The Autobiography of an Execution

  • by David R. Dow
  • Narrated by David R. Dow
  • 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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."


What the Critics Say

"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.' .... Dow's book is a sobering, gripping and candid look into the death penalty." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The shortcomings of justice

I couldn't let go of this audiobook after having listened to it in a single session: non fiction that reads like a suspense novel. But apart from its ``entertainment'' value, the author makes an extremely compelling case against the death penalty as it is implemented today. Without ever boring the reader, he explains how a dangerous combination of poorly prepared / payed attorneys combined with more and more arbitrary appeal rules restrictions end up with the execution of the guilty, but also the innocent, the mentally insane etc. The real cases he reports bring the reader to tears of sadness and frustration. This should be a must read esp for everyone who supports the death penalty without really knowing how the system works!
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- Alexandra

What a difficult subject...

It seems like Dow isn't anti-death penalty as much as he is anti-unfairness in death penalty sentencing. He argues that poor and mentally challenged people are dis-proportionately sentenced to death and that whether or not someone is executed has more to do with their lawyer's skills (a.k.a. money) and the political environment at the moment than whether or not they are actually guilty.

He is believable.

He has quite a few smaller tirades against "lazy" judges who he claims are just in it because of who they know and who don't actually care about truth or justice. Perhaps he's right. How would we know otherwise?

I liked how he covered several cases, and provided some background into his life and history, and I didn't even mind his "family life" scenes because they sorta grounded the story in reality a bit. I didn't like all the detailed "dreams" he related though - what role do dreams play in a biography? Overall it was very informational and quite thought-provoking, regardless of your position on the death penalty.

The narration was good.
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- crazybatcow "I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2010
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio