GETTING OUT by Edgar Smith


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Dedicated to William F. Buckley, Jr. -- ""for everything"" -- Smith's recital of how he gained his freedom after doing time on Death Row for the New Jersey rape-slaying of Victoria Zielinski in 1957 is a symphony of self-vindication, fully orchestrated for applause from that curious audience which is still wondering if justice played second fiddle to a sly technical virtuoso. Like Brief Against Death (1968), it's a very informal, personal, staccato performance -- there's a wave to his mother ""from the waist, just a fluttering of my captured hands""; there's the guard who grins; there's that first night of freedom after fourteen years when ""halfway to New York City, on the Pulaski Skyway, my eyeballs almost fell out as we drove past a drive-in theater. Right where you could see it from every car driving by was a twenty-foot, fang-toothed vampire eating the neck of a twenty-foot naked chick!!! Slow down, dammit! Slow down! This I gotta see!"" There's also considerable pseudo-lawyer talk devoted to excoriating the American legal system, particularly as manifested by New Jersey courts and prosecutors, even if at the end the good Mr. Smith did take full advantage of every technicality, even as he delivered his confession -- all in the interest of getting out. People will read Getting Out without necessarily buying it.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1972
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan