The Sun Does Shine: Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

The Sun Does Shine: Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

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.

Anthony Ray Hinton spent 30 years on Alabama’s death row for two murders he did not commit. And it wasn’t new forensic technology that ultimately exonerated him. It was the perseverance of a handful of men and women willing to turn a mirror on the system itself.

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.

- achilles_lopez

How could anyone spend 30 years on Death Row and be exonerated and still have the faith and the love that Anthony Ray Hinton did? I haven’t cried while reading a book in a long time, but I could not hold back my tears as I lived through Mr. Hinton’s frustration with the Justice system. How blessed he was with unconditional love from his mother, his fiends Lester and Sylvia, and his God-sent lawyer, Bryan Stevenson. His observations from the darkness should give any reader a new respect for all human beings. I am so glad that he did “hang in there” so he could share his heart-wrenching journey in this profound memoir. WOW! JUST WOW!!

- egypt_kelly

Most Americans are not aware of the degree to which our justice system is compromised, racist, and increasingly bent to the will of for-profit corporations. The tragic true story of Ray Hinson’s conviction for a crime he didn’t commit and the subsequent 29 years he spent in a 5x7 cell on death row in Alabama before he proved his innocence and won his release, however, will force society’s eyes wide open. And it will be easy to do so, because Hinson tells an easy to follow, compassionate, shocking tale of what happened to him and how. Whether you come to this book with a curiosity about the injustices Hinson suffered or about the grace that he found and the faith that he followed, you’ll come away impressed and transformed. This is a book of suffering, of violence, of broken hearts - and one of resilience, the power of love, and the meaning of faith as well.

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.

- anabelle_reed

As I finish this book I can only marvel at the incredible humanity and ability to forgive of Anthony Ray. He is a beacon of light in a state and country blinded by injustice. How he was allowed stay in death row for so long as a known innocent man is incomprehensible in this day and age. The saddest thing I take from his book is that his isn't an isolated story. I am now going to read Bryan Stevenson's book as I feel I know so much about him already. These are our modern day heroes

- kelsey_foster

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - 'enjoyed' is not the right word - I went through many emotions reading about Ray Hinton's wrongfully imprisonment on Death Row for 30 years! Unbelievable - how could he have survived this! The unfairness of it all! And the sadness of all he missed in life for 30 years. He never gave up and is to be admired for 'hanging in there' and even forgiving those who trespassed him. I could not put the book down once I got into it. Fortunately, he had a few true friends that stuck by him. I was very sad when his mother passed away and he could not be with her. The unfairness of it all. A truly remarkable story and man. Hopefully some good will come from this book. I would send him my love if I could. I recommend this book.

- ariyah_ramirez

One of the best books I have ever read! I literally felt every emotion while reading this book and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s a real eye opener and really heart warming. I have never been for the death penalty (I live in England and we don’t have the death penalty) and I don’t agree with it at all. Anthony’s story not only high lights that sentencing anyone to death regardless of crime wrong and that punishment in other ways are equally appropriate, but is a perfect demonstration that the justice system is broken on the US and that even today that the system favour rich, white and guilty over poor, black and innocent. My heart breaks for the time Anthony lost and how disgustingly he was treated. It pains me to think, how many more people are there currently on death row or sentenced to life of multiple life sentences for crimes they did not commit. Thank you for sharing your story Anthony, I hope the rest of your life is filled with happiness and joy.

- leonel_morales

The true story of an innocent man who had to spend nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row before his release in 2015. I heard a radio interview with Ray Hinton which prompted me to order the book. It's amazing that, despite the many injustices he's had to endure, his own tolerance and humanity shines through. Well worth a read.

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.

- ibrahim_ruiz

This is one of the most moving and well written books I have ever read. Anthony Ray Hinton is an amazing, inspirational man and my heart breaks for what he went through. I really hope that through reading the pages of this book, the decision is made by the American government to abolish the death penalty. I have watched Mr Hinton on You Tube, he is a brilliant public speaker. A beautiful man with a beautiful soul. I love this book. The book sits on my bookshelf, it’s one book that I can’t bare to part with.

- apollo_wright

Very harrowing and challenging book but with great hope and positivity. The legal system in Alabama is clearly not fit for purpose. It is amazing that Ray Hinton has survived such a traumatic experience. Essential reading whatever your views about the death penalty.

- angelique_ross

I really want to say I enjoyed reading this book but that wouldn’t be the truth, I read it because I had to. At times I bit my nails, at others I smiled and on occasion I struggled to hold back tears. The tragedy of what happened to Anthony Ray Hinton and what may still be happening on America’s death row is beyond the comprehension of ordinary citizens. What we must do is read this endearing story of a man who overcomes an obstacle so large it would defeat most of us. To win this fight with your humour, heart and passion for life still intact is incredible; to do so with no hate in your heart puts Mr Hinton in a league unto himself. Read this book not because you want to, but because you must.

- spencer_alvarez

This is a book that you have to read the struggle that Anthony ray Hinton overcame was immense how he coped over all that time proves how determined he was to prove his innocence against a corrupt and racist system. It's a powerful story that needed telling.I would like to shake him by the hand and thank him for never giving up.

- hailey_bailey

An amazing story, an amazing man! Strength, compassion, love you can feel it all throughout this read.
Abolish the death penalty!

- amina_cooper

I heard Ray being interviewed on the radio During a car ride. I couldn't hear well as others were talking. I heard the book title and bought it on my Kindle to find out about a man who has due over 30 years on death row. It is a remarkable story of victory against the darkness of Love over hate, of the strange unfathomable ways of God who does all things well, not as we wish but how He sees is best. Ray shone for Jesus and brought light to the darkness. Until we can all love unconditionally like Ray's Mama, Lester, Bruce and Ray evil will get footholds but love breaks those footholds. Keep sharing your story Ray. Love and thanks Vicki Southport Merseyside UK.

- merrick_harris

I chose a 5 star rating because of the truth and insight into the American "Justice " system. An inspirational story of racism and prejudice. Frightening in parts, touching in others.
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.

- emory_miller

This book is one of the best I've ever read. Harrowing and one of many stains on the justice system. Its heartbreaking to follow this story. I read Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy and followed it with this book. Thought provoking and just an incredible read. If everyone read this book the world would be a better place

- abdullah_perez

Amazing book!! Beyond inspirational! Anthony Ray Hinton is such a strong person, I can’t imagine how he managed to keep so positive for 30 years!!! Thank you to him for sharing his story. Everyone should read it to realise what some people have to endure due to entrenched racism in society.

- dulce_gutierrez

Books like this should be on the national curriculum. I ignored all the God and religion, I'm an Atheist, but the context and Mr Hintons struggles and hope against impossible odds is captivating. I've never believed in the death penalty and everything in this book supports that, I challenge anyone to read this book and still believe in capital punishment. What makes it worse is Mr Hintons innocence and the institutional racism that exist in the Alabama legal system.

- addyson_campbell

This book is moving and amazing. Cannot recommend it enough. The injustice this man faced and yet his heart of forgiveness and ability to overcome was incredible. I bought 4 more copies and gave them to friends who all share my feeling in his story, they have passed their copies on too others as well.

- john_clark

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