With 1372 ratings
By: Anthony Ray Hinton, Lara Love Hardin, et al.
Purchased At: $17.99
Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection
"An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
This program includes a forward written and read by Bryan Stevenson
The Sun Does Shine is an arresting audiobook memoir of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading, written by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit
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.
Please note: Though the audio states there is a PDF to accompany this title, no PDF is currently available from the provider.
If there are books and there are novels, this is a story. It’s a powerful story full of loss, love, pain, honesty, hope, and, ultimately, survival. There is, however, no redemption here. There was no reason to ever believe that Anthony Ray Hinton was guilty of these crimes. None. But that’s not what the legal system is all about. And ultimately it is only the system that can be redeemed. The rest is just human tragedy.
I have been a peripheral witness to the legal system for a long time. And I have known many who are intimately involved in the service of justice who can say little more in defense of the system than, “It’s the best of the alternatives.” That is seldom an acceptable standard for much of anything, but it should never be an acceptable standard when we are consciously and deliberately executing people.
The problems are not simple. Thugs walk free every day for the same reasons that people like Anthony Ray are wrongly sent to death row. Truth is seldom binary. Scientific discovery is a function of probabilities, not absolutes. Facts always exist in context and must be evaluated within that context. And that context is never as simple or as one-dimensional as it seems—or we would like it to be.
The system is over-worked, the ‘jury of peers’ that may have existed in an 18th Century New England farm town is an illusion today, and our politics and our legal system have been corrupted by money at a time when the divide between rich and poor is rapidly expanding.
This is a story with elements of legal injustice, racism, and the plight of the poor. But none of these exist in isolation or is as personal, in the end, as we make them out to be. All of these things do exist at a personal level. The cause and effect, however, are structural. And that’s where both the injustice starts and where it must be confronted.
The author claims that one in ten prisoners sitting on death row today is innocent. If you doubt that I encourage you to go to your local courthouse today and observe a trial in process. You will find a lot of hard-working people; some good and some bad. But you will not find a search for truth. You will find an urgent commitment to justice as defined by the institution itself.
In the end, this is Anthony Ray Hinton’s story. And it is beautifully and simply told by Anthony Ray and Lara Love Hardin. It is, however, a story about us. We are the context. Anthony Ray and the people around him simply shine a light inside the institution that we live within. But it’s up to us to open our eyes and see. “The sun does shine.” But you have to open your eyes to see it. And that, ultimately, is the message of this book.
This is more than a must read. If this book does not become a best seller, shame on us; things are worse than I feared. It’s that important.
That Hinson was able not only to survive 30 years feet from a death chamber, but also thrive and transform many of the men he met during his incarceration speaks to this man’s great good soul and tenacity. He fights not only for his innocence, but also for the reality that he and his peers are people: men of intellect, emotion, vice, and virtue. He unpacks and reframes the narrative of hate that dominates so many of the lives that end up on The Row. He refuses to judge his fellow inmates, and even his guards. His story speaks to multiple narratives: the experiences of young black men in the post-integration era South, the crippling legacies of racial apartheid and hate, the ways in which even the most open and powerful justice system in the world has been corrupted and repurposed for agendas that have nothing to do with justice. There are subtler stories, too - the difference between the southern black experience in 1985 vs 2015, the ways in which education and loved experience has grown flimsier and more brittle in many ways over the last 40 years, the shifting demographics of death row.
There’s anger and injustice in this book, but hilarity and love and hope, too. Despite spending much of his life in a 5x7 cell, Hinson offers his readers both an unfamiliar story and a thoroughly human one. Everyone should read this book. This is America writ small in 2018: a place of shame, hate, grace, complexity - and legacies that have yet to be decided.
Although the majority of people on Alabama's death row are black and racism is arguably a factor, there have also been cases where white people have been convicted in similarly dubious circumstances.
Unbelievably, since Ray Hinton's release, Alabama has actually passed legislation to make it MORE difficult for prisoners like Ray to appeal against their convictions.
Abolish the death penalty!
Together with this book I would suggest John Grisham's "An Innocent Man".
Ray Hinton and Bryan Stevenson should receive the highest of awards. If a multi millionaire golfer can be awarded it then these 2 gentlemen deserve it.