Monday, October 09, 2006

PW on Grisham's latest: Flawed, but mercifully liberal

PW's review of John Grisham's new book, The Innocent Man, faults the non-fiction account as "simplistic," "colored by his disgust," and "tedious." But evidently the reviewer thinks it does have some redeeming values -- its politics! After first dismissing the book, the reviewer discovers a silver lining:

Still, he gives an acute picture of Williamson’s tragic life and convincingly shows the abuse of the system in America’s heartland: coerced confessions; dubious testimony by prison
snitches; forensics analysts who suspiciously change their evaluation of evidence to favor the prosecution... (emphasis added)

Evidently flyover country has a legal system that makes Club Gitmo look like a, well, club. But that's not all the reviewer finds redeeming, as the final paragraph of the review makes clear:

Despite its artistic shortcomings, the power of Grisham’s story, along with the author’s ability to reach a huge audience, could serve to focus public attention on the death penalty and the flaws in our justice system. (emphasis added)

This is a textbook example of how editorial bias can color a supposedly objective trade magazine's recommendation to the industry.



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