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When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

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"Jim McCloskey and Centurion are pioneers in the struggle to expose the tragedy of innocent people wrongly convicted and sent to prison in America...No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy By the founder of the first organization in the United States committed to freeing th "Jim McCloskey and Centurion are pioneers in the struggle to expose the tragedy of innocent people wrongly convicted and sent to prison in America...No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy By the founder of the first organization in the United States committed to freeing the wrongly imprisoned, a riveting story of devotion, sacrifice, and vindication Jim McCloskey was at a midlife crossroads when he met the man who would transform his life. A former management consultant, McCloskey had grown disenchanted with the business world; he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary at the age of 37. His first assignment in 1980 was as a chaplain at Trenton State Prison, where he ministered to some of the most violent offenders in the state. Among them was Jorge de los Santos, a heroin addict who'd been convicted of murder years earlier. De los Santos swore to McCloskey that he was innocent--and, over time, McCloskey came to believe him. With no legal or investigative training to speak of, McCloskey threw himself into the man's case. Two years later, he successfully effected his exoneration. McCloskey had found his calling. He would go on to establish Centurion Ministries, the first group in America devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. Together with a team of forensic experts, lawyers, and volunteers--through tireless investigation and an unflagging dedication to justice--Centurion has freed 63 prisoners and counting. When Truth Is All You Have is McCloskey's inspirational story as well as the stories of the unjustly imprisoned for whom he has advocated. Spanning the nation, it is a chronicle of faith and doubt; of triumphant success and shattering failure. It candidly exposes a life of searching and struggle, uplifted by McCloskey's certainty that he had found what he was put on earth to do. Filled with generosity, humor, and compassion, it is the account of a man who has redeemed innumerable lives--and incited a movement--with nothing more than his unshakeable belief in the truth.


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"Jim McCloskey and Centurion are pioneers in the struggle to expose the tragedy of innocent people wrongly convicted and sent to prison in America...No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy By the founder of the first organization in the United States committed to freeing th "Jim McCloskey and Centurion are pioneers in the struggle to expose the tragedy of innocent people wrongly convicted and sent to prison in America...No one has illuminated this problem more thoughtfully and persistently." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy By the founder of the first organization in the United States committed to freeing the wrongly imprisoned, a riveting story of devotion, sacrifice, and vindication Jim McCloskey was at a midlife crossroads when he met the man who would transform his life. A former management consultant, McCloskey had grown disenchanted with the business world; he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary at the age of 37. His first assignment in 1980 was as a chaplain at Trenton State Prison, where he ministered to some of the most violent offenders in the state. Among them was Jorge de los Santos, a heroin addict who'd been convicted of murder years earlier. De los Santos swore to McCloskey that he was innocent--and, over time, McCloskey came to believe him. With no legal or investigative training to speak of, McCloskey threw himself into the man's case. Two years later, he successfully effected his exoneration. McCloskey had found his calling. He would go on to establish Centurion Ministries, the first group in America devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. Together with a team of forensic experts, lawyers, and volunteers--through tireless investigation and an unflagging dedication to justice--Centurion has freed 63 prisoners and counting. When Truth Is All You Have is McCloskey's inspirational story as well as the stories of the unjustly imprisoned for whom he has advocated. Spanning the nation, it is a chronicle of faith and doubt; of triumphant success and shattering failure. It candidly exposes a life of searching and struggle, uplifted by McCloskey's certainty that he had found what he was put on earth to do. Filled with generosity, humor, and compassion, it is the account of a man who has redeemed innumerable lives--and incited a movement--with nothing more than his unshakeable belief in the truth.

