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Reviewed by Adanna Ora for Readers' Favorite
In 44% of the world’s nations (including some states in the USA), the death penalty is the court's sanction for murder. Alan W. Johnson, however, disagrees that this punishment is the best. Alan uses his book, Death and Forgiveness, to argue against the death penalty. For someone who has witnessed 21 legal executions in his 18 years of death sentence reporting in Ohio, Alan believes in God’s love for everybody. Hence, his belief in everyone's (including murderers') right to life. Death and Forgiveness is a memoir that explores the lives of seasoned criminals, their upbringings, and the circumstances that may have contributed to the crimes they committed. The author also makes an effort to illustrate the many responses that society, the relatives of the victims, and the offenders have to the crime as well as its impact on each of these groups.
Watching a loved one’s execution is never easy, no matter how guilty the person is. Alan Johnson helps in painting a compelling picture of this scenario. With the author’s excellent use of vivid pictures and detailed descriptions, you experience a wide range of emotions at once, from rage, terror, and a desire for justice to sympathy and pardon. We can view things from a variety of angles thanks to Death and Forgiveness. I liked how meticulously the author describes each murder case, from the time of the murder to the day of the execution of the sentence, even down to the last meal and words of the convicted person. Despite Death and Forgiveness’ aim to make you agree with the total abolishment of the death penalty, you are given the freedom to select which side of a coin you want to support. Although some may not totally concur with the author's argument, you cannot ignore Alan's passionate writing or his wish to see a better society.