Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"This is pure red meat"

That's what the New York Times Book Review said about David R. Dow's "The Autobiography of an Execution," published this year by Little Brown.

The Times reviewer wrote:

Dow is a far cry from a shouting lunatic, and the farthest thing from a bleeding-heart abolitionist. He has a pickup truck, a taste for bourbon and a dog. “I do not want my clients to be killed, and I can’t stand them,” he writes. You’ll find Dow at least three stops past the Clint Eastwood mile marker on the Flinty Guy Highway. He is so bare-bones he won’t even use quotation marks.

* * * *

Throughout the book, Dow toggles back and forth between his capital cases and life with his wife and 6-year-old son in Houston. Readers who don’t care about his son’s T-ball practices or his wife’s dance classes may find this background distracting, but for Dow his family is a lifeline back from the death chamber.

It can’t be a coincidence that in a book about the brutal reality of capital punishment there is — in addition to the bourbon and cigars — a piece of steak, a rare hamburger, a piece of grass-fed sirloin or a roasted chicken on just about every other page. Dow isn’t doing high constitutional theory here; this is pure red meat.

What Dow exposes in this dark, raw memoir is not just a dispassionate machinery of death that cannot be slowed, reversed or mediated by truth, logic or fact. He also exposes the inner life of a man who, in the face of all that, cannot give up the fight.

Nobody but Dow could have told Dow’s story.
MESJ (Mississippians Educating for Smart Justice) has announced that it is bringing Professor Dow of the University of Houston to the Lemuria "Dot Com" Building on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 for a book signing and discussion. The book signing is at 5 pm and the talk will begin at 5:30.

Please join us!

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