An engaging, heartbreaking read that cautions society and the justice system to handle exonerees with greater care.

BEYOND INNOCENCE

THE LIFE SENTENCE OF DARRYL HUNT

A painstaking reexamination of a miscarriage of justice and the devastating aftermath.

When the wrongly convicted walk free, headlines roar and justice seekers cheer, but what happens when the news crews depart? In her debut book, Zerwick, the director of the journalism program at Wake Forest, revisits a story she covered for the Winston-Salem Journal involving the life, arrest, trials, exoneration, and aftermath of Darryl Hunt. At 19, Hunt was a familiar face for local authorities due to a tough childhood and years of hard living. Despite having an alibi, Hunt was accused in the 1984 rape and murder of a White copy editor at the local paper. Despite the accusation, he maintained his innocence throughout. In portions of the retelling, Zerwick uses sharp prose alongside Hunt’s urgent journals to convey his thoughts and establish context. Hunt avoided the death penalty and spent the following two decades working with a devoted community and legal team to prove his innocence. His story garnered national attention in the mid-2000s after HBO released the documentary The Trials of Darryl Hunt. The film ends with Hunt being released and exonerated courtesy of DNA evidence, compensated nearly $2 million in restitution, and beginning his new life, which included the founding of the Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice. However, as Zerwick deftly shows, Hunt, like many who have served prison sentences, struggled with reentry into society. Hunt’s untimely death in 2016 remains somewhat shrouded in mystery; hidden substance abuse may have been one culprit, but Zerwick posits that unacknowledged PTSD was a contributing factor. “It shouldn’t be surprising that years of wrongful imprisonment would leave those who suffer such injustice scarred,” she writes, “but the depth of these scars has only recently become a subject of research.” This moving, powerful book should lead to deeper research in that area.

An engaging, heartbreaking read that cautions society and the justice system to handle exonerees with greater care.

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8021-5937-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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