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In the Place of Justice

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: Biography & Memoir

In the Place of Justice

Wilbert Rideau

Wilbert Rideau was sentenced to death for killing a woman in 1961 in America's segregated deep south. Imprisoned for forty-four years in the most violent prison in America. This is his remarkable memoir, of redemption against all the brutal odds, of remorse, and of finding love.

eBook (ePUB/MOBI)?
9781847654649 (6 Jan 2011)

About the book

In 1961, young, black, eighth-grade dropout Wilbert Rideau despaired of his small-town future in the segregated deep south of America. He set out to rob the local bank and after a bungled robbery he killed the bank teller, a fifty-year-old white female. He was arrested and gave a full confession.

When we meet Rideau he has just been sentenced to death row, from where he embarks on an extraordinary journey. He is imprisoned at Angola, the most violent prison in America, where brutality, sexual slavery and local politics confine prisoners in ways that bars alone cannot. Yet Rideau breaks through all this and finds hope and meaning, becoming editor of the prison magazine, going on to win national journalism awards.

Full of gritty realism and potent in its evocation of a life condemned, Rideau goes far beyond the traditional prison memoir and reveals an emotionally wrought and magical conclusion to his forty-four years in prison.

About the author

Wilbert Rideau has won many journalism awards. He was editor of the Angolite, the first prison publication to be nominated for a National Magazine Award. It was nominated seven times under his editorship. He also co-directed the documentary The Farm which was nominated for an Oscar. He now lives in Louisiana.


A book that moves without letup to an ending that's alive with suspense

- Elmore Leonard

A series of stunning journalistic revelations... quite simply, no prison memoir in recent memory contains prose as deft or as riveting

- David Friend, Vanity Fair

This is a breathtaking and, ultimately, triumphant story of rehabilitation through endurance and courageous journalism.It is also a searing indictment of a broken, corrupt penal system that does far more damage than good to our society as a whole. This is an extraordinary book.

- Ted Koppel, BBC

To hold in your hand a book like this is a small miracle. Rideau's endurance and strength of spirit are an amazement, models for all humankind. I found his story to be utterly gripping and it will not be giving anything away to say that I have not read such a happy ending in a long, long time.

- Ted Conover, author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing

Candid ... poignant... Rideau is the rarest of American commodities - a man who exited a penitentiary in better shape than when he arrived

- David Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Subject: Biography & Memoir