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The Innocent Man:  Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
The Innocent Man Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
Author: John Grisham
John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. — In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue h...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780385517232
ISBN-10: 0385517238
Publication Date: 10/10/2006
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 535

3.6 stars, based on 535 ratings
Publisher: Doubleday
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
This book is a step out of Grisham's normal writing. Normally, of course, he writes fiction.
This book is every ounce the truth, and involves not one innocent man put on death row, but really three. All because of one small towns incompetent prosecutor and police.
The harrowing tale reads just like a work of fiction; you have to remind yourself every so often that someone truly suffered through this.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
true crime AND written by a well-known author. I appreciate that Grisham has a reputation to uphold and therefore I know that I have a better chance of getting a well-rounded version of the story. This is not true with all true crime novels. It is an interesting read, makes me glad I live in the DNA test era.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I thought this was a great book. It's the true story of men wrongly imprisoned because we didn't have the techology we have now, because some men made deals and because certain law enforcement wanted to close the case....all of which I thought was very interesting, of course. But I also found it interesting and thought provoking to see what the false imprisonment did to the personalities and psyche of the men...those who wouldn't give up and those who did. Definitely a good read.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I'm glad I read this book, but it is not your typical John Grisham. At times I felt detached, as if reading a blow by blow account, when I wanted to read a story instead. In the authors notes he states that he could have written 5,000 pages. I think he had a hard time deciding what to put in and what to cut and it seemed a little fragmented. BUT, it is a good story and will make you think about the justice system and how sometimes instead of being blind, it has on blinders.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I really enjoyed this book. Grishom was able to hold my interest throughout the book. The story of Ron Williamson is a tragic one that needed to be told. I hope Oklahoma's judicial system has cleaned up its act!!
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reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 569 more book reviews
I've found it to be a drag like other Grisham stories.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 96 more book reviews
It was a long, sometimes tedious read, but I was compelled to see it through to the end even though I knew the outcome. I found myself getting angrier as I read the fabricated evidence against these men (Williamson/Fritz and Ward/Fontenot), but continually asked myself what I would have believed had I been a citizen of Ada at that time. Hindsight is 20-20; John Grisham didnt build this case overnight and it certainly didnt come to him in a dream. Along with Robert Mayers The Dreams of Ada, Grisham spent endless hours seeking out court records and reading volumes of testimony about the original accounts of the evidence and trials in these two murders. In addition, he interviewed many of the people mentioned in his book and toured the prisons as well. Once all the facts were gathered he was able to put them together so that the end result was ALL the evidence, whether hidden, fabricated, manipulated or true. We, as judge and jury after the fact, are able to see the whole story whereas residents and jurors at that time only had the facts as presented to them by people, educators and expert witnesses of their town and surrounding counties people trusted for seeking truth and justice. Im appalled that these men (all four of them) were found guilty, but not surprised. My hope and prayer, as well as Mayers and Grishams, is that Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot will also have an opportunity for a fair retrial where all the facts can be presented and the truth revealed, whatever that truth is. Of course, as Grisham mentions at the end, there is no forensic evidence so DNA testing cannot be done.

Sadder still is the tragic deterioration of Williamsons mental health. Granted, he was his own worst enemy, but surely somewhere in the system he fell through the cracks over and over again when he was unable to care for himself properly and when his meds were administered NOT for his benefit, but to manipulate his behavior to suit those who were in control to use his outbursts to their advantage during the trials. This is a very sad tale of injustice and social out casting.

Oh, that we could only learn from the experiences of others.
reviewed The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town on + 5 more book reviews
I found this to be an excellent read. It held my attention throughout. Very scary to know what our legal system is capable of doing without being held responsible or even being detected until the damage is done. A page turner and eye opener.

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Original Publication Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
People/Characters
Ron Williamson (Primary Character)
Dennis Fritz (Primary Character)
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