30 review for When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Holmes

    This book is fascinating for a variety of reasons. I had never heard of most of these cases of people wrongly accused and convicted. McCloskey came to his mission via a very circuitous route which he describes in alternating chapters. That was an effective method rather than chronologically. Usually I have read about death penalty cases. These were not for the most part, although one of the people who doesn't get save does get executed. McCloskey is still working on that case so he can be cleare This book is fascinating for a variety of reasons. I had never heard of most of these cases of people wrongly accused and convicted. McCloskey came to his mission via a very circuitous route which he describes in alternating chapters. That was an effective method rather than chronologically. Usually I have read about death penalty cases. These were not for the most part, although one of the people who doesn't get save does get executed. McCloskey is still working on that case so he can be cleared posthumously. At the end of the book McCloskey give a list of what needs to be done to lessen if not stop the wrong convictions. Read along with A Knock at Midnight which focuses mostly on drug conviction and mandatory sentencing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Faith Hurst-Bilinski

    I really enjoyed parts of this book. Others were just ridiculous. I wanted to read about those who got justice and those who didn't. This was more about the author with a little of those sprinkled in. Did I need to know about the ways the justice system fails or is downright rigged? Yes. Did I need to know that at his going away party to join the seminary he hired a stripper and that she gave everyone a free extra lap dance when she found out he was going to be a minister? I don't think anyone d I really enjoyed parts of this book. Others were just ridiculous. I wanted to read about those who got justice and those who didn't. This was more about the author with a little of those sprinkled in. Did I need to know about the ways the justice system fails or is downright rigged? Yes. Did I need to know that at his going away party to join the seminary he hired a stripper and that she gave everyone a free extra lap dance when she found out he was going to be a minister? I don't think anyone did. The stories of the wrongly convicted were the draw. The stories of people who never gave up hope. Inspiring. The intermixing of his bragging about his conquests was just distracting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Benson

    For those who enjoyed Just Mercy and The Sun Does Shine, add this to the list. Each of McCloskey’s exonerations deserves its own book, but this is a great start.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Jim McCloskey ran an innocence project for decades. This is his powerful and touching story, both personal and professional. For fans of "Just Mercy." 5/5 stars. Jim McCloskey ran an innocence project for decades. This is his powerful and touching story, both personal and professional. For fans of "Just Mercy." 5/5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Don’t miss this book. Jim is a friend but his “tell it like it is” style is real. You can’t help but be inspired by his story, his faith, and his life’s work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deep Frey

    A very engrossing read. The repeated stories of injustice tug at your heart. I enjoyed the format of this book.... part-autobiography part-retelling of the history of his non-profit part-retelling of a dozen or more miscarriages of justice. Be sure to read the epilogue. There are some great concluding remarks about police and legal reform.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Quratulain

    Excellent

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    There are no words to describe how excited I was when I found this book. Over the last few years, I have read many books regarding innocence cases but this was the first one that dealt with a layman getting the ball rolling for so many prisoners. For that reason alone, this book was intriguing. There was a bit of skepticism on my part because McCloskey mentioned that he had trained as a minister and I was afraid that the overall tone would be rather religious. While there were some tones of Chris There are no words to describe how excited I was when I found this book. Over the last few years, I have read many books regarding innocence cases but this was the first one that dealt with a layman getting the ball rolling for so many prisoners. For that reason alone, this book was intriguing. There was a bit of skepticism on my part because McCloskey mentioned that he had trained as a minister and I was afraid that the overall tone would be rather religious. While there were some tones of Christianity, the author is completely honest of how his faith was challenged, and in many ways still is, by facing prisoners that have been wrongly accused and their trying path to freedom. McCloskey presents various stories of him helping people gain justice. I appreciated that he had the courage to discuss a few cases where he was not successful, as well as, at least one case that the prisoner may have been lying about said innocence. The reason I rated this four stars was because part of the book (mostly rotating chapters) McCloskey gets descriptive about his personal life. Much of his personal life I found as a bit of a distraction and not completely relevant. The only interpretation I have was to maybe show the reader that he was not always a do-gooder and how he was able to turn his life around and find the true meaning of his life. Solid 4 stars, well worth the read!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth StClair

