The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the...

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Title:The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
Author:Anthony Ray Hinton
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Edition Language:English

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row Reviews

  • Becky

    You need to read this book! Heart-wrenchingly tragic and extremely inspiring - written with true flair and style.

  • Valerity *

    Beautifully written, I really sunk my teeth into this fascinating story of the wrongful conviction of Anthony Ray Hinton, a young black man who spent 30 years on Alabama's Death Row. His crime? Nothing more than being born black and poor in Alabama. He was convicted of the robbery, kidnap and attempted murder of one man, and the brutal murder of two others in a short period of time. Similar robbery killings continued after he was locked up, but no one cared.

    All but the fact that he had an excel

    Beautifully written, I really sunk my teeth into this fascinating story of the wrongful conviction of Anthony Ray Hinton, a young black man who spent 30 years on Alabama's Death Row. His crime? Nothing more than being born black and poor in Alabama. He was convicted of the robbery, kidnap and attempted murder of one man, and the brutal murder of two others in a short period of time. Similar robbery killings continued after he was locked up, but no one cared.

    All but the fact that he had an excellent alibi for the night of the crime that he went to trial for. He was locked in a warehouse surrounded by a 15' fence topped with razor wire, doing jobs with other men, mostly driving a forklift. They had a guard that signed them in and out, miles away from the crime scene. This book is a tough story of a long struggle yet filled with inspiration at the same time, as Anthony finds ways to remain strong during his time on death row. For those interested in true crime, death row stories, and wrongful imprisonment.

    An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley, authors Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin for my honest review.

    St. Martin's Press

    Publication date is March 27, 2018.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of murder and spent 30 years on Death Row in Alabama. His cell was close enough to the execution block that all his senses knew when someone’s time had come.

    Hinton’s public defender was incompetent and so was the star witness in ballistics who happened to be blind in one eye and asked for help in doing his job. Add to that a district attorney with an axe to grind, an all white jury and judg

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of murder and spent 30 years on Death Row in Alabama. His cell was close enough to the execution block that all his senses knew when someone’s time had come.

    Hinton’s public defender was incompetent and so was the star witness in ballistics who happened to be blind in one eye and asked for help in doing his job. Add to that a district attorney with an axe to grind, an all white jury and judge, and racial tensions in Alabama, and Hinton was convicted of a crime he did not commit.

    While each day and year ticked by, Hinton never lost hope, and he was able to convince well-known attorney, Bryan Stevenson, to represent him. After jumping through all the hoops of our justice system, and several years later in doing so, the Supreme Court overturned the false conviction.

    At the very heart of this book is Hinton’s merciful, steadfast spirit. In prison, he was known for his kindness and ability to make others laugh. Outside of prison, he spends his time advocating so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

    If you need to feel uplifted, Hinton indomitably delivers.

    Thank you to Anthony Ray Hinton, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the ARC for this inspiring book. The Sun Does Shine is available now!

  • Nancy

    Last year I read Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy. It was crushing to read about a justice system based on convictions and political gain at the expense of innocent men. It led me to read I Can't Breathe by Matt Taibbi about the death of Earl Garner and also to Michelle Ko's Reading with Patrick. Each book is a moving account of the stories behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

    So when I saw that one of the Death Row inmates represented by Stevenson had written his own book I had to read it.

    R

    Last year I read Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy. It was crushing to read about a justice system based on convictions and political gain at the expense of innocent men. It led me to read I Can't Breathe by Matt Taibbi about the death of Earl Garner and also to Michelle Ko's Reading with Patrick. Each book is a moving account of the stories behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

    So when I saw that one of the Death Row inmates represented by Stevenson had written his own book I had to read it.

    Ray Hinton had a record and had paid his dues. He was working in a guarded facility when a murder took place, but an enemy in romance told police that he had seen Ray at the crime scene.

    Ray was poor. Ray was black. Ray had a record. With lousy representation, a partially blind expert witness in munitions, and the system stacked against him, he was convicted and sent to prison for murders he did not commit.

