A solid, accessible contribution to the literature of restorative justice.

WHEN SHOULD LAW FORGIVE?

A Harvard Law School professor examines when it is appropriate for the law, that instrument of punishment, to show mercy through forgiving misdeeds.

The law in this country, writes Minow (In Brown's Wake: Legacies of America's Educational Landmark, 2010, etc.), is already inclined to forgive legal misbehavior in the matter of debt, allowing for bankruptcy proceedings in the place of erstwhile debtors’ prisons. That there is stigma attached and that those who go through the process may find their credit ruined for years does nothing to diminish the fact that those with legitimate claims against the debtor are forced into a system that may pay them pennies on the dollar. Thus, while’s there no reason to take joy in bankruptcy, at least it’s a possibility that all parties settle on. Things are different when it comes to murder, individual or mass, as with the genocidal killings in parts of Africa a generation ago, when Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other leaders organized campaigns that forgave while not forgetting. Minow examines when it is appropriate for legal institutions to press for forgiveness rather than punishment. For example, what of the case of child soldiers, kidnapped and pressed into service in terrible campaigns in conflicts throughout the world? “To ask how law may forgive is not to deny the fact of wrongdoing,” writes the author of this and other problems. “Rather, it is to widen the lens to enable glimpses of these larger patterns and to work for new choices that can be enabled by wiping the slate clean.” Throughout, Minow writes evenhandedly. She observes that in the instance of presidential pardons, one vehicle for forgiveness, it all hinges on lack of corruption—lack that could not be demonstrated in the instance of Donald Trump’s pardon of disgraced Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio, nor by Bill Clinton’s pardon of big-ticket donor Marc Rich. Forgiveness works, Minow holds, but only when it is clean, unforced, and willingly extended.

A solid, accessible contribution to the literature of restorative justice.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-393-08176-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2019

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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