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Among the Lowest of the Dead

The Culture of Capital Punishment

David Von Drehle

Publication Year: 2006

Thorough and unbiased, Among the Lowest of the Dead is a gripping narrative that provides an unprecedented journalistic look into the actual workings of the capital punishment system. "Has all the tension of the best true crime stories . . . This is journalism at its best." --Library Journal "A compelling argument against capital punishment. . . . Examining politicians, judges (including Supreme Court Justices), prosecutors, defense attorneys and the condemned themselves, the author makes an effective case that, despite new laws, execution is no less a lottery than it has always been." --Publishers Weekly "In a fine and important book, Von Drehle writes elegantly and powerfully. . . . Anyone certain of their opinion about the death penalty ought to read this book." -- Booklist "An extremely well-informed and richly insightful book of great value to students of the death penalty as well as intelligent general readers with a serious interest in the subject, Among the Lowest of the Dead is also exciting reading. The book is an ideal guide for new generations of readers who want to form knowledgeable judgments in the continuing--and recently accelerating--controversies about capital punishment." --Anthony Amsterdam, New York University "Among the Lowest of the Dead is a powerfully written and meticulously researched book that makes an invaluable contribution to the growing public dialogue about capital punishment in America. It's one of those rare books that bridges the gap between mass audiences and scholarly disciplines, the latter including sociology, political science, criminology and journalism. The book is required reading in my Investigative Journalism classes--and my students love it!" --David Protess, Northwestern University "Among The Lowest of the Dead deserves a permanent place in the literature as literature, and is most relevant to today's death penalty debate as we moderate advocates and abolitionists search for common ground." --Robert Blecker, New York Law School David Von Drehle is Senior Writer, The Washington Post and author of Triangle: The Fire that Changed America.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

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I. Loose the Fateful Lightning

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pp. 1-116

On Florida's death row, in the bloom time of spring, grimy windows beyond the cell bars glow with the beauty of freedom, and reminders of the living world stream through in a ceaseless taunt. Sunshine teases but doesn't touch the men...

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II. Dancing on the Head of a Pin

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pp. 119-301

The breakfast carts rattle through the concrete prison at about half past five, and as they approach death row the first sounds of morning repeat the last sounds of night-remote- controlled locks clanking open and clunking closed, electric gates...

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III. A Failure of Execution

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pp. 303-419

Some 230 people lived on Florida's death row by 1986-several had been there a dozen years. Their fate was the subject of political campaigns and judicial seminars and angry letters to the editor. But somehow the whole vast, chaotic enterprise of...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 421-

This book would not have been written without the support, instruction, and encouragement of many people. First, my friends and teachers at The Miami Herald. In the pages and on the expense accounts of that fine newspaper, I was allowed to

Sources

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pp. 423-449

Index

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pp. 451-469


E-ISBN-13: 9780472026982
E-ISBN-10: 0472026984
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472031238
Print-ISBN-10: 0472031236

Page Count: 496
Illustrations: 3 B&W
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Law, Meaning, and Violence

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Subject Headings

  • Death row -- United States.
  • Executions and executioners -- United States.
  • Death row inmates -- United States.
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