Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States

Helen Prejean, Author Random House (NY) $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40358-6
It would be difficult to find a more powerful and moving attack on capital punishment than this plea for its abolition by a nun, member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille. Prejean was working with the poor in a New Orleans housing project in 1982 when she began corresponding with Patrick Sonnier, a convict on death row in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Before long, she had become his spiritual adviser and, while not condoning the crime of which he was convicted, spearheaded the unsuccessful attempt to have his sentence commuted. After Sonnier's execution, Prejean counseled Robert Willie, another condemned man, until he too went to the electric chair. Her well-publicized efforts on these men's behalf drew resentment from the victims' relatives, but she was sensitive to their continuing pain as well; she played a major role in setting up a victim assistance program in New Orleans. Yet Prejean remains an absolutist on the death penalty: ``Killing by anyone, under any conditions, cannot be tolerated.'' (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Glued - 304 pages - 978-0-7857-5300-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-679-75131-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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