Cover image for The Sun Does Shine
Title:
The Sun Does Shine

How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row (Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection)
Author:
Hinton, Anthony Ray

Hardin, Lara Love

Stevenson, Bryan
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography
Sociology
African American Nonfiction
Nonfiction
Description:
Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 SelectionThe Instant New York Times Bestseller A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit."An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity."—Archbishop Desmond TutuIn 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty–nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty–seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty–four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton's memoir tells his dramatic thirty–year journey and shows how you can take away a man's freedom, but you can't take away his imagination, humor, or joy.
Publisher:
St. Martin's Publishing Group

St. Martin's Press
Date:
2018/03/27
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

The Instant New York Times Bestseller

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

"An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity."
--Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence--full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon--transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton's memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man's freedom, but you can't take away his imagination, humor, or joy.


Author Notes

Anthony Ray Hinton is an African American man who spent 28 years on death row in Alabama. He was convicted of two murders that he did not commit. He was released in April 2015. His memoir is entitled, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, published in March 2018.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this intense memoir, Hinton recounts his three-decade nightmare: awaiting execution for crimes he didnt commit. In 1985, Hinton, then 29, was charged with a series of violent robberies as well as the murders of two restaurant managers in Birmingham, Ala. Hinton passed a polygraph test and was in a locked warehouse during one robbery, but that didnt prevent an all-white jury from finding him guilty after only two hours (the death penalty recommendation took another 45 minutes). Hinton here provides a convincing description ofcontinued segregation and injustice in the deep South that cages the underclass as effectively as prison walls. His depictions of prison life are wrenching, as when he recalls the 1987 electric chair execution of Wayne Ritter and how the smell of Rittersburning fleshburned my nose and stung my throat. Forced to hone his mind to withstand overwhelming isolation, Hinton read voraciously and studied his case. With the unwavering support of his mother and his best friend, Hinton created a fulfilling life for himself, which included running a book club for death row inmates. After many years, his dogged pursuit of justice led civil rights attorney Bryan Stephenson to adopt his cause. Hinton was freed from prison in 2015, and now works as a motivational speaker. Hintons life is one of inspiration, which he wonderfully relays here in bitingly honest prose. (Mar.)


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In 2015, Hinton was released after serving nearly 30 years half of his life on Alabama's death row for crimes he didn't commit. His memoir, collaboratively written with Hardin, is a troubling, moving, and ultimately exalting journey through the decades Hinton lived under the threat of death while an unjust system that refused to acknowledge mistakes failed him repeatedly. After barely speaking during his first years on the row, Hinton's natural friendliness and compassion compelled him to connect with his fellow inmates and start a book club. As he experienced the executions of these new friends, Hinton learned to rely on his imagination which took him from his five-by-seven cell to places he'd never been and never take for granted the unconditional love of his mother and best friend, who never missed a visiting day. Hope eventually appeared in the form of God's best lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy (2014). It would take Stevenson and his team, working tirelessly, another 15 years to win Hinton back his freedom. Even more powerful than the crushing terror of serving a death sentence while innocent are Hinton's refusal to be diminished by it and his unwavering commitment to forgiveness. Lighting unfathomable places, Hinton's gripping story asks readers to do the same. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a huge print run, Hinton's incredible story and social-justice star Stevenson, who wrote the foreword, will draw major attention.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

