Both reviews posted before mine summed up the opposing views I had/have of the book, the film, and the Rubin Carter story. I bought Lazarus... in Canada this summer, and was moved by the story and the apparently sage-like tower of strength at its centre (a la the second review). Curious, I then went on the net and did some e-digging and (as per review one), found out a whole other side to the story, as well as some fairly sour epilogues. So, who to believe? Is there a single truth anyway? I am now more curious about the whole thing, and will certainly not trust the web based sources any more than this, or any other, existing book on the Carter case. And most definitely not the film. As to the Lazarus... book itself, the story gathers momentum well. However, the Canadians come across as dreadfully patronising and worthy, which is a rotten thing to say given that they obviously have done good works. But, as a reader, their apparent missionary-like condescension to Lazarus and the other working class blacks made me feel queasy at points. The language used in the text gives away the underlying cultural values, particularly the cringeful attempts to express Lazarus' direct speech in phonetic form (while Whitey, of course, speaks in textbook English). Or maybe they just aren't such good writers.
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What a story! Well written and paced. Biggest problem with the book is that 'the canadians' come across as being somewhat self-important. "lazarus" takes a back seat as the story with Rubin Carter unfolds which is a shame as he takes up most of the first half of the book. All in all though, a well written book concerning a topic of major importance. Rubin Carter comes across as a very strong and wise man. A triumph for justice.
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published in 1991 by "the Canadians," a group of people who befriended Carter and dedicated themselves to his release. This book has persuaded a lot of people that Carter and Artis were deliberately framed with forgeries and perjured evidence. But the book is extremely slanted in its presentation of the facts of the case. For example, the prosecution believed that the Lafayette Grill murders were a revenge slaying for the murder of a black bartender by a white man, earlier that evening. The Canadians only say the black bartender was "a black man (Carter and Artis) did not know (who) had been killed by a white man they had never heard of in another Paterson bar earlier that night," implying that Carter and Artis had zero connection or reason to be interested in Leroy Holloway's murder. What they don't tell you is that Leroy Holloway was the stepfather of Eddie Rawls, a good friend of Carter's. Rawls and Carter were seen together that night, after Holloway was murdered and before the Lafayette Grill murders. There's a lot of holes in the Canadians' theory that Detective Vince DeSimone forged evidence to mess up Carter's alibi. They suggested that the getaway car was a Monaco, not a Polara like Carter drove. And what about the mysterious cabdriver they found who said he saw Carter at the Nite Spot nightclub at the same time the murders took place - who is he, why has he never been identified or come forward?? etc etc... Turns out that the evidence for these theories isn't as solid as the Canadians make it out to be. They don't tell you the whole story behind Alfred Bello and the New York Times, either. For some reason, the Canadians decided that you didn't need to know the whole story.Read more ›
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
A Nice Complimentary Read To "The Hurricane"1 Feb. 2000
taking a rest
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If you have already completed "Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey Of Rubin Carter" by James S. Hirsch, PLEASE do not let that stop you from reading this book as well. I read the newer book first, and I look forward to finding a copy of "The Sixteenth Round" by Mr. Carter. Friday January 21, 2000, Larry King hosted the following group on his show; Rubin Carter, Lesra Martin, Denzel Washington, Judge Sarokin, Former Talk-Show Host Michael Douglas, and Attorney Gerry Spence. It was a tremendous show, and if you missed it, find out when it will be run again, you will not be disappointed. One of the issues they all agreed upon was that 2 hours of film couldn't tell a life story. I recommend this book on the same theory. I also have seen the movie, and recommend it as well. I wrote extensively on the previous book but there are a couple of points this book noted that ranged from interesting to the pathetic. Lesra's Father was the Lead Singer for the group The Del Vikings when they performed on The Ed Sullivan show many years ago. The "Canadians" at Rubin's request, and with his help, were instrumental in having the case of, Sam Leslie "The Rose", overturned as well. Lesra graduated with honors from The University Of Toronto, went on to earn his Master's Degree, and then his license to practice law in 1997. There have been comments made about the "Canadians" that are less than flattering, and I claim no special knowledge, but some of the facts are these. They brought Lesra along to where he is today, and he certainly worked very hard for all he accomplished. There were 2 additional young people the Canadians helped, Walter a friend of Lesra's, and a young woman from England who had moved to Toronto. They dedicated themselves financially, and a great number of years of their own lives to a man that Lesra discovered in a book. So what faults they may have would have to be rather monumental to seriously detract from what good they have repeatedly done. Lesra had one brother that was murdered, and another that is in and out of jail. Where would they be if the Canadians or someone else had helped them? As to this issue of "Black English"; as offensive as some might find that characterization to be, what about the attempt to teach "Ebonics" in this Country? Gerry Spence recently completed a case where 4 men spent 18 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. One of the men was to be executed, and today January 31, the Governor of Illinois has suspended all executions until reviews are conducted. Gerry Spence got them some walking around money at $9,000,000 each. They will never see that as the appeals courts will knock those numbers to a fraction of what the jury awarded. Rubin Carter and John Artis got $0.00. To be more precise Mr. Carter received just under $3,000.00 almost 10 years after having been wrongfully interred in the Vroom house of horrors. On Larry King's show, Judge Sarokin said the "Habeas Corpus" laws have been changed so that he would not have gotten Mr. Carter's case; and even if he had, it would be overturned, Rubin would still be in prison. After Judge Sarokin made his ruling, New Jersey was not satisfied until they were shot down 14 additional times, in a variety of courts because their case had remained what it always had been, garbage. Pathetic is not strong enough, but it is comforting to know that when asked about the upcoming movie, Sheriff Edwin J. Englehardt kept up the party line of those involved in New Jersey. Some of his pearls of wisdom were/are, Carter was set free "because of a technicality", the fact he was set free was "a disgrace to the system", and the real gems, "If the movie makes any money, the state should charge Carter $77 a day for the 20 years of free room and board he got while in prison", and "If I could do something to destroy the movie, I would". These statements were made within the past year, comforting are they not? