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Welcome To Hell: Letters and Writings from Death Row [Paperback]

Clive Stafford Smith , Helen Prejean , Jan Arriens
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £18.50
Price: £17.27 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 Dec 2004
Consisting of letters and other writings from inmates to members of LifeLines, an organization of pen friends based in the United Kingdom, Welcome to Hell vividly conveys daily life on death row. Ranging from simple descriptions of cockroach races and a typewriter repaired with rubber bands and a toothbrush, to profoundly affecting glimpses into horrific abusive childhoods, to eloquent, emotionally powerful statements about facing execution, these remarkable letters reveal the human side of capital punishment. The second edition includes new chapters that focus in particular on how inmates, knowing that the only realistic alternative to death is a life sentence without parole, cope with long periods of imprisonment in a hostile system that remorselessly seeks to take their lives. The additional material also gives insight into the ways in which death row prisoners flower as human beings despite their harsh, isolated, and traumatic environment. As Sister Helen Prejean writes in her foreword, ""Take this guided tour through Hell-guided by those who should know: the prisoners themselves. This is a book that speaks from the heart to the heart. Hopes, fears, anguish, desolation, anger -- they're all here. There isn't a page that doesn't make us laugh, cry, or shout. This book is their story -- the story of those cast aside by society. Not human like we are? Come and see for yourself.""

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Welcome To Hell: Letters and Writings from Death Row + Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press; 2 edition (9 Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555536360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555536367
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 624,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jan Arriens is an activist against the death penalty and founder of LifeLines. Sister Helen Prejean is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. Clive Stafford Smith is Director of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center in New Orleans.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving 8 Aug 2007
By Sabz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is unbelievably moving, it gives a real insight into life on deathrow in the states. I would thorougly recommend it for someone who is fascinated by life on death row and the way prisoners feel and cope while imprisoned. i still can't quite grasp the concept that these people are sitting in a tiny cell waiting to be killed. its a very moving account from lots of different prisoners all over the USA, and details their feelings right up to the last hours before their execution. it's not a light read, it's something to be taken very seriously, and it certainly has changed my views on the death penalty.

A MUST READ for everyone - it expands the mind and makes you feel compassion for people you never thought you could feel real sympathy for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harsh, heart-breaking, hopeful 20 Feb 2012
If everyone read this book the world would probably be a better place. We are shown that people on death row in the US are not the sub-human monsters we assume them to be. Most are average people whose lives have gone horrifically wrong at some point.

The writings in Welcome to Hell are gripping, at times funny, at times devastatingly sad. I found the book a huge inspiration. I think what I most took from this book is that even if you assume everyone on death row is actually guilty of the crimes for which they are convicted (which is a big if, looking at the statistics of overturned sentences), they still do not deserve to be put to death. Justice should not equal vengeance, and every human being - no matter what dreadful mistakes they may have made - deserves to be treated as such. Human beings. Not animals.

Please read this book, and once you have, consider writing to someone on the row yourself, and campaign against the random injustice that is capital punishment.
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