"Ruin” is the title of the prologue to this memoir by wilderness activist Amy Irvine, and indeed, ruins—both material and metaphorical —stretch over the pages of her book. The ruins of a red-rock desert landscape being logged, mined, drilled and overspent; the remains of her failed first marriage and the precarious passions of a second; the wreck of her father’s life, which ended in suicide; the remnants of a childhood Mormon faith; and the relics of ancient desert dwellers through which she attempts to read all the other remains. Together they create quite a pile of rubble.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).