Book Review: Just Mercy

JUST MERCY | Bryan Stevenson
08.18.2015 | Spiegel & Grau
Rating: 5/5 stars


Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of Stevenson’s first cases was that of Walter McMilian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he did not commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangled web of conspiracy and political machination that forever transformed his understanding of mercy and justice.

JUST MERCY is the story of Bryan Stevenson’s career as a lawyer serving to assist those most in need, but it is also the story of the corruption and misguided ways of America’s justice system. This book should be required reading in school. It is incredibly eye opening, not only to the injustices that happen to people, but how the law can support these happenings or overlook clear evidence of the truth.


While the majority of JUST MERCY focuses on Stevenson’s defence of Walter McMilian, it also includes glimpses into other heartbreaking cases Stevenson has worked on. I was moved to tears multiple times while reading this book thinking about these cases and those accused. The cases focused on the treatment of accused children probably hit me the hardest, but there was no point in reading this book that I wasn’t infuriated by the cases mentioned.

I typically opt to consume nonfiction books such as this one through audiobooks and was delighted to find that Bryan Stevenson was the narrator for his own story. It was such an amazing journey to listen to Stevenson tell about his life and his work.


There is nothing this review could say that hasn’t been said a million times over. Bottom line: read this one.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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