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Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated [Paperback]

by Dave Eggers, Lola Vollen, Scott Turow
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 25, 2005 1932416234 978-1932416237 First edition (presumed; no earlier dates stated)
On September 30, 2003, Calvin was declared innocent and set free from Angola State Prison, after serving 22 years for a crime he did not commit. Like many other exonerees, Calvin experienced a new world that was not open to him. Hitting the streets without housing, money, or a change of clothes, exonerees across America are released only to fend for themselves. In the tradition of Studs Terkel's oral histories, this book collects the voices and stories of the exonerees for whom life — inside and out — is forever framed by extraordinary injustice

Frequently Bought Together

Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated + Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong + Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right
Price for all three: $38.00

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Product Details

  • Series: Voice of Witness
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's; First edition (presumed; no earlier dates stated) edition (November 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932416234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932416237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening, anxiety inducing, and necessary February 23, 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone who has their doubts about the justice system in this country. As an American citizen we're taught to have faith in our government -- local, state, etc.-- and that things like wrongful conviction only happen in the movies or to someone who happens to look strikingly like the perpetrator and was in the vicinity of the crime when it occured. Thirteen innocent individuals spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit. They had significant portions of their lives ripped away by the state and it's cronies with a desire to punish the person responsible, they just felt that the person responsible was........anyone really. Case closed, next!

Don't get me wrong, the justice system, as any system, is fallible, but I was not aware of its malevolence. The tactics used by those who "serve and protect" to coerce false confessions and identifications -- even from a 13 year-old rape victim-- to "get their man" is the most disturbing facet of the book. Beverly Monroe was convicted of murdering her companion after the death was ruled a suicide by the coroner's dept. Through the assistance of a state police agent she was manipulated and dare I say, forced into confessing to a murder that wasn't even a murder, and subsequently spent seven years in prison.

The book is very well put together, through it's various appendices it offers statistics about the plague of wrongful convictions in the past few decades and the rise in exonerations through DNA eveidence, along with case studies and legal documentation. In summation, this book is a must read for everyone who cares about their rights as a citizen. It illuminates the problems underlying the American justice and legal systems with a white light in hopes that we'll notice the glare.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surviving Justice May 19, 2006
Format:Paperback
Once this book is started, it is nearly impossible to put it down. It is a "must" read for everyone who lives in the USA. Technically it is an easy read, but emotionally it is a roller coaster as we track people who were wrongfully incarcerated, some for many years, to the time that they were exonerated. As a person who is closely associated with the criminal justice system, I recommend that this book be read by all lawyers, police investigators and by forensic pathologists. It may change your outlook on the death penalty and the validity of the "presumption of innocense". When you finish this book you will bless the day that DNA evidence came into existance and become thankful for those who never lose faith in a wrongly convicted.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Interested in hearing (in first person) the stories (always painful, sometimes truly horrific) of those whom our legal system has failed? The foreword by Scott Turow provides an honest and compelling account of the increasing numbers of individuals for whom jurisprudence in this country is lost in illegal arrest procedures, faulty investigations, less than credible witnesses, inaccurate forensic evidence, unconstitutional treatment, and lynch-style trial proceedings in order to secure convictions.

The stories in this book of the men and women who were wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit will force you to question why our legal system is "flailing and failing" so many individuals.

All of us can glean much wisdom from this book, as most of these individuals believed {as we do} that "it can never happen to me."

Michelle Monroe
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!! Bowled Over November 22, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me add my words to the chorus of praise that accompanies this amazing, engrossing, infuriating book. Thirteen people slammed into prison due to poor or nearly nonexistent defense, overzealous prosecution, junk science and cockeyed local politics tell their stories as oral history. The narrators talk in the first person and range through the socioeconomic spectrum from a semi-nomadic, illiterate Puerto Rican immigrant to a well salaried professional engaged in research at a large corporation.

Their testimony is not always grammatical, but it is articulate, even eloquent. These persons spent completely unnecessary terms in prison ranging from three years to 25 years, and they most likely would still be there if not for DNA testing and the patient work of the Innocence Project, which specializes in such cases.

How dare we feel superior to 19th-Century fictive prisoners like the Count of Monte Cristo or Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)? Right here in the USA, these our fellow citizens have suffered torturous police interrogations, brutal guards, inedible food, nonexistent or poor medical care, indifferent "justice" bureaucracies and predatory inmate populations. For no reason whatsoever. Even the luckiest and best-situated of these people were bankrupted by expensive DNA testing, their lives interrupted in young adulthood or middle age, with little if any money compensation given to them on the way out.

In my opinion this is THE book to start with regarding innocent convicts, but there are other good ones, too, particularly ACTUAL INNOCENCE by the three men most associated with The Innocence Project. Truly, it is frightening what can happen here in this country with our alleged "bias toward defendants." Basically the authorities railroaded people when and how they pleased with no regard to consequences. And it has stayed that way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I am a supporter of the death penalty. However, this book was very interesting in that it discusses safeguards that should be put in place so that innocent persons are not put to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by dlambe3
4.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening and tragic story of injustice
What an eye-opening novel! Before reading Surviving Justice, I was blind to all the flaws in the justice system and all the horrors of prison. Read more
Published on January 7, 2012 by VictoriaElizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is a compilation of stories from a few who were wrongly convicted and later exonerated. The stories are extremely interesting and are transcribed from interviews. Read more
Published on September 4, 2011 by Grace's Mama
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening and wrenching
When I was a kid, I thought the worst thing that could ever happen to me would be to be thrown into prison. I'm glad I didn't read this book as a kid, or I'd have moved to Sweden. Read more
Published on March 22, 2011 by Alfred J. Neuman
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-wrenching and vital
Surviving Justice is a necessary read for all Americans. As Americans, we are raised to believe that the American justice system is the best in the world. Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by .tiM
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Presented & Thought Provoking
Initially I purchased this book due to my appreciation of the writing style of Dave Eggers. While Eggers is only an editor/compiler, what is presented to the reader is a very well... Read more
Published on January 1, 2011 by arrow89
4.0 out of 5 stars "Innocent until proven guilty" makes a great sound-bite...
...but it's a myth. Are most people accused of crimes in fact guilty? Yes, they are. However, enough people slip through the cracks that this is a serious problem that is in... Read more
Published on December 26, 2010 by B.W.
5.0 out of 5 stars It happens all the time: "Justice" system executes innocent people
It happens all the time: "Justice" system executes innocent people,

who are built cases to and made guilty... Read more
Published on October 10, 2009 by Jason Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars the tip of the iceberg
This powerful study adds more evidence to the unfortunate truth that many innocent persons are wrongly convicted, sometimes by prosecutors who hide the evidence that would lead to... Read more
Published on July 21, 2007 by Lewis M. Weinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping, heart wrenching first hand accounts of innocent convicts
This should be compulsory reading for all jurists, and citzenship-seeking immigrants, and, well, everyone. Read more
Published on March 23, 2007 by ivy7496
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