Thoughts on Michael Morton’s Book

The Michael Morton case is one of the biggest stories in Texas criminal justice news during the past 10 years. The story is a lot more than just a tale about an innocent man who spent more than 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It’s also a fascinating look into the darker side of criminal prosecution. Who better than Michael Morton himself to tell the story? His memoir is about a young man who suffered a grave injustice at the hands of lazy and arrogant police and a prosecutor from hell over in legendarily unfair Williamson County. But Morton’s book is also the personal story of how Morton coped with living all those years in a TDCJ prison and still coming out as a kinder, gentler, and more enlightened version of a man who was, by all accounts, a pretty good guy to begin with.

I bought Mr. Morton’s book about a week ago, “Getting Life”. I have to admit, I was skeptical that Morton would be capable of writing a book that would be written well enough to excuse him for not hiring a ghost writer or biographer. Well, I finished his book the other night, and I must say, I was completely blown away by how well he articulated his thoughts. He is a very good writer, and even if he had a little editorial assistance, there is no doubt that his book is his story, in his own words.

Michael Morton Book Cover Getting Life

I highly encourage anyone who has any interest in Texas criminal justice issues to buy Morton’s book!  Here’s the link to purchase it on Amazon.com:

 http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Life-Innocent-25-Year-Journey/dp/1476756821/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Reviews of the book have been very positive. In fact, of the 165 reviews on Amazon.com, 92% of the reviews gave the book 5 Stars, and the other 8% gave the book 4 Stars. Not one review below 4 Stars, not a single one. Wow!

Aside from the 165 reviews on Amazon.com, consider the following high profile reviews of Morton’s book:

“Morton poignantly recounts half a lifetime spent behind bars and underscores the glaring errors of our justice system.” (Oprah.com)

“A stunning memoir…A great deal has been written about the shortcomings of the American criminal justice system, but perhaps nothing more searing than Morton’s book, ‘Getting Life.’ It is a devastating and infuriating book, more astonishing than any legal thriller by John Grisham…Morton is able to deliver this aching and poignant look at the criminal justice system only because he didn’t get a death sentence. ” (Nicholas Kristof The New York Times)

“Imagine spending twenty-five years in prison for a murder you did not commit. Imagine the murder victim was your wife, the love of your life. And imagine it all happened because prosecutors and law enforcement officials cooked up a case against you and hid evidence that would have identified the real killer. Michael Morton doesn’t have to imagine, because he lived it. It’s usually a cliché to say someone has been to hell and back, but in Morton’s case that is exactly what happened, and his stunning and lyrical account of the journey will break your heart, then make you mad, and finally fill you with hope.” (David R. Dow, Founder of Texas Innocence Network and author of The Autobiography of an Execution and Things I’ve Learned from Dying: A Book About)

“A true Texas story of how our system of justice can itself be criminal. Michael Morton’s powerful tale will take you with him into mourning, into prison, and finally, thankfully, back out into the light.” (Dan Rather)

“[An] eloquent, page-turning memoir.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Even for readers who may feel practically jaded about stories of injustice in Texas – even those who followed this case closely in the press – could do themselves a favor by picking Michael Morton’s new memoir…It is extremely well-written, insightful, infuriating, and, in places, quite funny.” (The Austin Chronicle)

“A lively and intimate account of his rise from pariah to celebrated survivor after DNA evidence and determined lawyers proved his innocence after 25 years in prison…What makes Morton’s story so intriguing is the ease with which most people can put themselves in his place — the victim of a crime treated like a criminal — and wonder if they could cope, let alone survive.” (Austin American-Statesman)

“A jarring testament that truth really can be stranger than fiction…the writing is snappy and clean, with more wit than one might expect.” (San Antonio Express-News)

I don’t want to give away all of the rich insights and perspectives Morton shares with his readers, but I was really interested in finding out precisely how the police and prosecutors ended up getting Morton locked up with a life sentence for murdering his wife, when in fact, he loved her dearly and would never have even dreamed of doing such a thing. That story is the one that people need to experience. Although Morton’s case is remarkable, it is worth wondering how many innocent people are sitting in prison who were armed with far less brainpower,  and far less qualified legal representation.

 

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