    The Sun Does Shine tells of his struggle for justice, his decline into anger and hatred, and how he found hope and acceptance. He became a model prisoner, befriending the other inmates and working to improve their lives. He asked for their food to be covered to keep out dust and insects. He asked for books to keep the inmates from dwelling on their problems. He started a book club. He kept up morale.

    Ray changed lives. A former KKK member who killed a black teenager called Ray his best friend.

    It was the continuing love of his mother and support of his best friend that kept Ray going for thirty years. Even after his mother passed, he heard her inspiring voice to keep fighting. Ray knew he had what many others on Death Row had lacked: a loving family and abiding faith.

    Bryan Stevenson was overworked but took on Ray's case. They had to fight the Alabama court system that would not accept the evidence that would prove Ray's innocence.

    When Ray was finally released he had lived on Death Row longer than he had been free. It was a shock; the world had changed. The first night of freedom he slept in the bathroom because the bedroom was too large and strange. He was given no compensation. He had no Social Security or pension or savings built up. He would have to work to support himself the rest of his life.

    I was devastated and I was inspired by Ray's story.

    Meet Mr. Hinton in a video at

    I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Debbie

    Wow, this was such a heartbreaking read.

    It also had my blood boiling. Who are these people elected in to play God? The State of Alabama should be so embarrassed.

    This was such an interesting and touching story. I read a lot of it with (I'm sure) a shocked look on my face when I could not believe all the imbecile moves being played behind the scenes with Hinton's life.

    I really found the part about Henry very interesting, as well.

    Good luck on any and all future endeavors Mr. Hinton. You deserve it.

    Wow, this was such a heartbreaking read.

    It also had my blood boiling. Who are these people elected in to play God? The State of Alabama should be so embarrassed.

    This was such an interesting and touching story. I read a lot of it with (I'm sure) a shocked look on my face when I could not believe all the imbecile moves being played behind the scenes with Hinton's life.

    I really found the part about Henry very interesting, as well.

    Good luck on any and all future endeavors Mr. Hinton. You deserve it.

    Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

  • Dianne

    Would you have the capacity to forgive those who stole almost three decades of your life through hatred and ignorance? Anthony Ray Hinton was falsely convicted of two counts of murder in a travesty of justice in 1985. Subsequent appeals were further abortions in the courts. Why?

    Anthony Ray Hinton was a young, poor black man, who had broken the law before so in the “wisdom” of the Alabama judicial system, he was sentenced to death by electrocution. Almost three decades of his life was spent on D

    Would you have the capacity to forgive those who stole almost three decades of your life through hatred and ignorance? Anthony Ray Hinton was falsely convicted of two counts of murder in a travesty of justice in 1985. Subsequent appeals were further abortions in the courts. Why?

    Anthony Ray Hinton was a young, poor black man, who had broken the law before so in the “wisdom” of the Alabama judicial system, he was sentenced to death by electrocution. Almost three decades of his life was spent on Death Row, in spite of compelling evidence that proved he could not have been the killer. Almost three decades of the life he could have had were lost forever, the children he could have fathered, the love he could have shared, any potential for contributing to society at large, gone. Who knows, maybe he would have fathered the child who grew up to cure cancer or who led the world to true peace?

    What Mr. Hinton did was just as miraculous, he changed himself, he sought peace of mind, he sought knowledge and he brought people together in the name of hope and justice. He also found a man brave enough to say, I believe in you and I will fight for you when Attorney Bryan Stevenson took his case.

    Today, Anthony Ray Hinton is a free man. Today he advocates justice and forgiveness and he believes in a God who never gave him more than he could bear. He has written of his grueling journey to freedom so the world will not forget what hatred and injustice are. He has written a book filled with undying hope through all that was lost.

    is compelling, riveting, shocking, appalling and simply astounding to realize that while we went on with our lives, someone should have to fight so desperately for their own.

