Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Slate.com and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: 'Just Mercy'

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Parul Sehgal of The New York Times reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

This week, a book about a brutal miscarriage of justice with disturbing parallels with the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," and set in the hometown of Harper Lee herself: "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson.

In 1987, Walter McMillian, an African-American lumber worker living in Monroeville, Alabama, was accused of murdering a white woman. Authorities ignored alibi eyewitnesses and suppressed evidence, and McMillian languished on death row for years until an idealistic young lawyer named Bryan Stevenson took the case.

"Just Mercy" is Stevenson's memoir of the case and of a career of fighting injustice in the justice system. It's reviewed in the New York Times Book Review by Ted Conover, who says, "The message of this book…is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made."

For Stevenson, a difference must be made. He says, "We will ultimately not be judged by our technology, we won't be judged by our design…You judge the character of a society…by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated."

Find more reviews of new books in the New York Times Book Review at nytimes.com/books.

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