Last Words of the Executed by Robert K. Elder is a compilation of the final statements of death row inmates shortly before their execution. The book, with a foreword by Studs Terkel, also describes the crime and some of the social setting of each case presented. According to a review in The Economist, “The last words are remarkable for their remorse, humour, hatred, resignation, fear and bravado…. America’s diverse heritage is stamped even onto its killers’ final moments.” Sister Helen Prejean wrote, “This is a dangerous book. Who knows how we will emerge from the encounter?” Robert Elder has written for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Salon and many other publications. He currently teaches journalism at Northwestern University.

(R. Elder, “Last Words of the Executed,” University of Chicago Press, June 2010). Posted May 28, 2010. Click here for more Books on the Death Penalty.