Dead Man Walking
An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
By Helen Prejean
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9780679751311, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 31, 1994
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Out of that dreadful intimacy comes a profoundly moving spiritual journey through our system of capital punishment. Here Sister Helen confronts both the plight of the condemned and the rage of the bereaved, the fears of a society shattered by violence and the Christian imperative of love. On its original publication in 1993, "Dead Man Walking" emerged as an unprecedented look at the human consequences of the death penalty. Now, some two decades later, this story--which has inspired a film, a stage play, an opera and a musical album--is more gut-wrenching than ever, stirring deep and life-changing reflection in all who encounter it.
"Deeply moving...Sister Prejean is an excellent writer, direct and honest and unsentimental; her accounts of crime and punishment are gripping, and her argument is persuasive.... She almost palpably extends a hand to her readers." —The New York Times Book Review
"Destined to become the most influential anti-capital punishment statement since Albert Camus wrote' Reflections on the Guillotine ' in 1957.... This unblinking book about the deliberate killing of human beings refuses to turn a blind eye to the sins of the murderers--be they prisoners or prison officials. The author, Sister Helen Prejean, is a Roman Catholic nun who has lived and worked with poor black families in New Orleans. Walking explores her personal and spiritual evolution into both a death penalty opponent and victims advocate, an evolution that begins when she serves as the spiritual advisor to two condemned men." —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." —Bill McKibben