A powerful, bold true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix America's broken system of justice - from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The prison population has increased from 300,000 in the early 1970s to more than two million now. One in every 15 people is expected to go to prison. For black men, the most incarcerated group in America, this figure rises to one out of every three.
Bryan Stevenson grew up a member of a poor black community in the racially segregated South. He 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 the US's criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young black 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, startling racial inequality, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted lawyer's coming of age, a moving portrait of the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.
'Bryan Stevenson is America's young Nelson Mandela - a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all.'
-Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate
'Our American criminal justice system has become an instrument of evil. Bryan Stevenson has laboured long and hard, and with great skill and temperate passion, to set things right. Words such as important and compelling may have lost their force through overuse, but reading this book will restore their meaning, along with one's hopes for humanity.'
-Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Mountains Beyond Mountains
'Just Mercy is every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . It demonstrates, as powerfully as any book on criminal justice that I've ever read, the extent to which brutality, unfairness, and racial bias continue to infect criminal law in the United States. But at the same time that Bryan Stevenson tells an utterly damning story of deep-seated and widespread injustice, he also recounts instances of human compassion, understanding, mercy, and justice that offer hope . . . Just Mercy is a remarkable amalgam, at once 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