Life After Death

Life After Death

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In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.--who have come to be known as the West Memphis Three--were arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in Arkansas. The ensuing trial was marked by tampered evidence, false testimony, and public hysteria. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life in prison; while eighteen-year-old Echols, deemed the "ringleader," was sentenced to death. Over the next two decades, the WM3 became known worldwide as a symbol of wrongful conviction and imprisonment, with thousands of supporters and many notable celebrities who called for a new trial. In a shocking turn of events, all three men were released in August 2011. Now Echols shares his story in full--from abuse by prison guards and wardens, to portraits of fellow inmates and deplorable living conditions, to the incredible reserves of patience, spirituality, and perseverance that kept him alive and sane while incarcerated for nearly two decades. In these pages, Echols reveals himself a brilliant writer, infusing his narrative with tragedy and irony in equal measure: he describes the terrors he experienced every day and his outrage toward the American justice system, and offers a firsthand account of living on Death Row in heartbreaking, agonizing detail. "Life After Death" is destined to be a riveting, explosive classic of prison literature.

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  • Hardback | 399 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 43.18mm | 657.71g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • Blue Rider Press
  • New YorkUnited States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, colour illustrations
  • 0399160205
  • 9780399160202
  • 24,613

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"Exceptional memoir by the most famous of the West Memphis Three. [B]are facts alone would make for an interesting story. However, Echols is at heart a poet and mystic, and he has written not just a quickie one-off book to capitalize on a lurid news story, but rather a work of art that occasionally bears a resemblance to the work of Jean Genet. A voracious reader all his life, Echols vividly tells his story, from his impoverished childhood in a series of shacks and mobile homes to his emergence after half a lifetime behind bars as a psychically scarred man rediscovering freedom in New York City. The author also effectively displays his intelligence and sensitivity, qualities the Arkansas criminal justice system had no interest in recognizing during Echols' ordeal. Essential reading."--"Kirkus Reviews "(starred)

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About Damien Echols

Damien Echols was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. At age eighteen he was wrongfully convicted of murder, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, Jr. Echols received a death sentence and spent almost eighteen years on Death Row, until he, Baldwin, and Misskelley were released in 2011. The West Memphis Three have been the subject of "Paradise Lost," a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and "West of Memphis," a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Echols is the author of a self-published memoir, "Almost Home." He and his wife, Lorri Davis, live in New York City.

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