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In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance | [Wilbert Rideau]

In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance

After killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery, Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of 19. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he became editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.
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Publisher's Summary

From Wilbert Rideau, the award-winning journalist who spent 44 years in Louisiana prisons working against unimaginable odds to redeem himself, the story of a remarkable life: a crime, its punishment, and ultimate triumph.

After killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery, Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of 19. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he joined the inmate population of the infamous Angola penitentiary. Soon Rideau became editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.

With the same incisive feel for detail that brought Rideau great critical acclaim, here he brings to vivid life the world of the prison through the power of his pen. We see Angola’s unique culture, encompassing not only rivalries, sexual slavery, ingrained racism, and daily, soul-killing injustices but also acts of courage and decency by keeper and kept alike. As we relive Rideau’s remarkable rehabilitation—he lived a more productive life in prison than do most outside—we also witness his long struggle for justice.

In the Place of Justice goes far beyond the confines of a prison memoir, giving us a searing exposé of the failures of our legal system framed within the dramatic tale of a man who found meaning, purpose, and hope in prison. This is a deeply moving, eloquent, and inspirational story about perseverance, unexpected friendships and love, and the possibility that good can be forged under any circumstances.

©2010 Wilbert Rideau (P)2010 Random House

What the Critics Say

“Uplifting . . . [Especially] his self-reclamation through tough, committed journalism in an unpropitious setting . . . Rideau’s story is a compelling reminder that rehabilitation should be the focus of a penal system.” (Publishers Weekly)

“If years in solitary confinement and on death row shaped and refined the young killer, Wilbert Rideau, it can surely be said that Rideau did as much for the prison that held him longest, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. This is a breathtaking and, ultimately, triumphant story of rehabilitation through endurance and courageous journalism. It is also a searing indictment of a broken, corrupt penal system that does far more damage than good to our society as a whole. This is an extraordinary book.” (Ted Koppel)

What Members Say

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  •  
    gifts4444you Charleston, SC 09-26-10
    gifts4444you Charleston, SC 09-26-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unbelievably enlightening one of my top 2 books!!!"

    Well written, very interesting & enlightening. **EXCELLENT choice in narration by: Dominic Hoffman.

    I don't feel this book should be judged/rated by one's opinion of the author's past. Judge this obviously well written book with it's amazing story line and perspective. Or stay in your little, close minded world and condemn him but never his amazing book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Kastal 07-03-10
    Gary Kastal 07-03-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Rideau and Hoffman are BRILLANT!!"

    A passionate autobiography that is both lyrical and understated in its portrayal of a life tragic, but redemptive, especially in Rideau's relentless quest for fairness, justice and humanity, and a justice system that is corrupt, prejudicial and maniacal. Hoffman's narration is exceptional, and as in all his other work, captures the spirit and essence of character, setting, tone, and mood.

    It is an extremely difficult task to give an unemotional yet realistic portrayal of Angola State Prison from 1960 to the present, as well as discuss the historical, societal and emotional aspects of murder and capital punishment from the point of view of one man, yet this writing and narration does all of this and more, transcending bias, class, race and law to show both the good and the evil that reside in a contradictory dichotomy in all men. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James P Carter PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, US 03-21-13
    James P Carter PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, US 03-21-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Southern Justice Illustrated"

    This book is informative and fact based. The crimes the author committed at 19 yo are difficult to accept but his honest attempt at rehabilitation is inspiring. For the uninitiated it is a revealing
    perspective of the southern justice system that retains many of the same elements today. Evidence of past prejudicial trials is evidenced by the large number of inmates that are released via DNA testing today, predominately in the south..
    The heartbreaking stories of prison brutalities are difficult to read, especially the slave system and other examples of the survival of the fittest society.
    The author is an amazing example of perseverance and a refusal to quit no matter how many times he is defeated by the racially biased system.
    Not for the squeamish but well worth your time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary Lafayette, LA, United States 10-29-10
    mary Lafayette, LA, United States 10-29-10
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    "Worst book I ever read"

    It appeared to just blame others for the crimes he committed, to many excused and to little accountability.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Blaine, WA, United States 08-24-10
    Ken Blaine, WA, United States 08-24-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Snow job!"

    After failing to read beyond the title, which is my mistake, I purchased this book without carefully reading the breif description on the story. The man whether white black green or from Mars commited an armed roberry, kidnapping and murder all without any real reson in the begining. No there is no excuse for these crimes. It makes no sense that he did this!
    Then the rest of the book is about putting the guy up on a redemptive pedistal ...........
    Please, give me a break! I am sorry I bought this book and only listened to about 2 hours.
    Oh, of course there are pathetic injustices and flaws in the justice system.
    Really dissappointed and do not recommend this book.

    KW

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
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