Among the Lowest of the Dead: The Culture of Death Row

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Times Books, 1995 - Social Science - 469 pages
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There is no light darker than that which filters through the cells and souls on death row. Now David Von Drehle, the prizewinning journalist of The Washington Post, takes us as never before into the world of death row inmates, the world of those who have been the victims of their crimes, and the world of those who have the power to punish by killing. Among the Lowest of the Dead introduces us to the lawyers who run their lives into the ground fighting to save killers, and the equally frazzled lawyers who fight to execute them. We sit with the survivors of murder victims, waiting - sometimes for decades - for justice to come. We oversee the deliberations of governors as they sign death warrants, then sit passively by the telephone as the appointed hour passes. We go inside the courtrooms where judges intone the awful words "and may God have mercy on your soul". And we delve into the world of the sick, the vicious, the changed - even the innocent - men and women who spend their days in tiny cells waiting for the moment when time runs out. A book of enormous and profound insight, cloaked in a prose poetic, stark, and stunningly revealing, Among the Lowest of the Dead is much more than one of the most powerful books ever written on crime and punishment in America - it is a look into the souls of the guilty, the innocent, and ourselves. There is no light darker than that which filters through the cells and souls on death row, but David Von Drehle's masterpiece of prose and power illuminates this deepest, darkest realm like a prolonged flash of lightning.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wdlaurie - LibraryThing

Amazingly thorough review of Florida's death row, from the time that the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s to the early 1990s. Gives in depth look at many cases, and brings up the question if ... Read full review

Among the lowest of the dead: the culture of death row

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

For 11 years, Von Drehle covered Florida's death row for the Miami Herald. This collection of his articles has all the tension of the best true crime stories. He follows the vicissitudes of John ... Read full review

Contents

PART II
119
A FAILURE OF EXECUTION
303
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
421
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

David Von Drehle is the author of three previous books, including the award-winning Triangle, an account of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire that The New York Times called ?social history at its best.? An editor-at-large at Time magazine, he and his family live in Kansas City.

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