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Download The Autobiography of an Execution Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Autobiography of an Execution Audiobook, by David R. Dow
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,009 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David R. Dow Narrator: Joshua Ferris Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9781607881360
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Near the beginning of The Autobiography of an Execution, David Dow lays his cards on the table. "People think that because I am against the death penalty and don't think people should be executed, that I forgive those people for what they did. Well, it isn't my place to forgive people, and if it were, I probably wouldn't. I'm a judgmental and not very forgiving guy. Just ask my wife."

It this spellbinding True-Crime narrative, Dow takes us inside of prisons, inside the complicated minds of judges, inside execution-administration chambers, into the lives of death row inmates (some shown to be innocent, others not) and even into his own home--where the toll of working on these gnarled and difficult cases is perhaps inevitably paid. He sheds insight onto unexpected phenomena-- how even religious lawyer and justices can evince deep rooted support for putting criminals to death-- and makes palpable the suspense that clings to every word and action when human lives hang in the balance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • I have read much about capital punishment, but David Dow's book leaves all else behind. Anthony Lewis
  • "In an argument against capital punishment, Dow's capable memoir partially gathers its steam from the emotional toll on all parties involved, especially the overworked legal aid lawyers and their desperate clients. The author, the litigation director of the Texas Defender Service and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, respects the notion of attorney-client privilege in this handful of real-life legal outcomes, some of them quite tragic, while acknowledging executions are 'not about the attorneys,' but 'about the victims of murder and sometimes their killers.' While trying to maintain a proper balance in his marriage to Katya, a fellow attorney and ballroom dancer, he spells out the maze of legal mumbo-jumbo to get his clients stays or released from confinement in the cases of a hapless Vietnam vet who shot a child, another man who beat his pregnant wife to death and another who killed his wife and children. In the end, Dow's book is a sobering, gripping and candid look into the death penalty."
  • Publishers Weekly
  • "For a lot of good reasons, and some that are not so good, executions in the U.S. are carried out in private. The voters, the vast majority of whom support executions, are not allowed to see them. The Autobiography of an Execution is a riveting and compelling account of a Texas execution written and narrated by a lawyer in the thick of the last minute chaos. It should be read by all those who support state sponsored killing."
  • John Grisham, author of The Innocent Man
  • "Defending the innocent is easy. David Dow fights for the questionable. He is tormented, but relentless, and takes us inside his struggle with candor and insight, shudders and all."
  • Dave Cullen, author of Columbine
  • "David Dow's extraordinary memoir lifts the veil on the real world of representing defendants on death row. It will stay with me a long time."
  • Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Nine

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynn | 2/20/2014

    " DNF: 140 pages of no point at all, except I get the author/attorney is overworked, conflicted, and an absent dad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holley Cassell | 2/15/2014

    " I was floored by this book. Even though the narrative doesn't ring 100% authentic, it was deeply touching. The prose never disappoints. Beautifully written. Won't turn off the non-legally inclined population. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Boyle | 2/5/2014

    " This book was amazing. It made me cry and really think about the important aspects of my life. No book has ever made me feel this way before. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 1/31/2014

    " I wish I had learned more about the topic and less about David Dow, his dream last night, his third grade teacher and where he went on vacation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/30/2014

    " Wow. Highly recommend this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allyssa | 1/25/2014

    " I couldn't put this book down, waiting for the outcome at the end. I'm a former student of Professor Dow and worked on the Innocence Project one semester in law school, so perhaps, I'm biased, but I was thoroughly consumed by this book. His dialogue was strangely written, which took some getting used to, but I felt his sincerity in the passages and liked the quirky stories interspersed throughout. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol Marsella | 1/14/2014

    " This book really gives you a perspective of death row - that most will never see - some interesting and thoughtful perspectives on this subject - and a very quick easy read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Bradley | 1/6/2014

