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In Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean takes the reader inside the United States' death penalty system and asks how can a society benefit from replicating the violence it condemns. In 1982, she became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, convicted of the murder of two teenagers and sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. In the course of their acquaintance, Sister Prejean came to know not only Sonnier, but also his family, the families of murder victims, and the public officials whose job it was to execute him--from the governor and the head of the Department of Corrections to the prison's warden and guards. Dead Man Walking is the story of what she discovers in the course of her experiences with Sonnier and other condemned men about the death penalty and the moral taint it casts upon our society.
Sister's Prejean's brilliant narrative has been called both "the most moving memoir of relationships with condemned men since Truman Capote's In Cold Blood" (The New Yorker) and "the most influential anti-capital punishment statement since Albert Camus wrote 'Reflections on the Guillotine' " (Washington Post Book World).
"This arresting account should do for the debate over capital punishment what the film footage from Selma and Birmingham accomplished for the civil rights movement: turn abstractions into flesh and blood. Tough, fair, bravely alive--you will not come away from this book unshaken."
"Providing a look at what really happens in the final hours of a death row inmate...Prejean takes readers to a place most will thankfully never know...adeptly probing the morality of a judicial system and a country that kills its citizens."
--The San Francisco Chronicle
"An urgent and elaborate moral argument against the death penalty....Dead Man Walking is a work of confessional literature of the very highest order, an intimate meditation on crime and punishment, life and death, justice and mercy....Prejean's argument against the death penalty draws its fire from her own fervent belief in social justice."
--The Los Angeles Times