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal............one of the greatest series of typos ever. Please note the Author of the document to which I refer bought, sold, and settled debts with slaves, as did The Father Of Our Country, as did the majority of those men who signed said document. Don't take my word, look it up. We live in the greatest Country. Greatest and perfect are not the same.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Lazarus and the Hurricane13 Jan. 2000
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I bought this book before I knew the movie was to be released. It is an amazing story of an innocent man's stuggle to gain his right to freedom after spending almost 20 years in jail, incarcerated for a crime he was completely innocent of. It made me wonder how "just" is justice in certain criminal cases where the evidence was so clear he was not guilty of a horrible crime. The "Canadians" as they were so fondly addressed as, should be given tremendous credit as well as his attourney's that worked pro bono on Hurricane's case. Their belief is Hurricane's innocence and aid to his freedom is a breathtaking example of selflessness that is rarely heard of these days - we're all so busy with our own lives and problems, it was a welcome break to discover there are those out there who make a difference in our lives, namely for the Hurricane and for those who will read this book.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
could've been better17 Jan. 2000
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A decent enough overview of the case's history, but poorly written and cripplingly biased. It's ironic that an account of a case which relied so heavily upon the facts (or distortion of the facts) is itself so careless with actual events and their motivations. While there is little doubt of Carter's innocence, the story of his case deserves an objective telling, which "the Canadians" (as the authors refer to themselves) do not provide. And would any American actually refer to slang as "black english"? If you're interested in the history of Carter's case, check it out, but skip the overwrought dramatic interludes and take everything with a grain of salt.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
CALM AFTER THE STORM2 Nov. 2000
Bonita L. Davis
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Rubin Carter's unjust incarceration should shatter all illusions that in the United States of America anyone can get a fair and just trial. Carter's saga certainly proved that justice isn't blind. Carter's case is an in-your-face look at what is deeply wrong with our criminal justice system. Yet it is more than that. There is another side to the story. Lesra, a young black teenager, purchases Carter's biography of what happened. Inspired by this giant, Lesra along with his Canadian guardians take on the quest of proving Carter's innocence. Their love, dedication and commitment prove that even in the worst of times there is hope. This book is the story of that hope unfolding. Upon reading the book, three stories unfold; Lesra's, Rubin Carter's and the Canadians. Of course Carter's story predominates throughout the book while Lesra and the Canadians provide a nice back drop. The fact of the "Canadians" are not mentioned by name gives you a feeling of them being mere objects in the work of freeing Carter. Even Lesra doesn't receive the full attention that he deserves in this intertwining story. Even Carter becomes an enigma. We really don't get to know the man but we are bombarded with information concerning his case. Perhaps other texts will make up for the above defientcies. I feel the most important part was Carter's refusal to allow the prison and criminal justice system to dehumanize them. If anything we learn how dehumanizing this system is in our own country. The greater lesson in the book is no matter how bad things can get there are decent people out there to help. Once you open yourself up to them changes can occur.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good Story ...Told Not So Well24 Dec. 2005
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I really enjoyed the Ruber Carter biography The 16th Round. Carter is an amazing writer and he has an amazing life story. I figured this book would be sort of a follow up to his book taking us from incarceration in the end of 16th Round to freedom in Lazarus...
Instead of getting to the story like Carter was able to the authors of this book felt the need to give a over done bio on Lesra Martin, who would come to befriend Carter. While it seems their intentions were positive for this kid they tend to paint his pre Canada picture as almost insulting this poor kid because of how he talked and acted, and I found the actual presenting his dialogue in supposed Brooklyn slang to be slightly distracting, and we could have done without the language lesson in "Black English"
Sadly after this intro to the character of Lesra they really fail to mention him much after the story gets going. Lesra is lost to countless stories of trips to see Carter in prison and legal insight.
The authors who are not Americans seem to almost take enjoyment in bashing the American legal system. They offer a very uneducated assumption based point of view on facts and issues I feel they had little understanding of. And while personally I feel Carter was not guilty of the crimes, the authors paint Carter as a tragic hero you should feel bad for, however that is by far over shadowed by their self-righteous telling of the legal battle in which they take the light that is supposed to be on Carter and apply it to them. They seem to want to have the reader view them as these people who are so good hearted and do everything to aide Carter so well that you can't help but love them.
This book is good to get more facts but if you are looking for a follow up to Carter's story it's not here, this is instead an undiverse retelling of Carter's legal battle, less from the point of view of legal experts and more so that of "crusaders" who were out to see Carter free.
I respect what they helped do for Carter but find the way they recall the story to be offensive and at times selfish.