Helen Prejean, C. S. J., is a writer, lecturer, and community organizer who was born in Baton Rouge and has lived and worked in Louisiana all her life. Her groundbreaking firsthand account of the death penalty, "Dead Man Walking, "has been adapted into a movie, an opera, and a play for high schools and colleges. She is also the author of "The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions." She has lectured extensively on the subject of capital punishment and has appeared on "60 Minutes," NBC s "Today Show, "NPR s "Weekend Edition" and "Fresh Air," PBS s "Frontline," BBC World Service radio, and an NBC special series on the death penalty. She has received honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the United States. She is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. www.sisterhelen.org"
Helen Prejean currently resides in Baton Rouge, in the state of Louisiana.
Reviews - What do customers think about Dead Man Walking?
An eye-opening personal account of the death penalty Mar 4, 2010
I was given this book as a gift, and after reading it, I passed it on to many of my friends and family members. All of us thought that Dead Man Walking was one of the top ten books we had ever read. In the book, Sister Helen Prejean befriends two convicted killers on death row. The movie took characteristics of both of these men and combined them into one man - the Sean Penn character. Although I thought the movie was very gripping, the book is even more so.
Sister Prejean obviously is very opposed to the death penalty. Therefore she paints a picture of these two men as - underneath the surface - sympathetic, remorseful human beings. However, there has been a backlash against Sister Prejean from people who knew the killers and claim that they were not so sympathetic, but rather that the book contained false statements that made them look better than they actually were. For me, the alleged factual errors do not diminish the overall power of the book. It is not surprising to me that convicted killers would tell a nun false things about their background and, despite whatever lies they might have told about their pasts, they still could have shown the emotions and remorse that she described in the book.
Additionally, for me the biggest impact of this book was in Sister Prejean's philosophical and religious arguments about capital punishment. Notably, she discusses in depth the Bible's views on the death penalty. I previously had the impression that the Bible unequivocally supported the death penalty because so many death penalty advocates quote it, particularly the phrase "an eye for an eye." However, Sister Prejean argues that the phrase "an eye for an eye" was actually written only for the purpose of limiting violence. According to her, in the era when it was written, if someone murdered another, sometimes the murderers' entire family would be killed in retribution. The phrase "an eye for an eye" was written to limit retribution to no more than what the crime was. Of course there are other portions of the Bible that death penalty advocates refer to, but after reading this book, I am convinced that the Bible is simply inconsistent on the topic of capital punishment and therefore does not truly support either side.
Sister Prejean makes many more points that make for a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
book received Feb 10, 2010
Very pleased with the seller; book arrived in extremley timely fashion, also in excellent shape. Thank you!!!!
Touching story Feb 5, 2010
This is a very touching story and for those who saw the film, it will be interesting to know it from Helen Prejean's point of view.
Excellent Textbook for High School Religion Class Jan 9, 2009
This book provoked interesting discussion in my son's 11th grade religion class. Kudos to the teacher for getting kids to think about the death penalty.
WE ARE NEARLY ALONE IN THE WORLD IN KILLING AND TORTURING OUR PRISONERS; LET US STOP NOW THIS OFFICIAL VIOLENCE Oct 14, 2008
Let us rejoin the community of civilized nations and stop the death penalty and the torture of prisoners.
Recently the International Court in La Hague requested the state of Texas not execute some Mexican nationals in its death row, in order that the case may be reviewed and their access to the Mexican Consulate granted as assured in international treaties.
Texas killed them. The President of the United States George W. Bush claimed he had no legal right to intervene.
When George W. Bush was governor of Texas he approved more executions than any other in history.
Let us stop the killing. Let us become pro-life. Read this book.
Sister Prejean is a good and holy nun from Louisiana who was requested to be a pen pal with a prisoner. She began to see him as a human soul, and this emerges in her eloquent writing. We must not kill one another. Read this book. Vote pro-life.
Thou shalt not kill. To kill for a Christian is always wrong, as Christ forbids us directly and clearly. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops clearly and repeatedly forbid it in their official documents suxh as The Culture of Life & the Penalty of Death. Numerous other books document the injustices of the United States death penalty, its racism, its classism, its biases, such as Capital Punishment and Latino Offenders: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Death Sentences (Criminal Justice (Lfb Scholarly Publishing Llc).)
This book however tells us of one human soul, and the sister who perceived him.
Read this book. Do further research. Fight the death penalty. Be pro-life.