    This book was fine. Remember this is a memoir. I kept forgetting and would get irritated when the story veered away from the inmates Jim was helping to free. I felt some of his personal, non-inmate related stories had nothing to do with the work. Overall, fine read. Important to continue to learn about the imprisoned innocent. Didn't like the book that much, but greatly appreciate Jim's work. This book was fine. Remember this is a memoir. I kept forgetting and would get irritated when the story veered away from the inmates Jim was helping to free. I felt some of his personal, non-inmate related stories had nothing to do with the work. Overall, fine read. Important to continue to learn about the imprisoned innocent. Didn't like the book that much, but greatly appreciate Jim's work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judie

    Nowadays, the story of innocent people locked up in prisons and being released after decades of appeals is not unknown, but still too rare. In 1980, Jim McClosky was going through a career change. He had been a business consultant when events in his personal life made him question his life choices. He enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary and, as a punishment from a professor, was assigned to become a student chaplain to the most violent prisoners at Trenton State Prison. It was where he w Nowadays, the story of innocent people locked up in prisons and being released after decades of appeals is not unknown, but still too rare. In 1980, Jim McClosky was going through a career change. He had been a business consultant when events in his personal life made him question his life choices. He enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary and, as a punishment from a professor, was assigned to become a student chaplain to the most violent prisoners at Trenton State Prison. It was where he was meant to be. Like most people without contact with prisoners or their families, he believed that people who are incarcerated are there because they did something wrong. It didn’t take him long to realize that was not always the case. People at all levels of the justice system can act or get others to act in ways that are guaranteed to lock up innocent people. One of the most common reasons is trying to clear a case as quickly as possible. They will conceal evidence, convince a witness (or someone pretending to be a witness) to lie or delay actions that can grant freedom after the original charge is found to be invalid. As he began his journey, he quickly realized that witness testimony could be inaccurate. He began with one case and, by going through the trial transcripts and accompanying paperwork, discovered a great many errors. He also interviewed people involved with the original case and found many were willing to tell him their experiences, including the reasons why they lied. Many had never revealed that information before and McCloskey writes of how those confessions affected them. In addition, he tells of how innocent people adjust to being incarcerated for long periods of time. As a result of his experiences, he founded Centurion Ministries which works to free innocent prisoners. The Innocence Project, a national group doing similar work, was one outcome of his works. WHEN TRUTH IS ALL YOU HAVE tells how much jailing innocent people costs taxpayers in financial settlements afterwards, which, of course, come nowhere near the cost to the individual involved. The Epilogue details ways the system is right, how it is wrong, and what can be done to correct int. My only criticism of the book is the subplot, his personal life in arriving at his calling which includes a lot of unnecessary information about his missteps. They detract from the main story and could have been included in much less detail. My rating reflects that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    "In 2012 the National Registry of Exonerations was established... to keep track of the exonerations that have taken place since 1989. By their count, more than 2,500 men and women have had their convictions reversed. Of those, 123 had been sentenced to death. "Think of that. If not for the innocence movement, states would have killed 123 innocent people in thirty years. Four times, every year, for three decades, we, the people of the United states, would have killed an innocent person. To me, thi "In 2012 the National Registry of Exonerations was established... to keep track of the exonerations that have taken place since 1989. By their count, more than 2,500 men and women have had their convictions reversed. Of those, 123 had been sentenced to death. "Think of that. If not for the innocence movement, states would have killed 123 innocent people in thirty years. Four times, every year, for three decades, we, the people of the United states, would have killed an innocent person. To me, this simple fact is the greatest argument against the death penalty. Because think, for a moment, about all the innocents behind bars who did not get to meet someone from Centurion Ministries, or the Innocence Project... Think, for a moment, of all the innocents who have died. IT HAS TO GIVE ANY CIVILIZED SOCIETY PAUSE." Jim McCloskey's memoir starkly and most compellingly documents his long career working to bend the arc of history toward justice, by telling the stories of several of the exonerees -- before, during and after their imprisonment -- even before the advent of DNA analysis, to rescue many people who had been wrongly convicted. If you have a conscience, you won't regret the time you spend reading it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    Jim McCloskey finds his calling when he begins an organization to free prisoners who have been wrongly convicted. After serving in the military and earning a master of divinity degree he is searching for a meaningful life. This is a memoir, so it details some of his earlier life, but the meat of the story describes how he and the organization he founds work to get freedom for innocent victims of miscarriages of justice. I knew that innocent people are sent to prison, but detailed here are some o Jim McCloskey finds his calling when he begins an organization to free prisoners who have been wrongly convicted. After serving in the military and earning a master of divinity degree he is searching for a meaningful life. This is a memoir, so it details some of his earlier life, but the meat of the story describes how he and the organization he founds work to get freedom for innocent victims of miscarriages of justice. I knew that innocent people are sent to prison, but detailed here are some of the ways it can happen. There are police, investigators and prosecutors who overlook or deliberately threaten witnesses to give false testimony. There are judges who are averse to upending an earlier decision. There are fellow prisoners who tell of "confessions" in order to get time reduced. It takes months and sometimes years for the dedicated people of Centurion Ministries to track down all of the people who were involved in the wrongful conviction. Jim McCloskey and a very small staff began their project, and it has now continued for many years and has only grown through support and determination of many dedicated people.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    As a fan of Bryan Stevenson and “Just Mercy,” I was ripe for another book about working for freedom for innocent people on death row. Equally excruciating and exhilarating, Jim McCloskey's "When Truth is all You Have" tells the stories of people who are wrongly convicted and the efforts of the Centurion Ministries to free them. It is incomprehensible that people sit on death row for decades when they have been convicted in trials involving lying, made-up confessions, shoddy evidence, testimonies As a fan of Bryan Stevenson and “Just Mercy,” I was ripe for another book about working for freedom for innocent people on death row. Equally excruciating and exhilarating, Jim McCloskey's "When Truth is all You Have" tells the stories of people who are wrongly convicted and the efforts of the Centurion Ministries to free them. It is incomprehensible that people sit on death row for decades when they have been convicted in trials involving lying, made-up confessions, shoddy evidence, testimonies in exchange for leniency and other nefarious practices. On the other hand, finally freeing--often after many years of research--these people is profound. I was also impressed by the coping mechanisms that many of these men and women had developed as they lived day by day in the brutal prison system. That the wrongly accused involve a large percentage of minority prisoners is a foregone conclusion. McCloskey’s personal backstory--told in chapters sprinkled between cases--prior to doing this work is equally fascinating. These triumphant (and failed) stories of Centurion Ministries will influence my thinking and my heart for a long time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alei Burns

