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Seventy Times Seven

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Seventy Times Seven by Alex Mar
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Mar 28, 2023 | ISBN 9780593671269 | 785 Minutes

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  • Mar 28, 2023 | ISBN 9780525522157

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  • Mar 28, 2023 | ISBN 9780525522164

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Praise

“A compassionate account of mercy for a teenage girl on death row . . . [this book] demonstrate[s] the impact that great true crime can have . . . giv[ing] a full accounting not just of the details of the crimes but of the lives of those affected by violence, exploring whether the legal system can truly provide justice.” —Sarah Weinman, The New York Times

“Haunting . . . You’ll find yourself lying awake in the small hours, turning it over and over in your mind . . . Seventy Times Seven is a book about the promise and limits of empathy—the ways in which we see one another, and the ways in which we cannot . . . Seventy Times Seven gives readers an unflinching glimpse into brutality, pain, loneliness, rage and revenge, and asks if regret, compassion, mercy and forgiveness can be enough to bridge the gulfs of race, class and ideology that so often divide us . . . Full of questions and painful ambiguities—and Mar is courageous enough to leave most of her questions unanswered.” —Rosa Brooks, The Washington Post

“Riveting . . . [Mar] chronicles Cooper’s case with sensitivity and addresses challenges of juvenile punishment with insight . . . A probing and moving book.” The Wall Street Journal

“Mar’s narrative is probing, careful, elegant, and sure; each page yields a new dimension of the story and requires us to reengage with the facts anew. This is a complicated tale, gracefully told, that will engross readers for years to come.” New York Magazine (The Best Books of 2023)

“[An] intimate and highly sympathetic account. Anyone moved by Bryan Stevenson’s memoir, Just Mercy, will find Mar’s book a compelling companion piece on the issue of crime and punishment in America. It’s a story that beautifully marries tragedy and hope, illuminating some of the worst and best of which human beings are capable.” BookPage

“In the hands of a less capable journalist and writer, the nuances of Paula Cooper’s death penalty trial, the examination of her previous, horrifying home life, and the very question of what constitutes justice might all become too much for one book to bear the weight of, but Alex Mar never falters. Instead, she simply digs deeper, talks to more people, and ultimately gets as close to the truth as she possibly can through dogged research and clear, concise storytelling. The result, Seventy Times Seven: A True Story of Murder and Mercy, stands as not only riveting but also as a meditation on a broken justice system, the idea of forgiveness when the circumstances are so grim, and the nature of justice itself.—Shondaland

“The only way this country will ever free itself of the moral stain that is capital punishment is through stories like the one Mar tells in Seventy Times Seven: of individual compassion and moral courage.” —Jonny Diamond, Literary Hub

“An engrossing study of faith, forgiveness, and justice . . . Deeply reported and vividly written, this is a harrowing and thought-provoking portrait of crime and punishment.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Mar’s expansive, humanitarian legal history is also an investigation of belief . . . This is an unsettling look at the recent past and a profoundly affecting read.” Booklist (starred review)

“A probing examination of the intersection of race, crime, and punishment.” Kirkus

“A tautly written, wholly empathic work that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.” —Vol. 1 Brooklyn

“Alex Mar’s bold yet sensitive account of one of America’s youngest death row inmates—and the people whose lives she forever changed—is intimately reported, deeply moving, and unforgettable.” —Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road

“In Seventy Times Seven, Alex Mar has reached back to the 1980s to explore a shocking murder case. But this book is not only about crime and punishment; it raises urgent questions that are common to all of us—about how children develop into social beings, about who is capable of rehabilitation, and about how we mend the damage that runs through generations. Deeply researched and deeply felt, Seventy Times Seven is an absorbing work of social history and a story about the mystery and miracle of forgiveness. It is a book of awesome scope, and it deserves to be read with attention.” Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize-winning author of the Wolf Hall trilogy

Seventy Times Seven is a devastating and essential book, a meticulous deconstruction of the social fears and personal calculations that built and still uphold the death penalty in America. A brilliant reporter and empathetic narrator, Alex Mar has written the truest kind of crime drama, unafraid of rendering our narratives about justice less comforting.” —Sierra Crane Murdoch, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Yellow Bird

“Alex Mar’s Seventy Times Seven is a monumental achievement, probing the toughest questions that all nonfiction crime narratives must ask and emerging with a story of profound moral inquiry, the limits of where we can find justice, and the power of compassion, often in the most surprising quarters. When we wish to understand ourselves and society at our worst and at our best, look no further than this book.” —Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita and Scoundrel

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