Another really hard book to read at times, but getting through it was important and it offers another much needed look at how screwed up the American justice system is and how racism is a large part why. Unlike The New Jim Crow, takes more of a personal approach and highlights specific cases and stories through the eyes of a lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson.
While the framing of this book makes it harder to read at times, I think it does a better job of really explaining the effects of racism still lingering in our country and justice system. Even I catch myself thinking of the injustices of slavery and the Jim Crow era as being distant, but this book does a good job of pointing out people that have been in prison for decades because of “crimes” that were committed in those times.
I have not seen the movie version of this book yet, but I imagine it only really focuses on the story and case of Walter McMillian. I enjoyed the book because while the details of his case are awful in their own right, Stevenson’s inclusion of so many other cases he handles as well as personal experiences as a Black lawyer, really drive home how flawed our justice system and racial inequality is in America.
I’m glad to learn of all the cases that Stevenson and EJI have already been able to overturn, but the stories of those that were not as fortunate are just as powerful in this book. This is a massive problem, and Stevenson and others shouldn’t have to keep fighting these cases in court when most of the convictions and sentencing shouldn’t happen in the first place.
Like I said, I haven’t watched the movie, and I’m sure it’s good, but I think this book is a must read for a lot of people and think it will further open your eyes to the injustice in our US “justice” system.