    Tugging at the heartstrings of all of those innocents who are wrongfully committed, this tale is told by a man of “faith” who admittedly has lapsed often. Perhaps it took someone who had strayed and then rededicated himself to his religious beliefs to be able to understand and navigate the quagmire which is the US’s judicial system. A little heavy on the religiosity, my heart aches for those who lost so much of their time lives to being jailed; then to be set free with after decades with no rein Tugging at the heartstrings of all of those innocents who are wrongfully committed, this tale is told by a man of “faith” who admittedly has lapsed often. Perhaps it took someone who had strayed and then rededicated himself to his religious beliefs to be able to understand and navigate the quagmire which is the US’s judicial system. A little heavy on the religiosity, my heart aches for those who lost so much of their time lives to being jailed; then to be set free with after decades with no reintroduction to the outside world. It also sheds light on the question of jail, death row and the legal system. Those who are innocent literally lose years of their lives and then struggle to re-acclimate. Others in jail have what those who haven’t committed any crimes struggle to gain - a roof, three square, cable, gyms, libraries, and classes. There is no consistency. There is nothing but grey. But someday, may there be justice for all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott County Library System

    Jim McCloskey had grown enchanted with the business world and enrolled in seminary at the age of 37. His first assignment was as a chaplain at Trenton State Prison in New Jersey in 1980. There he met Jorge de los Santos, a heroin addict who had been convicted of murder. Jorge kept insisting he was innocent, and, over time, McCloskey believed him. With no legal or investigative training, McCloskey was able to exonerate de los Santos and win his freedom.  McCloskey went on to found Centurion, the f Jim McCloskey had grown enchanted with the business world and enrolled in seminary at the age of 37. His first assignment was as a chaplain at Trenton State Prison in New Jersey in 1980. There he met Jorge de los Santos, a heroin addict who had been convicted of murder. Jorge kept insisting he was innocent, and, over time, McCloskey believed him. With no legal or investigative training, McCloskey was able to exonerate de los Santos and win his freedom.  McCloskey went on to found Centurion, the first organization in the U.S. committed to freeing the wrongly imprisoned. This biography is difficult to read at times as McCloskey details extreme failures of the justice system, but it is also a chronicle of faith, humor, and compassion for the downtrodden. By any standard, McCloskey led an interesting life and biography readers will want to check this one out. Fun fact: John Grisham's novel, the Guardians, was loosely based on McCloskey's work.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I first heard of Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries after reading John Grisham's The Guardians. Grisham's protagonist was based on Jim and his work. This memoir is the story of McCloskey's life and life's work. His youth and adulthood experiences would not lead you to imagine he'd follow a call to the ministry. Once there it would be unimagineable that he'd give that up to free convicted prisoners he believed were innocent. His work predates many well known organizations involved in this work I first heard of Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries after reading John Grisham's The Guardians. Grisham's protagonist was based on Jim and his work. This memoir is the story of McCloskey's life and life's work. His youth and adulthood experiences would not lead you to imagine he'd follow a call to the ministry. Once there it would be unimagineable that he'd give that up to free convicted prisoners he believed were innocent. His work predates many well known organizations involved in this work such as The Innocence Project and Equal Rights Initiative (Just Mercy). Over decades he and his organization freed dozens of innocent men and women. Many cases are illustrated in this book. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the incarcerated, the accused, police work, and law. It should be mandatory for people working in those fields.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    My greatest wish is that EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK. I know that's not a realistic goal, so if at least those people who are entering law enforcement or looking to become an attorney read it, that would be a wonderful step in the right direction. