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The Autobiography of an Execution

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Excellent Read

This Book was well written and I could not put it down. Mr Dow takes you into a execution and it is as if your there and how he balances his Life. Thank-you Mr Dow for sharing!

posted by EM46 on March 8, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Great Topic but...

Mr. Dow is a committed and excellent lawyer. The passion he brings to his work is evident in this book. However, the essential elements of this book would have made an excellent long format magazine article in either, say, Esquire or Rolling Stone. The unfolding stor...
Mr. Dow is a committed and excellent lawyer. The passion he brings to his work is evident in this book. However, the essential elements of this book would have made an excellent long format magazine article in either, say, Esquire or Rolling Stone. The unfolding store of death row inmate "Henry" is gripping and the trials and tribulations that Mr. Dow goes through to help him is moving while teaching the reader a lot about the legal process.

But Mr. Dow fills 2/3's of his book with musings about his family that have little or no relationship to the book's central theme. While his relationships with his wife and son appear top notch, the annectodes and asides about their daily lives are a distraction to the book's importance. In addition, the writing style includes the decision to omit all use of quotation marks. There is a lot of reporting of dialogue in this book and without the proper use of quotes, the reading is combersome and awkward. Not sure the benefit of this...maybe to seem "stream of conscienceness"????????

posted by 883999 on March 1, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    Remarkable Book

    "The Autobiography of an Execution" by David Dow is a remarkable book about a man who works as a death row attorney. The book follows the story of one particular death row inmate accused of murdering his wife and children. As the facts of the case are revealed including the shoddy handling by his previous attorneys, we begin to see how our justice system, both complex and largely impersonal, is ultimately the result of the various men and women who work in the field. These insights are paralleled by everyday occurrences in Dow's personal life. We see that his family is his foundation which keeps him grounded. Along the way we are introduced to various characters on both sides of the prison bars, revealing many complex personalities, but always with the idea of following the main story to its conclusion. Throughout the book Dow peppers us with delightful philosophical insights and nuggets of wisdom to keep us thinking, to help us understand what it is like to walk in his shoes and work with his clients. In the end one cannot help but be sobered by the experience of watching this man who, in the end, cannot save anybody, only delay the inevitable, yet these rare victories help keep him going. His love for his family is what keeps him sane in a world where the rule of law is handled like a mathematical equation yet where attorneys can sometimes make a difference. This is not a textbook about the death penalty or capital punishment - it is a narrative, and through the use of story, one not only learns about our justice system, but feels its effects on all involved. It is a glimpse into purgatory, and the resolve of a group of brave men and women to make a difference in the lives of people who deserve respect and their own dignity despite being convicted of heinous crimes. It is an important addition to the ongoing debate regarding capital punishment in the United States.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    GREAT

    Great book. Very interesting read - makes you expand your views on the subject.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Interesting and interesting and realistic context

    NPR interview with David got my attention to get the book and quick read

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