Shane Claiborne, Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it's Killing Us (New York: Harper One) 2016.
I need to begin by simply stating that I have long been an opponent of the death penalty. As the brother of a murder victim, I am well aware that revenge has no place in the search for healing in the midst of grief and that the myth of closure can be dangerous for those who have been affected by serious and terrible crimes. The only path to restitution leads to the difficult and awful task of forgiveness. Having said that, I believe that Claiborne's thorough and well-written book will appeal to those who favor the death penalty and those who are opposed as a cogent argument. Even those who disagree will find his honesty and frank approach to be helpful.
Above all else, this is a book of real stories of real people. The stream of names printed across the bottom of every page represents those who have been killed by the death penalty in society's attempts at justice. The stories of victims, of those on death row, of the exonerated, and of the prison wardens and staff who participate in the system paint a picture of a system that is in need of revision and restoration.
This book is a "must-read" for people of faith who are serious about bringing their faith to the pressing social issues of our time. Those who are serious about grace and mercy need to carefully read his biblical analysis and consider the stories he tells.
This is a book that I will recommend to others often.