Life After Death (Anglais) Relié – 18 septembre 2012
Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews “Best of 2012” nonfiction selection
—Stephanie Palumbo, O, The Oprah Magazine
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Un témoignage poignant, qui nous rappelle ce qu'écrivait La Fontaine : Que vous soyez puissant ou misérable les jugements de cour vous rendront blanc ou noir
Vraiment à lire !
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The broad range of emotions I felt while reading "Life After Death" is unlike anything I have ever experienced from written words. It was truly emotionally draining. Laughter, hate, disgust, sadness, hope, happiness, joy, wonder, amazement... Maybe it is because I have followed the case for years, read every book published, court transcripts, watched the media coverage as well as the films. I feel close to these men I have never met. You would think knowing the ending, I would not have broken down in sobs, but I did. There are many realities out there that we go through life without ever knowing...
It blew my mind that this man, that failed two grades in school, never graduated, was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 18 years, pretty much in solitary confinement could write like he does. His mind is brilliant and his writing will move you. When he writes of his love for his now wife it will melt you, when he describes his hell (prison) you will feel despair and hopelessness...
"Life After Death" is not about the case. It is about Damien's life before and during prison and just a little after being released (it went to editing only 6 months after his release from death row). It is a book that will make you want to change the prison system and leave you wondering how such an injustice could happen in America (and does on a regular basis).
Read this book! It is worth your time. It just might change your life or at the very least make you pause and wonder how you can help right such injustices. It will cause you to take notice of how very blessed you are and as Damien hopes make you aware of all the "magick" around you.
There was one paragraph towards the end of the book about an Arkansas law, that suggests they may execute a prisoner in any way they see fit. I am not sure this is an acurate statement. The US Constitution will supersede any state law that is in direct conflict with its provisions (except those specifically reserved for the states). So if there is an Arkansas state law that allows the warden to choose the method of execution, that law would be valid insofar as it does not conflict with the Constitution prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment. Such as starving an inmate to death which I belive is suggested in the chapter this law is mentioned.
I believe there was a court hearing earlier this year about the Arkansas law and that it was deemed unconstitutional. The focus of that case was on the chemicals used for executions so I am not sure if the wording lead some to think that the warden had full control over the method used. But then that is what courts are for not to write laws but to interpret them.
Into the 2nd half of the book Damien tells some prison stories about the convicts he was housed with, and things that went on while he was incarcerated. I will admit, I was worried Damien might go into graphic detail about the physical pain he endured while in prison. (Having read the letters that would be posted from him on a WM3 website while he was in jail, there was stuff he told that just made you sick to your stomach.) Don't get me wrong, he does explain how frustrating and hard it is to survive, but you're able to get through it and read on.
The book also publishes those letters that I've read through the years on the website while Damien was incarcerated.
If you are a supporter of Damien's and have read everything out there about him on the internet, along with his 1st book, you really won't learn much from this book. That's why I only gave this review 4 stars. I honestly was hoping the book would go into more detail about all the legal stuff he went through while in prison. He does say he let his wife Lorri handle all that stuff. I think a book by Lorri and everything she's been through since meeting Damien would be fascinating.
I'm going to assume that since Almost Home is no longer in print, Damien wanted to make sure all his supporters had the opportunity to learn about his life growing up. With that said, I could not put this book down once I started reading it. Damien has a gift to write, and I thoroughly enjoy what he puts on paper. I recommend eveyrone who has any interest in this case, or who support Damien please read this book.
Also, on a personal level, if you know anyone who thinks their lives are bad, buy them a copy of this book. They will read it and realize that things could be so much worse in life!
Everything I knew about Damien had been what I saw in documentaries or read from other authors. To learn about his childhood, and it's aftermath, in his own words, felt deeply personal and I could not put this (Kindle) book down. I was struck at how eloquent and well spoken Damien is, and he's what I would call a natural story teller. He's clearly a complex, intelligent, and spirited man, who has suffered many life challenges, both pre-trial, and most certainly post-trial.
