On May 3, 1946, in St. Martinsville, Louisiana, a seventeen-year-old black boy was scheduled for execution by electric chair. Willie Francis had been charged with murder; his trial had been brief; his death sentence never in doubt. When the executioners flipped the switch, Willie screamed and writhed as electricity coursed through his body. But Willie Francis did not die.
Having miraculously survived, Willie was informed that the state would attempt to execute him a second time within a week. The ensuing legal battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, asking: Could the state electrocute someone twice? A gripping narrative about a brutal crime and its shocking aftermath, The Execution of Willie Francis offers a heroic—and ultimately tragic—tale of one man’s quest for moral justice in a nation still blinded by race.
“The Execution of Willie Francis is almost certainly the best book on capital punishment in America since Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song.“—CounterPunch Magazine
“Drawing on extensive research and interviews, King offers a compelling page-turner that examines American racism and justice…”—Booklist (February 2008)
“From the first page to the last, King holds our attention with gripping and disturbing details. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal (Starred Review and Editor’s Choice, February, 2008)
“King’s masterful applications of Bayou color set this book apart…Injustice, inhumanity and death, all made strangely charming and unforgettable.”—Kirkus (Starred Review, January, 2008)
“King’s masterful applications of Bayou state color set this book apart…Injustice, inhumanity and death all made strangely charming and unforgettable.”—Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Marvelous storytelling…reads like a terrific thriller.”—Bookgasm
“a wrenching, breathtaking true story of murder.” —Tucson Citizen –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.