Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

86%

19 Critic Reviews

...the author’s experience with the flaws in the American justice system add extra gravity to a deeply disturbing and oft-overlooked topic.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

#1 New York Times Bestseller | 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
 
Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction | Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction | Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award | Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize | Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize | An American Library Association Notable Book

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
 
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.
 
Praise for Just Mercy
 
“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
 
“Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”—John Grisham
 
“Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Bryan Stevenson

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BRYAN STEVENSON is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Since graduating from Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, he has secured relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has won numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant. He is also on the faculty of New York University Law School.

Author Residence: Montgomery, Alabama/New York
 
Published October 21, 2014 by Spiegel & Grau. 354 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Crime, Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Just Mercy
All: 19 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 05 2014

A distinguished NYU law professor and MacArthur grant recipient offers the compelling story of the legal practice he founded to protect the rights of people on the margins of American society...One of Stevenson’s first and most significant cases involved a black man named Walter McMillian...Emotionally profound, necessary reading.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Sep 29 2014

...the author’s experience with the flaws in the American justice system add extra gravity to a deeply disturbing and oft-overlooked topic.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by TED CONOVER on Oct 17 2014

The message of this book, hammered home by dramatic examples of one man’s refusal to sit quietly and countenance horror, is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. “Just Mercy” will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Dec 09 2014

...Stevenson’s book moved me because of his obviously brilliant mind, his bottomless compassion for the underdog and his successful championing of justice on so many fronts.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Steve Weinberg on Dec 09 2014

...Stevenson’s book moved me because of his obviously brilliant mind, his bottomless compassion for the underdog and his successful championing of justice on so many fronts.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Raymond Bonner on Feb 06 2015

Just Mercy is as deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty, and the failures of the administration of criminal justice...He just tells stories, real stories — some of which will make you gasp at the inhumanity of humankind.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Rob Warden on Oct 23 2014

His memoir should find an avid audience among players in the legal system — jurists, prosecutors, defense lawyers, legislators, academics, journalists — and especially anyone contemplating a career in criminal justice.

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BookPage

Above average
Reviewed by Edward Morris on Nov 01 2014

Although Stevenson writes in a calm, deliberate style, there are passages here so harrowing and outrage-provoking that sensitive readers may need to set the book aside periodically until they can clear their minds of the foul images it conjures up.

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Irish Times

Good
Reviewed by Brian Maye on Feb 27 2016

This powerful book is a damning indictment of the US “justice” system, which has the world’s highest rate of incarceration.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Vanessa Bush on Aug 15 2016

A passionate account of the ways our nation thwarts justice and inhumanely punishes the poor and disadvantaged.

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Luxury Reading

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin on Feb 20 2015

After reading this book, I feel challenged to view the lives of others and their choices, poor as they may be, with more empathy. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy insight into the human condition and even more so if your life’s work intersects with causes related to the law or justice.

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https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Edward Morris on Aug 15 2016

Although Stevenson writes in a calm, deliberate style, there are passages here so harrowing and outrage-provoking that sensitive readers may need to set the book aside periodically until they can clear their minds of the foul images it conjures up. Anyone animated by a modicum of fairness will recognize Just Mercy as a de facto call to arms.

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Readings

Good
Reviewed by Natalie Platten on Jul 22 2015

Stevenson’s legacy is not limited to his successes in achieving landmark social justice reform but also his reputation as a crusader of mercy and compassion. A profoundly important work.

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Readings

Excellent
Reviewed by Natalie Platten on Jan 28 2015

Stevenson’s legacy is not limited to his successes in achieving landmark social justice reform but also his reputation as a crusader of mercy and compassion. A profoundly important work.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com

Good
Reviewed by Rob Warden on Oct 23 2014

It will come as no surprise to those who have heard Stevenson speak or perused any of his briefs that “Just Mercy” is an easy read — a work of style, substance and clarity.

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Jen's Book Thoughts

Good
Reviewed by Jen Forbus on Dec 23 2014

Stevenson’s deft story-telling skills will keep readers engrossed in McMillian’s fate, and his passionate dedication to the men, women and children he represents will illustrate a heart-wrenching side of the American penal system that is too often and too easily ignored.

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Words Written Down

Above average
Reviewed by Dave on Dec 23 2014

It was a well-written book from Stevenson and really a sobering read on cases of extremely unjust punishment.

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http://whimpulsive.net

Good
Reviewed by SuziQoregon on Feb 06 2015

This is not an easy book to read but it’s also not completely depressing either. Stevenson and others have made great strides in changing things. But there is much work still to be done.

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Amy's Book Obsession Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy on Sep 01 2015

His work is so important to so many people. I highly recommend this book to any and everyone. It's such an important book for all of us.

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Denise Pittman 8 Sep 2016

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