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When Truth Is All You Have  By  cover art

When Truth Is All You Have

By: Jim McCloskey,Philip Lerman,John Grisham - foreword
Narrated by: Jim Frangione
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Publisher's Summary

“A riveting and infuriating examination of criminal prosecutions, revealing how easy it is to convict the wrong person and how nearly impossible it is to undo the error.” (Washington Post)

"No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently." (Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy)

Jim McCloskey was at a midlife crossroads when he met the man who would change his life. A former management consultant, McCloskey had grown disenchanted with the business world; he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary at the age of 37. His first assignment, in 1980, was as a chaplain at Trenton State Prison. Among the inmates was Jorge de los Santos, a heroin addict who'd been convicted of murder years earlier. He swore to McCloskey that he was innocent - and, over time, McCloskey came to believe him. With no legal or investigative training to speak of, McCloskey threw himself into the case. Two years later, thanks to those efforts, Jorge de los Santos walked free, fully exonerated.

McCloskey had found his calling. He established Centurion Ministries, the first group in America devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. Together with his staff and a team of forensic experts, lawyers, and volunteers - through tireless investigation and an unflagging dedication to justice - Centurion has freed 65 innocent prisoners who had been sentenced to life or death.

When Truth Is All You Have is McCloskey's inspirational story, as well as those of the unjustly imprisoned for whom he has fought. Spanning the nation, it is a chronicle of faith and doubt; of triumphant success and shattering failure. It candidly exposes a life of searching and struggle, uplifted by McCloskey's certainty that he had found what he was put on earth to do.

Filled with generosity, humor, and compassion, it is the soul-bearing account of a man who has redeemed innumerable lives - and incited a movement - with nothing more than his unshakeable belief in the truth.

©2020 Jim McCloskey and Philip Lerman (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Exoneration] takes an advocate who is tireless, fearless, and dedicated to justice. A man like Jim McCloskey, the dean of all innocence advocates - The Exonerator” (from the foreword by John Grisham)

"A heartfelt and heart-rending story of fighting wrongful convictions...The narrative charts triumphant stories of innocent persons freed, heartbreaking tales of defeat, and disappointing insights into a broken justice system...Compassionate tales from a dedicated warrior for justice." (Kirkus, starred review)

“A riveting and infuriating examination of criminal prosecutions, revealing how easy it is to convict the wrong person and how nearly impossible it is to undo the error. [This book] upends our naive and complacent view of prosecutions.... Full of drama and hope.... In no small part because of McCloskey’s work, Americans have radically reassessed the criminal justice system.... We need many more Jim McCloskeys.” (Washington Post)

“Though generally broaching serious subjects, the writers are able to bring levity at appropriate moments, reflecting McCloskey’s overall philosophy of hope...This will be essential for collections focused on social justice, the wrongly convicted, and spiritual transformation.” (Library Journal, starred review)

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What listeners say about When Truth Is All You Have

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Moved beyond words

Seldom has a book has affected me so much; it is compelling, honest and so interesting. The only reason I deducted a star was that there was a lot of profanity which I found to be gratuitous.
Other than that, however, an excellent book with great narration.

3 people found this helpful

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You will be better & changed

Reading this will make you a better person and change your perspective on “justice”. Truly one of my favorites. Thankful for all who work to free the innocent.

3 people found this helpful

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God Bless Mr McCloskey

We need more men like Mr McCloskey. His dedication to the freeing of the wrongfully convicted is exactly what Jesus teaches us. What you do for the least you do for me. I would like to change that to read “whatever you do for the least, you do so in God’s honor.” Currently I am an investigator and when I retire I hope to meet Mr McCloskey and maybe assist his staff in freeing an innocent person from prison. God Bless you sir and your entire staff.

1 person found this helpful

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Wrongful Conviction - An epidemic in the U.S.

The book is incredible and an ABSOLUTE MUST READ TO LEARN ABOUT HOW OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM GETS THINGS VERY WRONG ALOT! For those who believe that most people who claim innocence are being dishonest, THINK AGAIN! Yes, some do lie about their innocence, but I believe The National Registry of Exonerations speak for itself. Since 1989 2,657 exonerations have been documented. Obtaining an overturned conviction as Jim McCloskey explains in his book in multiple examples, the process is greuling, mentally and emotionally for everyone involved, beyond expensive..$300,000 it costs and on average these innocent people spend up to 20 yrs in hell until maybe they can gain their freedom.
I commend Jim McCloskey for enduring and selflessly going without in order to help these men and women gain their freedom. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH JIM! Saying thank you. just isn't enough nor feels like enough.
I have a friend who is 100% innocent and has spent 20yrs in the Missouri prison system for a murder he did not commit. The states main witness recanted his testimony many years ago, yet my friend still sits in prison. The positive news is, because of the work Jim started so many years ago his organization assisted a gentleman, Darryl Burton gain his freedom after spending 20+ yrs in prison also, he and another exoneree, Lamont McIntyre started their own innocence organization a few years ago, Miracle of Innocence and they have taken on my friends case! We have a long road ahead, but I wholeheartedly believe he will gain his freedom much sooner than we think. Bottom line, because of your work Jim and your selfless team...my friend Ahmad Adisa will be exonerated some day very soon too! God bless you and your entire team at Centurion Ministries!!

1 person found this helpful

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important conceptually and icompelling ponder

this non fiction account blends personal biography with the authors human experiences and deep faith to serve society by righting social wrongs.. the book reaches to fills an educational void that deserves our close attention

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Justice for All?

Great book on a look at our criminal justice system. How race carries a stigma for innocence and guilt.

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Author's Autobiography

This book is more about the author than the convicts. I wanted to learn more about proving innocence than the authors life experiences.

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wow.

the system can be so devastating. this book is both disheartening and triumphant. Jim is a saint.

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good read

i appreciate first hand perspective in advocacy for wrongly convicted. we should all remember them who are in prison unjustly. Don't forget them

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Unbelievable! At times overwhelming.

The author's compassion, commitment to right the wrongs of so many is beyond my own understanding. Thank God for your faith and strength.