Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thomas Cahill

Thomas Cahill is the author of the best-selling books, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, and Mysteries of the Middle Ages: And the Beginning of the Modern World.

His new book is A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green.

From a Q & A at his website:

Many readers might be surprised by A SAINT ON DEATH ROW: The Story of Dominique Green, since they were expecting your next book to be the sixth installment of your hugely popular series, The Hinges of History™. Who was Dominique Green? What about him and his story compelled you to so significantly alter the long-planned course of your work?

Dominique Green was a young man who spent twelve years on Texas Death Row before being executed. I met him only a year before his death—in Polunsky Unit, Livingston, the antipathetic Death Row facility that stands about an hour outside Houston—but he so impressed me as a remarkable human being that I could not get him out of my thoughts. My first encounter and my subsequent experience of knowing him made such an impact on me that I felt I had no choice but to write a book about him.

How did you come to befriend Dominique? After all, most historians don't find themselves visiting death row very often.

A friend of mine, Sheila Murphy, a retired judge from Chicago, was helping with Dominique's legal appeals. She knew I was going to be in Houston just before Christmas 2003 and she urged me to visit Dominque while I was there.

Did you have an opinion about death row and the death penalty before you visited Dominique? Were your feelings changed by the visit? [read on]
Read Cahill's list of six great works about justice and injustice.

--Marshal Zeringue