"Fighting for Their Lives
shines a light on the overlooked personal price paid by lawyers who have the courage to represent death row prisoners: Few ever experience a victory as meaningful, and none will experience a loss as devastating."
" On its own terms, the book succeeds, highlighting emotional dimensions of lawyers' work that are often overlooked in legal scholarship and education."
--H-Law, H-Net Reviews
"Sheffer takes readers beyond the courtroom and execution chambers to explore how capital defense attorneys cope when they can't save a client. ... The book is unexpectedly moving, as when an inmate consoles an attorney who has run out of options, and the author is especially adept at uncovering the ethical and professional nuances of these cases. ... sobering and intimate ..."
"Sheffer's insightful book will be of interest to all capital defense attorneys and others working in the judicial system, as well as to those who work on death penalty issues in other contexts, including politicians, journalists, and advocates."
"[Sheffer] is also a lucid and lyrical writer. The resulting conversations, woven into a compelling narrative, are searching and thought-provoking. They provide insights into the emotional aspects of lawyering that I have found nowhere else."
"A searing account of rights and laws, crime and punishment."--Kirkus Reviews
"This is an important book. The death penalty's impact is so much broader than we realize, and these attorneys are affected in ways that even I had not imagined. I am grateful to Susannah Sheffer for bringing these stories to light." --Sister Helen Prejean
, author of Dead Man Walking
and The Death of Innocents
"Susannah Sheffer is a gifted and deeply compassionate interviewer and she has written a beautiful, heartbreaking, and above all uplifting story that makes an essential contribution to literature on the death penalty." --Richard Burr
, death penalty defense attorney
"This is a book I could have wished into existence. It offers a rare look at the emotionally rich questions surrounding capital defense lawyering, and its conversational format opens up a vein of insight that even memoir would not. Fascinating and entirely engaging!"
--Susan A. Bandes
, Professor of Law, DePaul University
"At long last someone pierces the veil of insult, ignominy, and infamy that surrounds the capital defender, exposing the human being inside. In these pages Susannah Sheffer helps us see why educated, intelligent professionals willingly suffer the grinding horror of attempting to stop the dance of death; why caring people dedicate themselves to the defense of those deemed disposable."
, President of Death Penalty Focus
"In her beautifully written book, Susannah Sheffer takes us into the world of capital defense attorneys who seek answers to some of the most basic and profound of human questions: what makes people who they are? What leads some people to commit terrible acts? Capital defense attorneys, often at great cost to themselves, engage in a moral struggle against an entire system, and in their commitment to fight to the very end, they demonstrate the power of relationship and restoration of human dignity. I couldn't put this book down."
--Sandra L. Bloom, M.D.
, author of Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies,
and Past-President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies