For the past few years, Bryan Stevenson has been a commanding presence in my life. I first learned of his organization - the Equal Justice Initiative - via my work with the former Deputy Attorney General of the NJ Office of Bias Crime. Not long after, I was taken with Stevenson's insights in "13th", Ava DuVernay's startling 2016 documentary. And the 60 Minutes interview Oprah Winfrey did with Stevenson to discuss his vision - a lynching memorial near Montgomery, Alabama - was unforgettable.
I was not surprised when "Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice And Redemption" moved me emotionally. But the stirring stories Stevenson relates in his 2014 debut are supported by sturdy prose, bracing honesty, and a strong narrative sense. Reading this excellent book reminded me how I felt the first time I heard George Benson sing. How cosmically unfair to give a singing voice that fine to such a prodigiously talented guitarist.
Stevenson is a gifted lawyer, an influential social architect, and a talented author. Damn.