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine what it must be like to be unjustly imprisoned. Especially if you are on death row. Then throw into the mix the idea that law enforcement and/or district attorneys lied or suborned perjury to "solve" their case, and it My greatest wish is that EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK. I know that's not a realistic goal, so if at least those people who are entering law enforcement or looking to become an attorney read it, that would be a wonderful step in the right direction. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine what it must be like to be unjustly imprisoned. Especially if you are on death row. Then throw into the mix the idea that law enforcement and/or district attorneys lied or suborned perjury to "solve" their case, and it seems like hell on Earth. As far as I'm concerned Jim McCloskey should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. What he and Centurion Ministries have done for people wrongfully imprisoned is incredible. I beg you to read this book, and then if you can, send a little money their way.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    I found it disheartening and somewhat hopeful. I appreciated know the outcomes of those who were exonerated. I can’t even imagine with over 20 years of your life stolen and the inhumane behavior that is allowed to go on behind prison walls, how you wouldn’t be profoundly traumatized and bitter. Every training program for law enforcement through law school should be required to read and DISCUSS this book. Darryl Burton is one of the pastors of my church and the most humble man ever. We support hi I found it disheartening and somewhat hopeful. I appreciated know the outcomes of those who were exonerated. I can’t even imagine with over 20 years of your life stolen and the inhumane behavior that is allowed to go on behind prison walls, how you wouldn’t be profoundly traumatized and bitter. Every training program for law enforcement through law school should be required to read and DISCUSS this book. Darryl Burton is one of the pastors of my church and the most humble man ever. We support his Miracle of Innocence project. I didn’t have any problem with the author’s biographical information and found it humble, honest and meaningful as well as a needed distraction from the horrors of the rest of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This book was fantastic and I truly believe that everyone should read it. It had entertainment value because the author is a great storyteller, but mostly, it's important for everyone to know how our criminal justice system really works. Most people don't understand what goes on behind the scenes. Mr. McCloskey tells us about some of the cases that he worked on - successfully and unsuccessfully. It's both sad and funny; infuriating but yet inspiring. He also explains how Centurian Ministries was This book was fantastic and I truly believe that everyone should read it. It had entertainment value because the author is a great storyteller, but mostly, it's important for everyone to know how our criminal justice system really works. Most people don't understand what goes on behind the scenes. Mr. McCloskey tells us about some of the cases that he worked on - successfully and unsuccessfully. It's both sad and funny; infuriating but yet inspiring. He also explains how Centurian Ministries was started and makes sure that he credits his team often. I suggest this book to everyone reading this. You won't regret it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    A gripping account by a gruff minister of his life and work on exoneration cases for those wrongly accused in the US justice system. McCloskey has an engaging writing style that draws in the reader / listener with the lives and cases of those he helped and both his life and those falsely accused are given very real portraits, warts and all. This is the rare case where the author goes into his religious beliefs and faith that drives him that doesn’t feel condescending or holier-than-thou, in fact A gripping account by a gruff minister of his life and work on exoneration cases for those wrongly accused in the US justice system. McCloskey has an engaging writing style that draws in the reader / listener with the lives and cases of those he helped and both his life and those falsely accused are given very real portraits, warts and all. This is the rare case where the author goes into his religious beliefs and faith that drives him that doesn’t feel condescending or holier-than-thou, in fact it feels the opposite of that and actually resembles the life that a modern day Jesus-type would actually live.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Ball

