.
In this highly readable memoir/look inside the U.S. justice system, Mr. Stevenson shows how being poor and black in America can lead to a long life behind bars – whether you’ve committed a crime or not.
I heard Mr. Stevenson speak at my alma mater (via online streaming because it was January and too cold to drive there) and was moved by his first hand account of his efforts to legally represent people on death row. His nonprofit organization has helped to change laws and release inmates from death row. (The book includes most of the stories in his presentation and many more.)
I laughed (he’s self-depricating), I cried (bad stuff happens to good people and sometimes great things happen in bad situations), and I came away a better person (not just my awareness but a deep desire to join in this effort any way I can). So, yeah, this gets my highest recommendation.
my source: Calvin College January Series lecture
my verdict: must read for all Americans
(This was an interesting read after Orange is the New Black)