WE'RE barreling toward summer, with long drives and leisure hours ahead. It's the time of year when friends who know I'm an audiobook nut ask for suggestions. Podcasts offer more flash and dazzle, but I still love the long arc of books "on tape" as an antidote to the shattered attention span of a Twitter-fied society. Recommendations can be tricky (unless the friend hasn't heard my recent favorite, Amor Towles's wonderful novel "A Gentleman in Moscow," read with wry sadness and perfect comic timing by Nicholas Guy Smith. You're welcome). What follows is an eclectic list of audiobooks that might provide ideas for your next summer drive. LET ME LIE, by Clare Mackintosh. Read by Gemma Whelan. (Penguin Audio; 11 hours, 56 minutes.) Ideal listener: Mystery addicts. Ideal trip: Long drives in the countryside, preferably across moors. The mystery writer Clare Mackintosh's first book, "I Let You Go," won an enthusiastic reception when it was published in 2016, and she has become known for her solid descriptions of police work, her previous profession. This third novel opens with Anna Johnson trapped in a fog of grief over the loss of her parents, who committed suicide at the same seaside cliff, months apart. But were they suicides? Is there a paranormal angle? Things are not as they seem. The twists and turns provide adequate entertainment, but Mackintosh plods until the last scenes of the book. The most satisfying thread concerns the private life of Murray Mackenzie, a retired detective who becomes involved in Anna's case, and who cares for a mentally ill wife. Their story alone would make a fine novel, even without the suicides. Or were they murders? The audiobook's narrator, Gemma Whelan (who also plays Yara Greyjoy on "Game of Thrones"), goes for an even, steady delivery that suggests the protagonist may be a bit slow on the uptake. Her measured tone further hints at her knowledge that, while this book is a mystery, it is no thriller. THE SUN DOES SHINE, by Anthony Ray Hinton. Read by Kevin R. Free. (Macmillan Audio; 9 hours, 11 minutes.) Ideal listener: Anyone interested in wrongful incarceration and racial justice. Ideal trip: To Montgomery, Ala., to see the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Anthony Ray Hinton spent nearly three decades behind bars for murders he did not commit, railroaded through the legal system and landing on death row. When Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and the man Hinton calls "God's best lawyer," finally won his release, Hinton's tearful statement as he left the prison was, "The sun does shine." How Hinton survived those long years is a story of resilience and imagination, of faith and the support of his mother and friends. He speaks of his rage over his conviction, and of ultimately coming to forgive those who wronged him - including an inept defense lawyer and the prosecutor who locked him away even though the gun supposedly used in the crimes (which belonged to Hinton's mother) had not been fired in years, among other obvious flaws in the case. "They were a shameful lot of sad men, and I prayed for their souls." The actor Kevin R. Free performs this work with flashes of anger cast over a deep humility, and captures the sense of humor that Hinton was, incredibly, able to hold on to during his long years in solitary confinement - his affability could get even prison guards to smile. This is a story that enrages and inspires. COMMON GROUND, by Justin Trudeau. Read by Colm Feore. (Audible Studios; 8 hours, 5 minutes.) Ideal listener: All those people who said they'd move to Canada if Donald Trump was elected. Ideal trip: That drive to Prince Edward Island. Justin Trudeau published this election memoir in 2014 on his way to becoming prime minister of Canada. As such, it has many of the flaws endemic to these hardcover sales brochures. Even so, it's not every national leader who writes about his tattoos, or his time in the boxing ring, or snowboarding. A celebrity since birth - the son of a groundbreaking prime minister and a flamboyant mother who struggles with bipolar disorder - Trudeau shares an engaging life story that would be worth reading whatever his aims. But it's worth noting that "Common Ground" was written for a Canadian audience, so American listeners are going to have less familiarity with the politics of our northern neighbors; he assumes we are passionate about national issues like the 1992 Charlottetown Accord. You might Google. Or not. Trudeau reads an introduction to the book himself, but leaves the rest of the text to the capable Colm Feore, who gets across the author's essential likability and youthful energy. He seems, at times, not to know whether Trudeau's words should be performed as a political stump speech or an earnest sermon, but that is not surprising, since the prime minister's tone wobbles from one mode to the other, with a smidgen of TED Talk thrown in. FAILURE IS AN OPTION, by H. Jon Benjamin. Read by the author. (Penguin Audio; 4 hours, 58 minutes.) Ideal listener: Fans. Ideal trip: Long drives without the kids in the car. H. Jon Benjamin is best known as a voice actor in two animated series, "Archer" and "Bob's Burgers." He is, in other words, a successful purveyor of comedy. But he is also, by his own admission, a schlub. He frames this "attempted memoir" as a "polemic in favor of failure." He does not advise absolute, crushing failure, but appropriately lowered expectations that let us accept our limitations. "The task at hand is to bring failure into your life, accept it, and then find the right amount that suits you." With this facetious self-help framework in place, he runs through a string of hit-ormiss anecdotes about, for example, the sexual threesome he didn't actually end up taking part in, and the fajitas that he, a very bad waiter, could not deliver to tables while they were still sizzling. How hard you'll laugh at these stories will depend on whether you find things like colitis and diarrhea funny. I didn't think I would. I was wrong. I am ashamed to say that his entirely gross and unprintable recollection of driving from LAX Airport to Pasadena and unsuccessfully fighting off the effects of a colitis flare-up had me laughing out loud. Of course, it's that voice. SEASONS OF MY MOTHER, by Marcia Gay Harden. Read by the author. (Simon & Schuster Audio; 8 hours, 34 minutes.) Ideal listener: Fans, but also anyone with family members who suffer from dementia. Ideal trip: Solo, elegiac wanderings. Marcia Gay Harden, best known for her roles in films like "Mystic River," "Miller's Crossing" and "Pollock," opens this partmemoir, part-tribute to her mother by describing a different book the two had been collaborating on before Beverly Harden developed Alzheimer's. The book was going to be about ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging that became an enormous part of Beverly's life after her naval officer husband's tour of duty in Japan. The disease, and other tragedies in the women's lives, stole the project away. But flowers and their meaning run through this intergenerational story, organized around the seasons and the blooms they bring to mind, Marcia's childhood and her sometimes-spiky relationship with her parents. The description of her mother's drift into the limbo of Alzheimer's will be familiar to anyone dealing with a family member who has dementia, but the author sees through what has been lost. "When all is said and done - even without memory - what still exists is love." There is beauty here, and tragedy, though the prose can be, forgive me, flowery. But as an actor, Harden uses the persuasive strength of her voice to inhabit every line. JOHN schwartz is a climate change reporter for The Times and the author of "This Year I Put My Financial Life in Order."