    " Very well written. I would have rated it higher but the subject matter is (obviously) disturbing and I had a hard time with it because of that. It makes you think...but it was difficult for me to process at times. I had a hard time getting to sleep for the few days I was in the midst of this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanna | 12/6/2013

    " Hard to read at parts but very engaging. He does a nice job of explaining complex legal issues in accessible terms. Very powerful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 12/4/2013

    " Wow. What a read. How horrific to read in detail how our legal system doesn't seem to based on justice or ethics or morals or right or wrong, guilt or innocence. But it's instead based on procedural rules. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/1/2013

    " What a brutally honest novel about the untold business of executions. I think this is definitely one of those areas that people tend to not think about, but of course, have an opinion about. It shines light on the silent stories and I thoroughly enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shelly | 11/21/2013

    " even if you are for the death penalty, which I'm not, this book will more then likely make you rethink your stand "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Dommer | 7/30/2013

    " very original topic, and a very gripping book. Some very vivid images. Definitely read this book. i think it would make a good movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 2/19/2013

    " I read so many books that I forget what it's like to read a great book. This is a GREAT book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Silverberg | 12/24/2012

    " great book everyone should read whether you are against the death penalty or for it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steffaniebarnard | 12/3/2012

    " I think it is amazing how I, as a psychologist, have so much in common with a death row attorney. The book is touching and poignant and really made me think twice about the true meaning of a death sentence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 5/10/2012

    " Not quite finished but really enjoying it. Thanks to Jaime. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 5/7/2012

    " A raw honest look into how flawed and inexcusable our countries' use of the death penalty is. David Dow chronicles how an innocent man is put to death because of a failed criminal justice system. Informative and heartfelt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trixie Jack | 10/1/2011

    " Reaffirmed my belief that capital punishment in this country is a horribly broken system, and one that can't--and shouldn't--be fixed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mklosner2 | 9/29/2011

    " The death penalty is the lazy man's way of fighting crime. It doesn't help anyone,-except maybe the real 'murderers' escape punishment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 9/13/2011

    " Very informative on the death penalty. Did not necessarily enjoy the style of writing. But feel as though I have learned a lot about the legal system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara Fuligni | 7/6/2011

    " Very eye-opening and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marty | 6/28/2011

    " I find it disturbing and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 6/15/2011

    " very original topic, and a very gripping book. Some very vivid images. Definitely read this book. i think it would make a good movie. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 6/13/2011

    " This book really gives you a perspective of death row - that most will never see - some interesting and thoughtful perspectives on this subject - and a very quick easy read.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anastacia | 6/12/2011

    " Changed my mind on the death penalty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karin | 6/7/2011

    " Interesting read, I loved hearing about what really happens behind the scenes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jannie | 6/5/2011

    " This book validates my opinion on the death penalty in this country. Very compelling argument to get rid of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 kari | 6/5/2011

    " a must read for anyone for-or-against the death penalty.
    eye opening. for the sane person, it makes you wonder
    why anyone who lives in the state of TX would murder another.
    but then again... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 6/3/2011

    " A good writer who makes a compelling case for the abolition of the death penalty.The stories are heartbreaking, real & the author is honest about his own shortcomings in the process. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 5/30/2011

    " I think it was a mistake to read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 5/14/2011

    " found the book really compelling. made me rethink the death penalty "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Loripdx | 4/28/2011

    " I've always been a proponent of the death penalty (based upon feelings alone with no knowledge of the death penalty topic itself), but after reading this book, I'm going to delve into the topic more. Excellent book. "

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About the Author

David R. Dow is professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for The Autobiography of an Execution, he is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network and has represented more than one hundred death row inmates in their state and federal appeals. He lives in Houston, Texas.

About the Narrator

Joshua Ferris received a BA in English and philosophy from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His fiction has appeared in the Iowa Review, Best New American Voices 2005, and Prairie Schooner. He was born in Danville, Illinois, grew up in Key West, and now lives in Brooklyn.