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Ultimate Punishment
by Scott Turow

Posted October 15, 2003

Farrar Straus and Giroux
(ISBN 0-374-12873-1
) U.S.A. $18.00 / Canada $29.95

Scott Turow is known to millions as the author of peerless novels about the troubling regions of experience where law and reality intersect. And as a respected criminal lawyer, he has been involved with the death penalty for more than a decade, successfully representing two different men convicted in death penalty prosecutions. In this vivid account of how his views on the death penalty have evolved, Turow describes his own experiences with capital punishment, from his days as and impassioned young prosecutor to his recent service on the Illinois Commission that investigated the state's administration of the death penalty and influenced Gov. George Ryan's unprecedented commutation of the sentences of 167 death row inmates on his last day of in office. Along the way, Turow provides a brief history of America's ambivalent relationship with the ultimate punishment; analyzes the potent reasons for and against it, including the role of the victims’ survivors; and tells the powerful stories behind the statistics, as he moves from the governor's mansion to Illinois super max prison and that the execution chamber. This gripping clear-sighted, necessary examination of the principals, the personalities, and the politics of a fundamental dilemma of our democracy has all the drama and intellectual substance of Turow’s celebrated fiction.

Praise for 
Ultimate Punishment

“In that rarest of achievements, a page-turner filled with genuine wisdom, Scott Turow takes us on a mesmerizing voyage through the land of murder, holding us spellbound as we arrive finally at the secret lying at the heart of every one of Turow’s gripping novels, a secret whose revelation exposes what we truly seek from capital punishment - and why we will never find it there. Written with a fine lawyers feel for fairness and with a superb novelist's gift for telling us truths beyond the power of the law’s logic to express, Ultimate Punishment is the ultimate statement about the death penalty: to read it is to understand why law alone cannot make us whole.” 

-Lawrence H. Tribe, 
Tyler Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

Scott Turow it is the world famous author of six best-selling novels about the law, from Presumed Innocent (1987) to Reversible Errors (2002), which centers on a death penalty case. He lives with his family outside Chicago, where he is a partner in the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal.


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