    amazing book, one of my favorites of all time. the subject matter was intense, heart breaking, uplifting, emotional, unbelievable. sometimes it was very hard to read. and then it made me angry, and feeling helpless. it made me want to go out and do something to help. which i did start to do, by looking up Centurions to see if there was some way i could contribute. the author's writing style and honesty thru out was so amazing. a sad yet positive story. and so current. he is a wonderful man, and amazing book, one of my favorites of all time. the subject matter was intense, heart breaking, uplifting, emotional, unbelievable. sometimes it was very hard to read. and then it made me angry, and feeling helpless. it made me want to go out and do something to help. which i did start to do, by looking up Centurions to see if there was some way i could contribute. the author's writing style and honesty thru out was so amazing. a sad yet positive story. and so current. he is a wonderful man, and so are his contributors. i love this book. i will surely pass it on and recommend it to others.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Another shatteringly stark and disturbing peer into the criminal justice system and its systemic corruption. I listened to the audiobook, which always conveys more meaning and feeling than written words. The narrator was very good. The writing was clear and heartfelt. The organization of the book, with its alternating “current day” stories and flashbacks added impact to the overall message. This should be required reading for every high school student - especially those in states with the death Another shatteringly stark and disturbing peer into the criminal justice system and its systemic corruption. I listened to the audiobook, which always conveys more meaning and feeling than written words. The narrator was very good. The writing was clear and heartfelt. The organization of the book, with its alternating “current day” stories and flashbacks added impact to the overall message. This should be required reading for every high school student - especially those in states with the death penalty.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debby Lee

