“Just Mercy” Named Among Year’s Best Books


Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy premiered as a New York Times Best Seller and has received rave reviews since its October release. In the past few weeks, the book has been included on multiple high-profile year-end lists.

The New York Times included Just Mercy on its list of 100 Notable Books of 2014, characterizing it as “an activist lawyer’s account of a man wrongfully convicted of murder that reads like a call to action.”

Just Mercy has also been named one of Time’s Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2014. The magazine wrote that it presents “stories that illustrate the excesses and inherent prejudices of capital punishment.”

Esquire Magazine named Just Mercy one of the 5 Most Important Books of 2014, and wrote of Bryan Stevenson: “He is taking on the incompetence, inequities, and the simple, confounded clumsiness of an overworked system that grinds up too many people and delivers far too little of what it’s supposed to deliver.”

Just Mercy is also one of five books nominated for “Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction” for the 2015 NAACP Image Awards.

When the book was released, it received widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times Book Review said that “the message of the book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made.” The Washington Post Book Review praised Bryan Stevenson as “a gifted writer and storyteller” and called Just Mercy a “work of style, substance and clarity.”

Following on his column describing Just Mercy as “searing” and “moving,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof featured EJI in his annual holiday Gifts That Inspire guide: “Equal Justice Initiative fights an uphill battle against mass incarceration. It is a lifeline for innocent people who have been railroaded, and for children in prison. Donations finance its work as the conscience of the justice system.”

Washington Post columnist Ruth Markus recently wrote that “to read Just Mercy is also to be lifted up. Stevenson’s dedication to the poorest, most helpless clients — children and the mentally ill, the wrongly accused and the abysmally represented, all caught in the unforgiving web of the law — will reaffirm your faith in the capacity of the individual to extract justice from a system that too often seems disinclined to dispense it.”

We are thrilled that the success of Just Mercy is helping to raise awareness about EJI’s work challenging poverty and racial injustice, advocating for equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and creating hope for marginalized communities.