    A MUST read, no matter who you are, because once read, it will NOT be forgotten, or should this dark piece of human failings ever have to be repeated.

    I received a complimentary ARC edition from St. Martin's Press!

    Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 27, 2018)

    Publication Date: March 27, 2018

    Genre: Non-Fiction | Racism | Social Sciences

    Print Length: 272 pages

    Available from:

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    For Reviews & More:

  • Karen

    An incredible story! My heart hurt for Anthony Ray Hinton, an innocent man with extraordinary patience who sat on death row in a 5x7 ft cell for 30 years. This man missed half his life due to an unconscionable travesty of justice in Alabama’s court system before finally being exonerated and set free in 2015 at 58 years old after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forget Ray’s story. Surely, the Alabama Senate will find it in their hearts to compensate this

    An incredible story! My heart hurt for Anthony Ray Hinton, an innocent man with extraordinary patience who sat on death row in a 5x7 ft cell for 30 years. This man missed half his life due to an unconscionable travesty of justice in Alabama’s court system before finally being exonerated and set free in 2015 at 58 years old after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forget Ray’s story. Surely, the Alabama Senate will find it in their hearts to compensate this man as a small token to right this egregious wrong?

    The fix was in from the start for Ray, a hard-working young black man living in racially charged Alabama. It infuriates me that people today use the ‘racist’ card when a behavior doesn’t suit them and have no idea what true racism is. Anthony Ray Hinton can educate them on that.

    “You know, I don’t care whether you did or didn’t do it. In fact, I believe you didn’t do it. But it doesn’t matter. If you didn’t do it, one of your brothers did. And you’re going to take the rap,” said District Attorney of Birmingham, David Barber as he interrogated Ray.

    The cards were stacked against Ray - a white witness carrying a grudge, a white district attorney, a white judge, a white jury. Nobody cared about the truth. Mix in an incompetent public defender and a ballistics expert blind in one eye who had trouble working the microscope and asked for help doing his job who would be crucified on the stand by the prosecutor.

    30 years in a cell nearby the room where 53 death row inmates were executed, I cannot imagine the psychological effects of being exposed long term to this barbaric practice, hearing anguished pleas, smelling burning flesh and urine…simply beyond comprehension. I was overwhelmed just thinking about it and the strength it must have taken to survive 30 years of this! I recently saw an interview of Ray, who seems to have no hate in his heart or carry a grudge. I am so inspired by his amazing spirit yet grieve for his loss of everything he’s missed out on over the years since back when Reagan was president including the love of his life, his mother, dying while he was still in prison.

    Attorney Bryan Stevenson is a shining star, a man who for years has steadfastly dedicated his life to the less fortunate and incarcerated and who fought for decades with his staff to get Ray his freedom.

    Thanks to St. Martin’s press for allowing me to read this extraordinary ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Diane S ☔

    I am not sure where to put my feelings after finishing this book. I am appalled, angry, sad but also filled with admiration for this inncent man on death row for over thirty years, who managed to retain hope and love. Not that he never got angry, he did, but he still hung on, didn't give up. He had a best friend, Lester a childhood friend who never missed visits, a mother to whom he was her baby boy, always asking him when he would be coming home, and he had his faith in God. His first lawyer in

    I am not sure where to put my feelings after finishing this book. I am appalled, angry, sad but also filled with admiration for this inncent man on death row for over thirty years, who managed to retain hope and love. Not that he never got angry, he did, but he still hung on, didn't give up. He had a best friend, Lester a childhood friend who never missed visits, a mother to whom he was her baby boy, always asking him when he would be coming home, and he had his faith in God. His first lawyer incompetent, fighting against a system prejudice that despite evidence to the contrary, would do anything for a conviction. He would also, eventually have Bryan Stevenson, the author of Just Mercy and his lawyers in the Equal justice initiative. In fact, Stevenson writes the forward in this book.

