The definitive memoir by Damien Echols of the "West Memphis Three", who was falsely convicted of committing three murders. Hear this unforgettable account of his 18 years on death row.
©2012 Damien Echols (P)2012 Penguin Audio
As an only child, books were my world. I love to read and audiobooks are essential in my world today. I must admit I am somewhat dependent (addicted?) to audible audiobooks. Too easy. Too good!
Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of the tragic murders in West Memphis. I was drawn into this incredibly well-written book, by Damien Echol's natural ability to tell a story. I was drawn to the person he was and the person he grew to be during his years in prison. Since reading this book I have watched all of the HBO documentaries that portray how easy it is for justice to be miscarried, when media, fear, and ignorance are in the mix. What I found most fascinating and refreshing about this book is the fact that Damien Echols did not allow himself to be swallowed by fear and self-pity at the prospect of being executed for a crime he did not commit. He wrote a book that told a story about life on death row-the lessons that he learned as he came of age behind bars.
I have followed the case of Damian Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jesse Miskelley since 1996, when the documentary Paradise Lost came out. This memoir breaks my heart, as I listen to an innocent man go through the tortures of prison and death row- and before that of poverty and community ignorance. Through it all, Mr. Echols maintains poise and dignity. Listening to the story in Echols' own voice brought home the emotion and loss of the tragedy.
I personally was glad that there was little or no mention of the gruesome details of the murders and the new suspect arising from DNA tests, all of which is available in the many documentaries about the case and the websites supporting the West Memphis Three. This narrative is the story of Mr. Echols' life so far, which shines a bright light onto the inhuman conditions that we allow to exist in our prisons. A truly excellent memoir, which breaks your heart over and over again.
Points of light outshining seemingly overwhelming darkness
Damien ... courage ... perseverance ... truth
Author's narration ... excellent!
Yes. I've followed Damien Echols's story for many years; finally hearing what it was like for him in his own voice was a humbling and amazing experience.
Damien Echols has a very distinct accent and manner of speech. Getting to hear him read his own words made the story all the more real and moving.
Damien's story is an amazing one. He is completely open in this book and completely lets the readers into his life in a very brave way. I found myself laughing and smiling as I listened to the book and even tearing up at points. No matter if you have heard of his story before or not, this book would be well worth a listen.
Author of Stitch Alchemy
When I read Law & Disorder by John Douglas, I became interested in the West Memphis 3 and watched the Paradise Lost documentaries. What a treat to learn that Damien Echols had just published his memoir. I immediately grabbed the Audible edition, which has Damien reading his own words. It would be difficult to approach this book without feeling compassion for what Echols has been through, but if I thought that the reaction to this book was predicated on how people felt about the case, I was wrong. It's gotten high praise and reviews and for good reason. This story is beyond amazing. Not only is Damien's tale of life behind bars riveting, but it's well written. Poetic and full of insight. He's an elegant writer with spare prose that's reflective of his approach to life. I avoid mainstream memoirs which unabashedly play on the heartstrings--they are common and dull. This is nothing like that. I was elevated and transformed by Damien's experience, told in his own words. It made me love my own life and appreciate all life a little bit more. Life After Death is a living poem. I could not stop listening. Insight after insight pours from the soul of this wrongly convicted man. Impossible not to savor, like a living poem. Thank you Damien for this wonderful gift.
The in depth description of poverty and coming of age in a world so different than my own.The idea of how a person overcomes life in prison and finds a way to cope. And I loved that Damien read his own words...powerful!
The fact that Damien found a way to stay sane in an insane circumstance.
Scene after scene of difficulty for Damian proves that I can hold onto hope in my reality.
This book is a must read! I think all professors dealing with social issues should require everyone to read this. A real eye opener of poverty, the prison system, the justice system, religion and spirituality.
The fact that the west Memphis three are free. I feel bad at times for the state of Arkansas to see what type of prosecutors and judges they have. Its a huge discredit to the whole judicial system on the state.
The Devils Knot
Im not sure I have a favorite. The entire story is good and I hope nothing but the best for the west Memphis 3
The Judicial idiots in Arkansas!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How come the prosecuting attorney, Police officers, the Judge isn't behind bars?????
Yes, It was well written, the entire story kept my interest and was well read.
None. I have never read a book like it. I also enjoyed the documentary's that was made about the three boys lives.
Excellent. A very intelligent person.
The same as the book.
It's heart wrenching to know this is happening not only to these 3 boys, but to other people too. I was extremely upset over the fact they made these men plead guilty in order to get out of prison and the true murderer is free. The trial was a farce and these men should be well compensated. Thanks to all the people responsible for helping them,
Mr. Middle Earth
A gut-wrenching story of a tragedy comprised among tragedies... and Damien manages to not only keep his sanity, but he even grows as a human being among animals would-be gods.
Damien Echols spent 18 years on death row for a crime he (and his friends) did not commit. See how this happened in our "justice" system, and do what you can to keep it from happening again.
Damien Echols tells his story - a tale of being a poor boy in Arkansas who was sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. The good parts were the story of his life before being imprisoned. This was interwoven with snippets of life on death row. After he is convicted, there is a lot more on life in prison. Echols focuses much on his state of mind. He is self-educated and a deep thinker, and I enjoyed this. Both his upbringing and imprisonment were depressing, but interesting. Now, my complaints. The second half of the book had so much about prison life, and the injustice and immorality of the treatment from sadistic guards. He seemed to repeat this theme and similar stories for a long time. My other complaint - he skipped almost every detail of his arrest and trial and conviction. We are told that he had an alibi for the time of the murder, but we don't hear much about why that was never brought up in the original trial. What was his lawyer like (except incompetent and eager to not anger the judge). Why was Echols picked as the scapegoat? Was he found in the wrong place at the wrong time? This book addresses almost none of this. And then suddenly there was an HBO movie about his plight. How did that come about? What changed to convince many he was innocent?
So, I heard too much about some stuff and not enough about other stuff. I was left a little bored and a little frustrated by the book's end. Echols makes a good case for the failure of the legal adversary system. As so often happens, the prosecution is more interested in a win than in justice, and I hope that books like this and PR from the Innocence Project will change things.
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