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Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family Hardcover – June 11, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476715637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476715636
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1969, when hit man Charles Harrison was tried for the murder of Houston carpet salesman Alan Berg, the victim’s brother, rookie lawyer David Berg, could only follow the proceedings helplessly outside the courtroom. More than 40 years later, he recalls his frustration with the ineffective prosecutor and the unethical defense attorney, who ensured Harrison was found innocent and freed to murder again. As both a grieving brother and a now-famous trial lawyer, Berg reflects on the crushing impact of a murder on his family and fantasizes a more effective prosecution of the defendant. Painting a stark picture of Texas law enforcement at the time, he raises questions about the ethics of criminal jurisprudence everywhere. Having interviewed surviving witnesses, lawyers, and family, he reconstructs the short life of his reckless brother and tells about his own coming-of-age in a brutally frank family memoir that will attract readers of true crime. --Rick Roche

Review

"What is remarkable about the book, though, is Mr. Berg’s writing. He elegantly brings to life the rough-and-tumble boomtown that was 1960s-era Houston, and conveys with unflinching force the emotional damage his brother’s death did to his family." (New York Times)

"Berg's story is compelling—and leaves you convinced that the truth did not prevail." (People's Magazine)

“This book has everything…The story is filled with the dusty small town criminal wheeling and dealings of a Grisham novel, and there’s plenty of courtroom drama. The book inhabits the worlds of Texas, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood. Berg knows how to keep an audience engrossed.” (Guardian US, Best Memoir on the Summer Reads Awards)

“Berg is a very fine writer — thorough, lucid and logical, but never dry. The emotional resonance and sheer vital force of this story extend far beyond its pages. It is the story of a bond so strong that his older brother's absence still wakes Berg up in the middle of the night.” (Nashville Scene)

"David Berg has written a book that makes me think I’d like to be friends with him. No book that I’ve encountered so far this year has a voice that is as assured and entertaining as Berg’s in this uncanny, addictive memoir." (Claiborne Smith, features editor Kirkus)

“We are in Mary Karr memoir territory here, in Texas noless, with parents behaving badly and children behaving even worse. DavidBerg's superb tale of his brother's shocking murder is true crime at its mostintimate, and most personal.” (S. C. Gwynne author of Empire of the Summer Moon)

Run, Brother, Run is a home run for David Berg andhis readers. Part memoir, part mystery, it's all of a piece—a true story ofHouston that's impossible to put down.” (Mimi Swartz author of Power Failure)

"David Berg has written a funny and haunting memoir of a very particular family in a very particular place and time. It is also a universally American story of hope in the face of defeat. Suffused with a tragic sense of humor and deep pathos, one can't help but think of Willy Loman with a Texas twang when reading Run, Brother, Run." (Jon Meacham)

"Searing, funny, heartbreaking—and true. Berg’s tale of a brother’s murder, miscarried justice, and savage Texas suburban family life kept me riveted from the first page.” (Marie Brenner author of Apples and Oranges)

“Having interviewed surviving witnesses, lawyers, and family, he reconstructs the short life of his reckless brother and tells about his own coming-of-age in a brutally frank family memoir that will attract readers of true crime” (Book List)

"An engrossing family history and an appealingly salacious tale, related in a bemused tone that does not hide the social ugliness and personal heartbreak underneath." (Kirkus)

"Berg writes with brio, vividly sketching the roughhouse atmosphere of oil-boom Houston in the 1960s, and the obstacles that faced a pair of liberal, Jewish brothers in the segregated South. While he is often funny, and rarely politically correct, Berg also delivers a complex take on family dynamics and the ways in which intelligent people can be deceived." (Publisher’s Weekly)

"Run, Brother, Run is a fascinating look at a Texas family's history, written in darkly humorous, direct and powerful prose. Trial lawyers are known for being smooth talkers, but Berg proves himself a graceful writer as well." (MSN Page-turner)

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Customer Reviews

It is a story of love, loss, shame, grief, and family.
Sandy
It is well written and a book that I would recommend to my book club and other friends.
Amazon Customer
Mr. Berg wrote from his heart, yet in an articulate, easy-to-follow writing style.
meta strauss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Beluga13 on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As I read this book, I was fascinated by the way that Berg breaks down the case of his brother's murder from both the perspective of a man who has lost his beloved big brother to a horrific murder as well as from the perspective of someone who is a skilled attorney who understands the intricacies of the judicial system. I also appreciated Berg's humor, which is woven throughout the book, and his intriguing descriptions about life in rough-and-tumble Houston and trying a case before the US Supreme Court. And the first President Bush even makes an appearance (before he was president). Read it!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terri on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Berg's memoir manages to tickle one's funny bone just as it stops tugging at one's heartstrings, which makes for a surprising and delightful read. Mr. Berg peels back the once-hidden layers of a childhood as the younger son in a dysfunctional family, and what for me would be family secrets too painful to repeat, Mr. Berg forges ahead. What is remarkable is that the reader is left in those darkest places -- academic cheating, attempted suicide, marital infidelity, murder -- for only as long as it takes the author to strike another match with his unparalleled wit. This touching memoir has the elements of a well-told crime story, a riveting courtroom drama, a history of rough & wild Houston in the 1960s, and an unflinching examination of a family gone haywire, while remaining devoid of self-pity and excuse. I could not put it down. Bravo to David Berg for daring to take his readers on this very personal journey.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Nathan on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Courts of law may acquit a person of crimes but courts of public opinion and private opinion are not limited or bound by such acquittals. Families and friends of crime victims are entitled to express their own suspicions and condemnations of guilt. The author has done so. Sometimes with a heavy heart and sometimes with a light heart but at all times masterfully.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jlt on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Berg's book has all the elements of a fantastic read, murder, intrigue and humor. The brutal honesty with which he writes is both surprising and refreshing. I could not put this book down. It is a great read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cary B. Barad on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A heart-wrenching "true crime" story of an eccentric but likeable middle class family with close but complicated relationships who lose a grown son at the hands of a brutal murderer and contract killer--whom the author identifies as none other than Woody Harrelson's father. The writing is fluent and perceptive. It keeps you glued to the page as you learn of long suppressed family secrets, scummy lawyers, quirky witnesses, humorous interludes, unrelenting sorrow and tragedy. The legal machinations and judicial proceedings of the Texas courts are well-told and add to a building sense of suspense and outrage. As an added thought, this book would have had an even greater impact had it included some relevant photographs of the family members, judges, criminals, lawyers etc. Even in their absence, however, it remains "Highly Recommended".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By flamama on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Run, Brother, Run must have been painful to write but is certainly fascinating to read. It is a well written and organized treatise on how a dysfunctional but well-meaning family can get caught up in a tragedy they helped to create, and the legal system in Texas at the time. It kept me reading well beyond my bedtime. I hope the author found some closure in the writing of his family's story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Brooks on July 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was interested in the book because I live near Houston and near where the incident happened, but it was so much more. It was written so well I could not put it down and I shared my thoughts with friends who also loved the book. In reading the book I felt I came to know the family and feel the heartbreak David felt. It was as good as any mystery novel I've read and I read many. I will be haunted by the knowledge that it was true and not fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Pridmore on June 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Run, Brother, Run has everything necessary for a must-read: deeply complex characters, colorful language, humor, wit, and of course, intrigue. Mr. Berg tells the heart wrenching story of the dissolution of his family and murder of his brother in such a way that you find yourself both acutely feeling his pain and laughing with the author simultaneously.
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