In the Place of Justice

  • by Wilbert Rideau
  • Narrated by Dominic Hoffman
  • 16 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From Wilbert Rideau, the award-winning journalist who spent 44 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 19. 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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What the Critics Say

“Uplifting . . . [Especially] his self-reclamation through tough, committed journalism in an unpropitious setting . . . Rideau’s story is a compelling reminder that rehabilitation should be the focus of a penal system.” (Publishers Weekly)
“If years in solitary confinement and on death row shaped and refined the young killer, Wilbert Rideau, it can surely be said that Rideau did as much for the prison that held him longest, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. This is a breathtaking and, ultimately, triumphant story of rehabilitation through endurance and courageous journalism. It is also a searing indictment of a broken, corrupt penal system that does far more damage than good to our society as a whole. This is an extraordinary book.” (Ted Koppel)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rideau and Hoffman are BRILLANT!!

A passionate autobiography that is both lyrical and understated in its portrayal of a life tragic, but redemptive, especially in Rideau's relentless quest for fairness, justice and humanity, and a justice system that is corrupt, prejudicial and maniacal. Hoffman's narration is exceptional, and as in all his other work, captures the spirit and essence of character, setting, tone, and mood.

It is an extremely difficult task to give an unemotional yet realistic portrayal of Angola State Prison from 1960 to the present, as well as discuss the historical, societal and emotional aspects of murder and capital punishment from the point of view of one man, yet this writing and narration does all of this and more, transcending bias, class, race and law to show both the good and the evil that reside in a contradictory dichotomy in all men. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!
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- Gary Kastal

Unbelievably enlightening one of my top 2 books!!!

Well written, very interesting & enlightening. **EXCELLENT choice in narration by: Dominic Hoffman.

I don't feel this book should be judged/rated by one's opinion of the author's past. Judge this obviously well written book with it's amazing story line and perspective. Or stay in your little, close minded world and condemn him but never his amazing book!
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- gifts4444you

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-27-2010
  • Publisher: Random House Audio