From the New York Times bestselling author of How the Irish Saved Civilization comes the absorbing, heartbreaking tale of the hard life and tragic death of Dominique Green—wrongly accused, then executed in Huntsville, Texas—and shines a light on our racist and deeply flawed criminal justice system.
Green, an extraordinary young man from the urban ghettos of Houston, was utterly failed by every echelon of society—the Catholic Church, numerous U.S. courts of law, and even his own mother. But from the depths of despair on Death Row, he transcended his earthly sufferings and achieved enlightenment and peace, inciting an international movement against the death penalty and inspiring his personal hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to plead publicly for mercy.
A Saint on Death Row is an unforgettable, sobering, and deeply spiritual account that illuminates the moral imperatives too often ignored in the headlong quest for judgment.
"His face has the dignity of a Benin bronze.... His countenance is suffused with an aura... goodness." This is Cahill's opening description of Dominique Green, whose life and death the bestselling author (How the Irish Saved Civilization) recounts in a distinctly hagiographic tone. Green was a young African-American executed for murder in Texas in 2004, who Cahill and many others believe was innocent and convicted in a sham trial. Cahill's "saint" Dominique suffered (among other travails, he was abused by a schizophrenic mother), sinned (he turned to drug dealing, but only, he said, to support his younger brothers) and redeemed himself in prison by educating himself and aiding his Death Row comrades, whose quoted testimony to Dominique's qualities is more convincing than Cahill's own praises. But Cahill makes Green more than saintly, a Christ-like figure ("like the peaceful Jesus of the gospels, Dominique was on the verge of... transfiguration"). Given the spiritual and literary license Cahill takes, one must read this less as a reasoned argument than an impassioned, very personal plea against racism, poverty and the death penalty.
This is one of the best books about racism in America. I have thought racism was no more, boy, was I fooling myself. The book lays bare the naked inequities that exists in our criminal justice system.