A harrowing chronicle of a fight for justice.



An account of the anti-Castro hatred that infected 1990s Miami.

In 1996, a Cuban jet fighter downed a plane flying over Cuban airspace dropping anti-Castro leaflets, a mission sanctioned by Miami’s right-wing Cuban exiles. Immediately, the enraged Cuban community called for justice, and five men—none of whom had been in Cuba at the time—were arrested, tried, convicted for spying, and imprisoned in the United States. One of them, Gerardo Hernández, received 2 life sentences. Ten years later, eminent trial lawyer Garbus (The Next 25 Years: The New Supreme Court and What It Means for Americans, 2007, etc.), after reading more than 20,000 pages of trial transcript and “a mountain of connected documents,” decided to represent Hernández to reverse his conviction, convinced that his client was innocent and had been denied a fair trial. By the time he took the case, Garbus already had a distinguished career defending prominent dissidents, including Daniel Ellsberg, Cesar Chavez, and the Cuban poet Heberto Padilla. Although he realized that Hernández’s case was “nearly hopeless,” he admits that “by psychology, instinct, and training, I respond to injustice by running toward it, to see what I can do to correct it.” The trial of the Cuban Five, as the defendants came to be known, was rife with misconduct: an inexperienced judge who rejected six motions for a change of venue, forcing the trial to proceed in a community “actively organized against the defendants”; inflammatory pre-trial publicity that amounted to a “propaganda crusade”; ineffective defense strategy; and an inevitably biased jury. Garbus chronicles his efforts to win justice for Hernández, a combination of dogged work, luck, surprising new evidence, and an evolving political climate in which a thaw in Cuban–U.S. relations seemed possible. He movingly portrays the pain, degradation, and hardship his client experienced as well as his own frustrations with prison officials who “complicated and interfered” with his work in every way possible. His impassioned book is both an indictment of the legal system and a plea for prison reform.

A harrowing chronicle of a fight for justice.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-446-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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