    That the criminal justice system in this country is evident just from what we see on our televisions. It seems always weekly men who have been in prison, serving long sentences are found innocent and released. This book makes this point perfectly clear. Even when the evidence was found to be faulty in his first trial, Hintons case was passed from Court to court. The amount of years this happened was beyond ridiculous, to me it was unconsciousable.

    During his time on death row, he started a book club, daydreamed his way out, to travel, pretend, allowing him the opportunity to escape mentally if he couldn't physically. Many books have left me teary eyed, but reading this book affected me so much I had tears running down my face more than once. All the things this man missed, the sorrows he endured, on being released the realization that the world had moved on in technology, and in other ways. Yet, he never lost his humanity, held on to his faith, but what he lost is beyond measure.

  • Stephanie Anze

    In 1985 Anthony Ray Hinton was accused of shooting a restaurant manager and of killing other tw0. Despite the fact that he had a solid alibi, and was in fact innocent of all charges, Hinton was found guilty and sentenced to death in Holman State Prison. Hinton was only twenty-nine at the time and believed that soon his innocence would be proven. But year after year passed and he was no closer to reclaiming his freedom back. With the help of his dear friend Lester Bailey and attorney Bryan Steven

    In 1985 Anthony Ray Hinton was accused of shooting a restaurant manager and of killing other tw0. Despite the fact that he had a solid alibi, and was in fact innocent of all charges, Hinton was found guilty and sentenced to death in Holman State Prison. Hinton was only twenty-nine at the time and believed that soon his innocence would be proven. But year after year passed and he was no closer to reclaiming his freedom back. With the help of his dear friend Lester Bailey and attorney Bryan Stevenson, Hinton finally was freed after spending thirty years on death row. This is his incredible journey.

    I have no words. This book is just phenomenal. My emotions all over the place. Anthony Ray Hinton was on death row for as long as I have been alive. His crime? Being Black and poor. Hinton was tending to his mother's garden when he was arrested. Unaware of the charge, Hinton went with the officers and did not come back home. Accused of shooting a restaurant manager and of killing two others, Hinton denied any wrongdoing. Providing an alibi for the most recent attempt, that he was 15 miles away working in a secure facility, did nothing to sway the officers. With a white prosecutor with a chip on his shoulder, a white judge, a white jury and an incompetent lawyer Hinton was convicted. It did not matter that the gun found in his mother's home had not been fired in over two decades. Before there even was a trail, he was already guilty. Hinton spent the first 3 years behind bars in silence but the remaining 27 as one of the most vocal and beloved inmates (even by the officers). With wit and humour, Hinton soon established a rapport with his fellow prisioners. He knew that many of them were guilty of the crimes they were charged with but they became his family. His spirit was not crushed. Hinton never stopped believing in God or in the redemption of the human soul.

    One of the most profound and moving chapters for me was when Hinton described the book club. In discussing books with heavily charged race themes, he talks of the white and (former) KKK member that had lynched and killed a Black teen boy. This man was in a room with 6 black men "with nothing to lose" and yet all that happened was a deep and meaningful discussion. I did not expect to get emotional when this former KKK inmate was executed but the way Hinton tells it, it really touched me, made me shed tears. Hinton's greatest asset is his ability to forgive, quite a feat considering that people literally conspired against him to put in jail to die. I have to mention Lester Bailey, Hinton's best and most dear friend. Lester deserves an award. He never missed a visit, he looked after Hinton's mother and never turned his back to his friend. And what to say about Bryan Stevenson? He worked tirelessly for 15 years to free Hinton. I have so much respect for these three men. Do not walk, run to get this book. Intense, gripping, powerful, impacful and ultimately hopeful this is easily the best book I have read thus far this year. I know that I will not be forgetting it for a long time.

    Lester Bailey (left) and Anthony Ray Hinton upon being freed from jail. AP Photo/Hal Yeager

    Bryan Stevenson (left) at press conference after the release of Anthony Ray Hinton. Source Ashley Cleek, WBHN.

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