a lawyer's reflections on dealing with the death penalty

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews



America's leading writer about the law takes a close, incisive look at one of society's most vexing legal issues

Scott Turow is known to millions as the author of peerless novels about the troubling regions of experience where law and reality intersect. In "real life," as a respected criminal lawyer, he has been involved with the death penalty for more than a decade, including successfully representing two different men convicted in death-penalty prosecutions. In this vivid account of how his views on the death penalty have evolved, Turow describes his own experiences with capital punishment from his days as an impassioned young prosecutor to his recent service on the Illinois commission which investigated the administration of the death penalty and influenced Governor George Ryan's unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 164 death row inmates on his last day in office. Along the way, he provides a brief history of America's ambivalent relationship with the ultimate punishment, analyzes the potent reasons for and against it, including the role of the victims' survivors, and tells the powerful stories behind the statistics, as he moves from the Governor's Mansion to Illinois' state-of-the art 'super-max' prison and the execution chamber.

This gripping, clear-sighted, necessary examination of the principles, the personalities, and the politics of a fundamental dilemma of our democracy has all the drama and intellectual substance of Turow's celebrated fiction.


About Scott Turow

See more books from this Author
Scott Turow is the author of nine best-selling works of fiction including Innocent, Presumed Innocent and The Burden of Proof, and two non-fiction books including One L, about his experience as a law student. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages, sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into film and television projects. He frequently contributes essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Playboy, and The Atlantic.
Published August 24, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 180 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Crime, Professional & Technical, Law & Philosophy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

But in 2000, when the governor of Illinois appointed a commission, including Turow, to investigate the state’s capital-justice system, it was a moment of truth: “No more dodging my conscience, no more mouthing liberal pieties while secretly hoping some conservative showed up to talk hard-nosed re...

| Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

But when another man later confessed to the killing, the county prosecutors stubbornly refused for years to accept the man's confession, even after DNA evidence made him the killer and excluded Hernandez.

Feb 01 2004 | Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Turow brings his experience as a practicing attorney to this thoughtful meditation on the nature, peril and efficacy of the death penalty.

| Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...

Book Reporter

In January of 2003, Illinois Governor George Ryan commuted the death sentences of every resident of death row in his state.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...

Entertainment Weekly

In January 2000, Illinois governor George Ryan -- disturbed by the number of death-row inmates being exonerated -- halted all executions and recruited a reform panel that included Turow, the lawyer author of twisty legal thrillers like ''Presumed Innocent.'' Instead of churning out pathos and...

Sep 26 2003 | Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...

The Best Reviews

Legal thriller author Scott Turow served as a former federal prosecutor, a death penalty appellate lawyer, and on former Illinois Governor Ryan's Commission on Capital Punishment.

Oct 01 2003 | Read Full Review of ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT : a lawye...


An aggregated and normalized score based on 42 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review