#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time, as seen in the HBO documentary True Justice
“[Bryan Stevenson’s] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country.”—John Legend
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction • Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize • An American Library Association Notable Book
“Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books
“Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
“You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review
“Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post
“As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times
“Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Reading this revelatory memoir by a lawyer who’s dedicated his career to calling out the racist underpinnings of America’s criminal justice system is equal parts devastating and inspiring. Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, introduces us to a range of clients—some guilty, others innocent—whose lives have been curtailed, or even cut short, by gross miscarriages of justice, from shoddy legal representation to outrageous sentencing guidelines for young offenders. Stevenson’s portraits of grief and anger in the face of inequity and discrimination are complicated, humane, and absolutely essential. Just Mercy will change the way you think about the law.
With a mandate to serve the poor and voiceless, Stevenson, a professor of law at New York University and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal firm providing services for the wrongly condemned, describes in his memoir how he got the call to represent this largely neglected clientele in our justice system. He notes that, with no parole in some states and a thriving private prison business that often pushes local governments to create new crimes and impose stiffer sentences, America has the world's highest incarceration rate and, at 2.3 million, its largest incarcerated population. In an early case during his career, Stevenson defended Walter McMillian, a black man from southern Alabama, who was accused by a white con-man of two murders, although the snitch had never even met him and was himself under investigation for one of the murders. Through a series of bogus legal situations, police harassment, racism, and phony testimony, McMillian found himself on Alabama's death row, fully aware of the legacy of class and race prejudice that made poor Southern blacks susceptible to wrongful imprisonment and execution. Stevenson's persistent efforts spared McMillian from that ultimate fate, and the author's experience with the flaws in the American justice system add extra gravity to a deeply disturbing and oft-overlooked topic.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book is very moving. For many who may be curious as to how some end up on the path to incarceration or even death row this book as answers to many of your questions. This book is both heartfelt and eye watering. Bryan Stevenson perfectly narrates the stories of many people who have fallen victim to an unjust justice system. While taking a look into the side of injustice involving discrimination of race and gender. The author also includes parts of his own personal injustice involving the racist Alabama police department. Adding the connection that even he himself is also a victim to the justice system.
I give this book five stars because it truly is a five star story. Steven adds so much passion into his writing it’d be impossible for him not to motivate the reader to become a lawyer for all death row inmates too. He exposes many flaws in the criminal justice system from the past and the present issues it faces today. I’ll also add that I give this book five star because it is educates many readers who are not every enlightened to the many different forms of discrimination. Racism, income, and economic ranking are just a few of the different types of discrimination discussed in this book. He expresses that just about anyone can be failed by the criminal justice system.
I’d like to give praise to the author for taking the time to shine light on so many topics that many of us choose to ignore. For opening the eyes of many readers to a reality of criminal injustice that could just as easily be ours. Also to changing the minds of many who may have believed that the death penalty was ok and now do not. There’s always three sides of every story the first side, the second side and the truth, Bryan Stevenson does a very good job at telling all three sides to every story.
Narrating as though the reader is there living the story themselves. This is such a great read, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of these you’ll never want to put it down.
Outstanding and so emotional
While you read you can’t help but put yourself in the story. You’ll cry but also smile. It’s so real and amazing!
I just made it through chapter 5 with tears streaming down my cheeks. I can tell you right now, this book will make you mad, sad, and all the emotions in between. It is written with such great detail, you start to feel like you went to law school! (I have not yet finished undergrad...so don’t feel like you need a formal education to understand.) I IMPLORE people of all races, nationality’s, backgrounds and beliefs to please read this book. It will bury its stories deep down in your soul, and leave you harvesting the fruit of its truth for years to come.