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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Masters led a childhood far too common in our supposedly civilized country. His stepfather nearly beat his mother to death, his mother was a heroin addict, his kindly foster parents didn't last, and the others were far less gentle. Like most kids in his situation, survival meant breaking the law. The stepping-stones that led him to San Quentin were sadly predictable -- foster care, juvenile hall, military schools, jail -- but they've taken him down an even darker path to death row, where he has spent the last 18 years, on false charges.
\ \ However, all is not lost. For Masters converted to Buddhism, and through its teachings gained an ability to face his own failings and the poor decisions that got him where he is today. A lack of bitterness is the most compelling evidence of this deep internal shift. "That I was wrongly convicted of murder and sent to death row is disheartening," he writes, "but it's easier than living with the pain of having taken the life of another human being." His message is unwavering: Every child matters, and we fail far too many.
\ \ Behind his book is a movement to free Masters from prison. His plea for nonviolence and his determination to hope, even from death row, that he might be afforded the opportunity to have a positive impact on others is a sobering lesson, related with humility and gratitude, beauty and eloquence. \ (Holiday 2009 Selection)