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Scott Christianson is the author of Notorious Prison: Inside the World's Most Feared Institutions and Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House (NYU Press, 1999). A longtime investigative reporter, his articles have appeared in The New York Times, the The Washington Post, The Nation, the Criminal Law Bulletin and many other publications. Since the author began this project, six of the convictions discussed in Innocent have been overturned.
For the first time since archival records were opened in 1977, readers can take a tour of Sing Sing Prison's infamous death house. From 1891 to 1963, 606 men and eight women were legally executed there in the electric chair. These executions were carried out with the strictest security away from public view. Yet journalist accounts of some of the high-profile capital cases made Sing Sing famous the world over. Investigative reporter Christianson (With Liberty for Some) has compiled the mug shots and dossiers of 70 condemned inmates with pictures of their physical surroundings. The result is a slim volume of indelible impressions. Today, Sing Sing is an average New York State correctional facility. Executions are no longer carried out there, and its notoriety has been eclipsed by more dreaded prisons in other states. Sing Sing's legacy, however, will likely remain an important part of America's history of criminal justice. Highly recommended.--Frances O. Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Startling." --Los Angeles Times Book Review "Unusually intimate and powerful." --New York Times "A slim volume of indelible impressions... Highly recommended." --Library Journal "Gripping... I could not put this book down." --Jimmy Breslin "Masterfully opens pathways for thought." --The Nation "If the initial response to Christianson's book and exhibit are any indication, Condemned may further erode support for capital punishment." --Village Voice "The important achievement of Condemned is not in theorizing about the death penalty ... it is in forcing the reader to look at it up close and thus get a firmer sense of what it really, truly is. If you favor the death penalty, you ought to know exactly what it is you favor. Based on the book, I will tell you this: It is a horror." --Scripps Howard News Service "This is a rare book-haunting fragments from the lives of men and women on their way to the electric chair. A moving and troubling epitaph for the guilty and perhaps the innocent." --William Kennedy, author of Ironweed