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Extended Audio Sample In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Deliverance, by Wilbert Rideau Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (170 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wilbert Rideau Narrator: Dominic Hoffma Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Wilbert Rideau, the award-winning journalist who spent forty-four years in Louisiana prisons working against unimaginable odds to redeem himself, the story of a remarkable life: a crime, its punishment, and ultimate triumph.

After killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery, Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he joined the inmate population of the infamous Angola penitentiary. Soon Rideau became editor of the prison newsmagazine the Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.

With the same incisive feel for detail that brought Rideau great critical acclaim, here he brings to vivid life the world of the prison through the power of his pen. We see Angola’s unique culture, encompassing not only rivalries, sexual slavery, ingrained racism, and daily, soul-killing injustices but also acts of courage and decency by keeper and kept alike. As we relive Rideau’s remarkable rehabilitation—he lived a more productive life in prison than do most outside—we also witness his long struggle for justice.

In the Place of Justice goes far beyond the confines of a prison memoir, giving us a searing exposé of the failures of our legal system framed within the dramatic tale of a man who found meaning, purpose, and hope in prison. This is a deeply moving, eloquent, and inspirational story about perseverance, unexpected friendships and love, and the possibility that good can be forged under any circumstances.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Incisive…As emotional, as any words I’ve read in a long time.”

    New York Times

  • “Perhaps no book written by an inmate has ever conveyed so much factual and emotional information about day-to-day prison life.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Riveting…Amazing…The picture of prison life painted by Rideau isn’t the one portrayed in many movies…Now he has provided a wonderful chance to share his remarkable life.”

    Associated Press

  • “Candid…Rideau is the rarest of American commodities—a man who exited a penitentiary in better shape than when he arrived.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A series of stunning journalistic revelations…Quite simply, no prison memoir in recent memory contains prose as deft or as riveting.”

    Vanity Fair

  •  “A richly detailed [and] all too rare look at life behind bars.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Searing, suspenseful, stomach-churning and soul-stirring…A sobering indictment of the criminal justice and penal systems in Louisiana over the past half century—and testimony to the triumph of the human spirit.”

    Tulsa World

  • “A masterpiece in the realm of autobiographies.”

    Anniston Star

  • In the Place of Justice is remarkably even-handed and generous.”

    Palm Beach Arts Paper

  • In the Place of Justice is as much a look inside Angola prison and the judicial system as it is a fascinating yet unsettling journey inside the minds of those who do time there.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “To a society that treats convicts as a worthless underclass, Rideau’s story is a compelling reminder that rehabilitation should be the focus of a penal system.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is more than a prison memoir; it is a searing indictment of the American justice system.”


  • “Fascinating and inspiring…This book is a gift to all of us in so many ways.”


  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Leza | 2/16/2014

    " An excellent book about a man's struggle to gain freedom after paying for his crime. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Conor Bateman | 2/3/2014

    " An incredibly affecting portrait of the American penal system and a look at a crippling injustice that was allowed to perpetuate for four decades. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Krys | 1/20/2014

    " This is a interesting tale of a prisoner that was originally sentenced to die on death row in Angola prison in Louisiana in 1962. But due to the change in laws ends up spending life in prison instead. He is also talking about segregation times in prison as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carissa | 1/19/2014

    " I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would because it was a book for school. "

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