Live from Death Row

Mumia Abu-Jamal, Author, John Edgar Wideman, Introduction by Addison Wesley Publishing Company $20 (215p) ISBN 978-0-201-48319-2
A former Philadelphia radio reporter, on death row since his 1982 conviction for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer--in a flawed case he's trying to reopen--Abu-Jamal gained attention last year when National Public Radio rescinded its plan to broadcast his commentaries. This collection of brief writings, including some intended for NPR, presents a bracing challenge to complacent views about crime, race and incarceration--and surely deserved airing. ``Encased within a psychic cocoon of negativity, the bad get worse and feed on evil's offal,'' he writes, noting the irony of the term ``corrections.'' In the postindustrial age, he comments, America is the world's prison leader, and crack's devastation of black America reminds him of the impact of alcohol on Native Americans. Abu-Jamal is a radical, and while his view of the government's attacks on the Branch Davidians and on the Philadelphia radical group MOVE is appropriately skeptical, his uncritical support for Black Panther Huey Newton and MOVE may dismay even those sympathetic to his general critique. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-380-72766-7
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