Using a compassionate voice, full of introspection, Damien shares stories of his life, from the horrible, to the humorous. I appreciated that Damien didn't dive into the details of the trial, as the end of the book contains a fairly inclusive exploration of the evidence/trial, convictions, and 2011 release.
This memoir is one that will stay with you, after you read the last page.
I became aware of his ghastly plight in 2010, while watching an episode of 48 Hrs. on CBS. My wife and I were fully prepared to sneer at the woman (Lorri Davis) who had married the child-killer (Damien Nichols) behind bars; how sad, how gross, how utterly pathetic. After all, he and two others had been thoroughly convicted in a court of law of carrying out one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Surely, those who wear a law enforcement badge and carry a gavel and 12 jurors would know what's best and who's really guilty, right?
However, by the end of the program we were both gasping out loud and practically screaming at our television set: what an ungodly nightmare! Is this really happening, in our country?! Can't anyone with half a brain cell figure out that THESE GUYS DIDN'T DO IT?!
Horrified, but energized, I dove for my computer, looking up anything and everything devoted to the case. I went over every single court document that is available online. I listened to hours of recorded testimony. I read "Devil's Knot" and watched both Paradise Lost documentaries in slack-jawed horror. I told anyone who would listen about the case, and quickly learned that there were so many more who were as outraged as I. Not given to causes, per se, I was surprised to find myself wearing a "Free The West Memphis 3" t-shirt, and was asked about it wherever I went.
The unacceptable horror, for me, was not just that there was (and is) a real killer on the loose who has yet to pay for their crimes, but that three young men were literally rotting in jail for something they clearly did not do. I felt that in some small way, spreading the word both in person and on the Internet would somehow keep hope alive. Fast forward to 2011, when news broke that a possible deal had been reached that could set these innocent men free. When I first saw the news on CNN I literally lost the ability to speak clearly for several minutes; it took awhile before my wife could even understand what news I was trying to relate!
I have been watching them as closely I can since their release, from a respectful distance. How I'd love to smother them with congratulations in person, but ultimately it is THEIR victory, not ours. I can never know the true horror of what they endured, but Damien's book brought me disturbingly close to what it must have been like.
How frightening it is to contemplate that such an interesting, funny, thoughtful and sensitive writer was nearly snuffed out by a crazed justice system. It is obvious from the earliest portions of his story that Damien has a writer's mind and eye; his ability to pull the reader fully under his own skin- if only for a moment- is uncanny. You might find yourself punching unfortunate nearby inanimate objects as his tale of misfortune unfolds- at least, I certainly did, as one maddening injustice follows another. You might find yourself welling up with tears- as I did, while he explains (with poetic intensity) his love of Charlie Brown holiday specials- how safe and joyous they made him feel as a youth. I suspect and I pray that the same good-hearted, sensitive young lad that he describes is still very much with us, despite all the hardship and trauma he has endured. His book seems to be profound evidence of that.
Echols is an uneducated and not particularly sophisticated guy and yet he is definitely a talented writer. The book seethes with his anger, agony and frustration (amply justified) but there is also a simplistic approach to it - all the good guys are very good and all the bad guys are bad to the core. I think this lessens the impact of what is still a powerful story. I also think the book could have been pulled together better - it ranges from memories of childhood to glimpses into the legal issues and many many pages of shocking stories of prison life. (It is those prison stories that keep you reading.) But I found it too disconnected. Nevertheless it is a powerful book (great picture on the cover BTW).
The case is not over - he and his two friends are free but they have not been fully cleared. They have a lot of media support and hopefully the legal issues will be resolved. Echols is like a fish out of water right now - free but not cleared and forced to stay in the public eye despite his basic reclusive nature in order to keep the case alive. He is undoubtedly a very strong person to survive his incredible death row years. I hope he finds some closure and peace in his life and am very happy that he has such a devoted wife and so many supporters.