Kirkus Review

An urgent, emotional memoir from one of the longest-serving condemned death row inmates to be found innocent in America.One night in July 1985, Hinton was locked in a secure warehouse of a supermarket for his overnight shift when, 15 miles away, the assistant manager of a local restaurant was kidnapped at gunpoint, robbed, and shot in the head. Less than a week later, police showed up at Hinton's house to arrest him for that crime and the murders of two other local Alabama restaurant managers. Hinton was black, 29, living at home with his mother, and innocent of all charges. At his trial, his lawyer presented an incompetent defense that failed to refute the state's distorted evidence and several witnesses' false claims. Hinton was found guilty of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to death by electric chair. For the next three decades, he maintained his innocence in solitary confinement on Alabama's death row, where he watched more than 50 men led past his cell to the execution chamber just 30 feet away. The truth of Hinton's innocence and his unshakable faith in God helped him cope with prison life and several failed repeal attempts until Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, eventually took up his case and brought it all the way to the Supreme Court. After nearly 30 years, all charges against Hinton were dropped, and he was released from prison in 2015. Woven into vivid descriptions of life behind bars are flashbacks to the author's childhood, court transcripts, police documents, news clippings, and correspondence that reveal the roles racism, poverty, and fear played in creating a deeply biased criminal justice system that punishes the poor and people of color. Stevenson (Just Mercy, 2014) provides a powerful foreword.A heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about truth, justice, and the need for criminal justice reform. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

In 1985, Hinton was arrested for murder, found guilty, and sentenced to death by electric chair in Alabama. However, Hinton was working in a locked warehouse at the time of the shooting. This audiobook tells the tale of Hinton's early life, the trial, and the next 30 years he spent on death row. The most remarkable aspect of Hinton was and is his ability to see happiness in every situation. He even told his prosecutor that he loved him after the trial. Civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy) learned of the case years later and helped to exonerate Hinton in 2015. A foreword voiced by Stevenson brings the listener into Hinton's world immediately. Narrator Kevin R. Free performs the book perfectly as he reads Hinton's powerful tale. VERDICT Any person who follows the Innocence Project in the news and those who watched Making a Murderer on Netflix will be amazed at Hinton's perseverance throughout his incarceration and years on death row. ["A must for anyone involved in criminal justice. Suggested reading for anyone interested in learning more about death row and its horrors": LJ 4/1/18 starred review of the St. Martin's hc.]--Jason L. Steagall, formerly with Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.