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Willow in a Storm: A Memoir Paperback – September 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scarletta Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097652015X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976520153
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,615,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Early on, Taylor somberly informs his readers that "most men do not survive four decades of incarceration," a foreboding revelation that sets the stage for this riveting life story. An unflinching examination of his crime-a bank robbery and homicide committed at age 30-and his resulting conviction, incarceration, spiritual growth and eventual emancipation 40 years later, this tale proves emotional, forthright and inspirational. Writing with the help of his wife, the halfway-house counselor he met after his release from prison at age 70, Taylor looks back without self-pity or regret, making the casual cruelty he endures and his straightforward survival strategies all the more chilling. Smart, determined and hopeful, Taylor makes use of his prison days learning the law and helping out his fellow inmates, "so they would not turn on me while I slept." Also resonant are murky scenes of a painful adolescence spent with an emotionally abusive father, his only adult accomplices-beloved Uncle Louis and Grandma Taylor-having succumbed to early deaths. That Taylor eventually finds peace, going so far as to "thank God for confinement because it gave me time to change," speaks to the enormous heart of this honest, affecting account.
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Review

"An unflinching examination of his crime—a bank robbery and homicide committed at age 30—and his resulting conviction, incarceration, spiritual growth and eventual emancipation 40 years later, this tale proves emotional, forthright and inspirational...Taylor looks back without self-pity or regret, making the
casual cruelty he endures and his straightforward survival strategies all the more chilling." — Publisher's Weekly

"A compelling tale of crime, punishment, and redemption. Taylor's raw memoir exposes both the terrible injustices of an inhumane prison system and the power love can wield in its midst." — Minneapolis Quarterly Observer

"I was stunned by Willow in a Storm… This harrowing and inspiring story [is told] with class, directness and honesty." —Sister Helen Prejean, anti-death penalty activist and author of Dead Man Walking

"The story at the heart of Willow in a Storm is compelling—a window onto a world that many people have never considered." —Laura Stemple, former Executive Director, Stop Prison Rape

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Customer Reviews

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"Willow in a Storm" is the story of James Peter Taylor in its entirety.
Midwest Book Review
I by chance met Kathleen and Jim at their book reading and knew I was in the presence of a powerful, spiritual, loving man.
Rosemary
I found Willow in a Storm a most compelling memoir from beginning to end.
MZM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Harrison on December 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Parts of this book are very compelling. The story is good, the writing is somewhat lacking. There are too many details, names etc. that take away from the flow. Mr taylor's life leading up to prison was not as interesting to me as his actual life in prison. I felt like I was being jerked in and out of the story line. There were areas of this story that made you want to get to the next page and there were areas that made you want to skip a page. It is hard to explain, however, in spite of the numerous detours and digressions, I would probably read it again.
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Format: Paperback
James Peter Taylor's memoir, Willow in a Storm, attests to the incredible strength required to weather the stream of injustices launched at him over and over again through decades of incarceration. First arrested in 1950 for impersonating an FBI agent to retain the privilege of keeping his date out late, Taylor began a series of petty crimes that resulted in repeated confinements until his spree spiraled into the unthinkable: murder. Though he never intended to commit such a heinous crime, events transpired which resulted in Taylor taking the life of a banker in a botched robbery attempt. His case became the springboard for one man's political career, and Taylor was subsequently imprisoned for the maximum length of time possible. Attempts at parole were repeatedly denied through strategic maneuvering on the part of prison officials.

Willow in a Storm chronicles Taylor's life, from his earliest memories through his time spent in various correctional facilities, to his current state of affairs. While he repeats many times that his early life events are not justification for his criminal behavior, he does try to explain the various reasons he feels contributed to his precarious behavior. In his twenties, he began a pattern of using women and throughout his life, left a trail of failed marriages and fatherless children behind.

Taylor's prison years detail the various forms of abuse inflicted upon him by fellow inmates, as well as guards. He gives the reader an intensive tour of an inmate's daily regime and the constant threats faced. An important fact the author notes is that only three percent of those given life sentences actually complete those sentences to be released. The rest die of natural causes or more likely become victims of prison violence.
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Format: Paperback
Once in awhile, the rehabilitation system does work - but never without cost. "Willow in a Storm" is the story of James Peter Taylor in its entirety. A man whose life started off well enough, once a star sports star as a child his life quickly fell into turmoil as a psychological backlash against his childhood abuse. His life spirals into an unintentional murder of a banker, which lands him in prison for forty years - a life sentence where he was set to die there. And he almost did, twice, one of those attempts leaving him blind. Somehow, he survives, finds inspiration, and makes a better person of himself. He's paroled, and now reveals his life story and all the turbulence and triumph that spilled from it. "Willow in a Storm" is a conflicting yet enthralling life story from the first page to the last, and is highly recommended for community library memoir shelves.
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