HURRICANE by James S. Hirsch


The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter
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Former reporter Hirsch spins a riveting, straight-ahead account of one of the great miscarriages of justice in the history of

American criminal law, and the fight to overturn it.

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was once a popular middleweight contender. Like many black celebrities of the mid-1960s, the

physically imposing Carter, who radiated outspoken confidence, was seen as a threat by the white establishment. One night in

1966, Carter and an acquaintance named John Artis were questioned by police about a gruesome triple homicide; a few weeks

later, the two were arrested for the crime. The resulting trial, held in the racially charged town of Paterson, New Jersey, before

a predominantly white jury, introduced an array of specious prosecutorial evidence, including manufactured witnesses and a highly

dubious motive—racial revenge, for the recent barroom murder of two black persons. Nevertheless, Carter was convicted and

sentenced to three life terms. Arriving in prison, he steadfastly maintained his innocence. As an innocent man, he reasoned, he

had no responsibility to follow prison policies: He wore his own clothes, ate his own food, and, most important, devoured literary

and philosophical works and legal texts. While in stir, Carter mounted an ongoing defense of amazing clarity and sophistication

that became a cause c‚lSþbre among the radical-chic crowd (Bob Dylan immortalized the boxer in the song "Hurricane"). Carter

also wrote a book, The Sixteenth Round, which caught the attention of black Brooklyn teenager Lesra Martin, who was the

adopted ward of a white Toronto commune. The boy brought Carter’s plight to "the Canadians," as the commune members came

to be known, and before long, Carter had some very supportive friends who, along with some persistent attorneys, succeeded in

getting Carter’s and Artis’s convictions thrown out—though not in recovering nearly 20 years of the men’s lives.

A heady yarn of sports, celebrity, racism, crime, justice, and redemption. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-97985-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2000


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