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Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience Paperback – July 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0896086999 ISBN-10: 0896086992

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Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience + Live from Death Row + Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the USA
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896086992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896086999
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

It is impossible to escape the irony that a man so impassioned about life has spent the last 15 years on death row. A journalist (Live from Death Row, LJ 5/1/95) and self-described "professional revolutionary" accused of killing a Philadelphia police officer, Abu-Jamal has won international attention for his case. Prison walls, however, have done little to deter his activism. His latest book has a markedly spiritual undertone, as he discusses his views on religion and fellow inmates' thoughts on the subject. In this compilation of over 35 short commentaries and poems, the author questions the validity of Christianity and traces his struggles with religion. In one touching essay, he compares children to acorns, saying that they possess the power to grow into mighty oak trees. Abu-Jamal's words flow like the very sap of those trees, pulsing with energy and capturing the essence of life. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.?Erin Cassin, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Abu-Jamal has been on death row for 15 years for a crime many believe he did not commit. A well-respected African American journalist, Abu-Jamal followed a lifelong quest for meaning and enlightenment, which inspired him to join the Black Panther Party as a young man and later John Africa's community, MOVE, alignments that put him in clear opposition to the powers-that-be, a stance he firmly retains. Refusing to be silenced by his incarceration and impending execution, Abu-Jamal has defied the authorities to write Live from Death Row (1995), which has sold 80,000 copies, and now this collection of vigorous social critiques and moving essays on matters of faith. Like so many other oppressed writers-of-conscience, Abu-Jamal has been rewarded for suffering the torment of exile and isolation, vilification and a sentence of death with the grace of a genuine spiritual awakening, and the flame of his keen intellect and irrepressible soul burns brightly, illuminating each mind that opens to his wise words. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mumia Abu-Jamal is author of many books, including Live From Death Row, Death Blossoms, All Things Censored, and We Want Freedom. He has been living on death row in a Pennsylvania prison since 1982.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on August 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found "Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience," by Mumia Abu-Jamal, to be an engrossing book. A collection of short pieces, it is written by a death row inmate who was convicted of murdering a police officer, but who many supporters believe to be innocent. The book contains a foreword by Cornel West and an introduction by Julia Wright. Also included is a prison interview with the author.
From a literary standpoint, West really hypes up the author in his foreword; he compares Abu-Jamal to Herman Melville, Theodore Dreiser, Toni Morrison, Eugene O'Neill, and other great American authors. Wright contributes further to this theme, comparing "Death Blossoms" to works by Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. So is Mumia all that? I don't know, but "Death Blossoms" is good stuff.
Although there is the expected sociopolitical critique, "Death Blossoms" is, at its core, the record of the author's spiritual journey. Abu-Jamal reflects on his mother's Baptist heritage and his father's Episcopalianism; he also details his explorations of other spiritual paths: Judaism, Catholicism, and the Black Muslim movement. His writings in these sections are powerful and evocative. Ultimately, he pays tribute to the guru known as John Africa and discusses at some length the path founded by this man.
Abu-Jamal also writes about prison life, the media, and United States history. Along the way he cites such diverse sources as Salman Rushdie, Ray Bradbury, the Qu'ran, Nietsche, and Ghanaian folklore.
Overall, this is a fascinating book. I did feel that some of the supplemental material by other authors reads too much like a hagiography of Mumia; it's like the publishers are trying to market him as some kind of modern saint.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rene Galli on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This booked filled me with an indescribable feeling. Mumia Abu Jamal has been in jail for over 15 years waiting to be killed, and yet he is still able to write books like this that no doubt have a profound affect on anybody who reads it. It is definitely worth reading. On another note, can i just say that the person who gave this book one star below has got their facts wrong. the things he has claimed are presented in an untrue and very biased manner. to get the real details about the court case and another things surronding Mumia's inprisionment, just do a seach for his name on the net and it will be easy to track down.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Death Bloosoms" picks up where "Live From Death Row" leaves off. Mumia's reflections from family to the system make the reader stop and think about what is really going on. Even after almost 15 years on death row, Mumia has not lost hope or has his will been broken but prison life. This book is not for his supportors only, but for anyone that has any type of social conscience. In some ways this book is a little more heart-dreaced than his first, but they are both good nonetheless
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
A book from Death Row. Would it be about bars, death chambers, law and lament I wondered as I took the book from the hands of my friend? No, he reassured me, this is a book about life. I laughed at the irony but began reading. I now wonder what kind of acid the justice system is on to silence and still the intellect, insight and the voice of this modern small-time profit. A book that should be on the stands everywhere. This is no 'for lefties only' publication.

Tim Buchanen, Northern Ireland
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Martin Lemos on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Death Bloosoms" picks up where "Live From Death Row" leaves off. Mumia's reflections from family to the system make the reader stop and think about what is really going on. Even after almost 15 years on death row, Mumia has not lost hope or has his will been broken but prison life. This book is not for his supportors only, but for anyone that has any type of social conscience. In some ways this book is a little more heart-drenched than his first, but that is to be expected. When you can actually feel the emotion that the writer is trying to convey, then the writer has succeded in making his point. Now I know that there are many people who think Mumia is guilty, but how can we keep a man a death row when some other man has come forward and confessed to the murder. If anything, Mumia deseves to be freed while an investigation is conducted. This leads you to wonder how fair our judicial system really is if a man cant be freed after someone else has confessed. This book will take you into the depths of hell and give you a first hand look at what life really is like on death row. If this book cant make you re-think you position on capitol punishment, than I dont know what can.
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By CESAR on February 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pressure creates diamonds. Mumia is a diamond! in the rough! A MUST READ for those seeking higher knowledge and understanding in order to escape the confinements of this PATHETIC society.
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By June on April 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful, insightful and inspiring book of short essays. Mumia should've been primarily known as a writer, not the center of a debate.
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22 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mumia Abu-Jamal gives us here a short but particularly pungent and stringent book. We find in those pages a sensitive man, a resolute human being, a deep believer in life, an optimist about the future and humanity, and yet a realist about the present, the US and American justice. What's new about his approach is that it blends poetry and facts so well that the poetry is the heart of the facts. And we definitely will keep in mind his main argument, or what I consider as such: how can anyone invoke the Christian God to support the most unhumane treatment of some men or women or even children, when Jesus, the Son of God, was treated exactly the same way. How dare they, the self-declared-righteous fake Christians submit any human being to what is the very basis of their own supposed and self-asserted religion? One answer: religion is a sunday entertainment and distraction (they are deranged) for them, and they are basically hypocritical. One reference is missing in the book: social darwinism. The Death Row of any prison in the US or in the world, is nothing but the elimination device of those who are not the fittest, that is to say who are not part of the dominant group of their societies. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU Université of Paris IX and II
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