    Heartbreaking, inspiring, and enlightening, all rolled into one. Very few books have made me cry like this one. Jim McCloskey opened my eyes to the injustices of the criminal justice system. Filled with gritty honesty about his struggles with his faith and the embers of hope that still burn bright. And the exonerees, they brim with courage, strength, hope, and resilience, their stories inspired me in ways few stories have. This book will stay with me for a long, long while. Eloquently written, a Heartbreaking, inspiring, and enlightening, all rolled into one. Very few books have made me cry like this one. Jim McCloskey opened my eyes to the injustices of the criminal justice system. Filled with gritty honesty about his struggles with his faith and the embers of hope that still burn bright. And the exonerees, they brim with courage, strength, hope, and resilience, their stories inspired me in ways few stories have. This book will stay with me for a long, long while. Eloquently written, and highly, highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Margi Finch

    3.5 stars - the story is excellent. The efforts Jim and team went through to exonerate folks who'd been wrongly convicted are impressive and admirable. I enjoyed parts about Jim's early life, though some details felt unnecessary. The book is full of foreshadowing, which made it feel a bit like inexperienced writing. A strong editor could have polished this and made it shine. Stories like this make me want to get involved somehow to help. 3.5 stars - the story is excellent. The efforts Jim and team went through to exonerate folks who'd been wrongly convicted are impressive and admirable. I enjoyed parts about Jim's early life, though some details felt unnecessary. The book is full of foreshadowing, which made it feel a bit like inexperienced writing. A strong editor could have polished this and made it shine. Stories like this make me want to get involved somehow to help.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gale Lundberg

    I confess that I have a very personal connection to this book but nonetheless would rate it as 5 stars. Rarely have I read such an honest self portrayal interspersed with a compelling inditement of our criminal justice system. The subject matter is sometimes difficult to read but certainly a must read for anyone concerned about our criminal justice system. The book is a combination of nonfiction, and autobiography, but feels like a novel that you can’t put down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nara Hays

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book shows Jim McCloskey, a real and imperfect human being doing amazing work for wrongly convicted prisoners. The book highlights both his successes and failures both personally and professionally. Jim shares vignettes about innocent prisoners and their search for justice; he reports on the crimes, individuals involved, his investigation, how he worked to get their convictions overturned, and the outcomes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tara Haskins

    The sheer fact that I read this in a day to the detriment of my laundry stash and cleaning is a testimony to this writer and subject matter. I was well aware of the shortcomings and injustices that our justice system imposed on our society. But this author not only outlines case after case, the root of all the problems and provides solutions to make our justice system accountable. This is a must read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    After reading John Grisham's "The Guardians", I read this real life book form Jim McCloskey. Jim is a real person with real stories and has dedicated his life to helping those unrightfully imprisoned. While Grisham's protoganist was created in his mind, McCloskey is telling about himself, his good points and less good points, which makes him that much more endearing. What a great story and a great human. After reading John Grisham's "The Guardians", I read this real life book form Jim McCloskey. Jim is a real person with real stories and has dedicated his life to helping those unrightfully imprisoned. While Grisham's protoganist was created in his mind, McCloskey is telling about himself, his good points and less good points, which makes him that much more endearing. What a great story and a great human.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    "When Truth Is All You Have" turned out to be more than just a book on getting men unjustly incarcerated free. Jim McCloskey is a man holding tightly to God even when he's not sure He's there. He's a man with a past who wants to make his life count. The challenge of the book is in the epilogue. What are you going to do? The innocently incarcerated are just one aspect of the US judicial and prison systems that need reform. "When Truth Is All You Have" turned out to be more than just a book on getting men unjustly incarcerated free. Jim McCloskey is a man holding tightly to God even when he's not sure He's there. He's a man with a past who wants to make his life count. The challenge of the book is in the epilogue. What are you going to do? The innocently incarcerated are just one aspect of the US judicial and prison systems that need reform.

  30. 5 out of 5

    alyssa miller

    Compelling biography Compelling biography describing such important work. McCloskey is unflinching in his honesty depicting his own flaws and struggles with his faith and the work he has done is valuable beyond measure. I wish everyone would be required to read this as well as Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

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