trade paperback, 10″ x 7″, 148 pages. $13.00, ISBN: 1438277733
Since 1982, more than 400 executions have taken place in Texas. No other state in the nation executes its citizens like Texas, a state that clearly has a love affair with the death penalty. Detour to Death Row is the story of David Atwood — a retired oil company engineer, committed Christian, student of nonviolence and tireless activist — and his 15-year effort to abolish the death penalty in Texas. It is also the story of the people he met on his journey: men and women on death row, their families, the families of the victims, and fellow death penalty activists across the globe. It is the story of a failed system of retribution and a story of hope that there is a better way of justice.
About the author: David Atwood, a retired oil company engineer, has spent more than 15 years working to abolish the death penalty in Texas. He is the founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. David lives in Houston.
Praise for Detour to Death Row:
“Dave Atwood’s Detour to Death Row is an incredible journey which shows what can happen to a person who allows God to enter his life and lead him on different path. Who would have thought that an engineer working for an oil company would one day be leading the fight to abolish the death penalty in the state which leads the nation in executions? Dave’s story is an inspiration to me, personally, and to anyone who believes in the sanctity of all human life.”
Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking (Random House, 1993) and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions (Random House, 2004)
“Dave Atwood is a dedicated advocate for human rights who has worked tirelessly against the death penalty for many years. This work is particularly difficult in Texas where officials strongly support capital punishment. Dave’s book is a wonderful description of how he grew into this work and organized efforts in Texas to oppose this inhumane form of punishment. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in creating a more civilized society.”Frances (Sissy) Farenthold, Texas legislator, attorney and educator
“David Atwood is one of those rare human beings who do their best to be human: never focused on himself, ironic, mild, a believer of human life and human dignity under any circumstance. He walks in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and other great American peacemakers to help us discover a humanity without revenge and brutality and to use forgiveness and compassion to heal the wounds of the victims, ourselves and our society. David takes us on a pilgrimage from Hell to Paradise in a small Dante’s Comedy, a journey to death row where we hear astonishing stories and meet incredible human beings. Texans — and all of us — must be grateful to this man who never gives up the dream and the hard work of helping a reluctant society reject the old, primitive law of ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.'”Mario Marazziti, spokesperson for the Community of Sant’Egidio and co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
“A fascinating narrative of the journey of David Atwood, a stubborn oil company engineer, who decided to take on the State of Texas and its death penalty law, successfully putting the national and international spotlight on Texas’ Killing Machine. Atwood’s gutsy and unrelenting pursuit of abolition has already resulted in major legislative, political and judicial changes in the law, but most importantly, Atwood and his Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, have had a significant impact on the most important court in America — the court of public opinion.”Joan M. Cheever, author of Back From the Dead: One Woman’s Search for the Men Who Walked Off America’s Death Row (Wiley, 2006)
“Detour to Death Row is an important source for teachers and students who want to know about the reality of the death penalty in Texas. David Atwood has detailed in numerous cases how Texas carries out its brutal system of state extermination. He has also included many documents from anti-death penalty organizations to demonstrate the horrific character of Texas’s capital punishment system. This is a significant contribution from the founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: Atwood shows how a campaign for human rights can be waged.”Roger C. Barnes, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas