Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection
The Instant New York Times Bestseller
A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.
“An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu
In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty–nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.
But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty–seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty–four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.
With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty–year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
What if the state convicted you to die for murders you couldn’t have committed, disregarding evidence that proves your innocence? With earnest, emotional detail, Anthony Ray Hinton tells the story of his three-decade odyssey from a wrongful conviction to a hard-won exoneration. While his powerful imagination and lighthearted disposition—along with the dedication of friends, family, and a dogged attorney—saw Hinton through, his memoir never sugarcoats the realities of death row. Despite the heaviness of his ordeal, Hinton's conversational, down-to-earth writing style kept us engaged every step of the way.
In this intense memoir, Hinton recounts his three-decade nightmare: awaiting execution for crimes he didn't commit. In 1985, Hinton, then 29, was charged with a series of violent robberies as well as the murders of two restaurant managers in Birmingham, Ala. Hinton passed a polygraph test and was in a locked warehouse during one robbery, but that didn't prevent an all-white jury from finding him guilty after only two hours (the death penalty recommendation took another 45 minutes). Hinton here provides a convincing description of continued segregation and injustice in the deep South that cages the underclass as effectively as prison walls. His depictions of prison life are wrenching, as when he recalls the 1987 electric chair execution of Wayne Ritter and how the smell of Ritter's burning flesh "burned my nose and stung my throat." Forced to hone his mind to withstand overwhelming isolation, Hinton read voraciously and studied his case. With the unwavering support of his mother and his best friend, Hinton created a fulfilling life for himself, which included running a book club for death row inmates. After many years, his dogged pursuit of justice led civil rights attorney Bryan Stephenson to adopt his cause. Hinton was freed from prison in 2015, and now works as a motivational speaker. Hinton's life is one of inspiration, which he wonderfully relays here in bitingly honest prose.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I could not stop crying.
This book is a must read for anyone who doesn’t understand the way the judicial system treats people of color in our country. Mr. Hinton spent 30 years on death row for crimes he never committed. And even though he was not put to death, those 30 years stole something equally valuable - The life he could’ve had. His lineage children he might’ve had, his relationship with his mother. All because Alabama couldn’t admit that they did wrong by him.
The fact that he came out of this horrible experience with so much hope and peace in his heart is incredible. He had true friends by his side.
At the end of the book there is a very long list of names of death row inmates. Please don’t skip over those names. Look at them, and realize that any of them could have a story like Mr. Hinton‘s.
Thank you Anthony for sharing this wonderful story. If God sent you his best lawyer, God definitely sent you to be his best writer and a source of hope and inspiration to others.
The Sun Does Shine
Inspiring book! It’s all about hope.