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  • By t8inla
    Mar 17, 2011
    I’m rating this book 5 stars (out of 5). Steve Champion’s (aka Adisa Akanni Kamara) memoir is delivered in a straightforward manner from a man who has explored his early childhood until his over 28 years of incarceration on death row at San Quentin State Prison in northern California. Steve takes us on a journey through a life of crime, membership in the Crips street gang, and eventually his quest for enlightenment and redemption. Steve pulls no punches with those around him, or himself. Steve forged himself into a brave and formidable opponent to overcome his own past, and face the obstacles ahead. He very clearly informs the reader what his thoughts were during those times without ego, or trying to glamorize the events. Steve shows the reader exactly how young men are initially attracted to gangs and the feeling of acceptance the gang provides. I found Mr. Champion’s recall, vivid descriptions and insight profound. I was born, and grew up in close proximity to where Steve lived... More > before his being sent to death row. His depictions are very accurate. Being approximately 15 years older than Steve, I was in Los Angeles when the Crips were founded and in the early 80’s when all the gangs started becoming increasingly more violent because of the emergence of crack cocaine on the streets of south central Los Angeles. It was a very bad time for young men searching for answers, without proper guidance. Mr. Champion’s way of explaining what he has learned and what he thinks about are eye opening in a precise and detailed manner with no exaggeration. He uses an economy of word that seems to always ring true. Steve formulates into words what many of us can only wonder about. I’ve heard many death row inmates say of their confinement; “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy”, but Dead to Deliverance explains why. Steve teaches us that there’s three ways to deal with the row; Go crazy, commit suicide, or find a way to deal with it. I feel that Mr.Champion has transformed himself into a superior man, no less than that of a monk in a monastery. Young men entering a monastery for whatever reasons are for the most part there voluntarily, whereas Steve achieved his enlightenment and earned spirituality in a location not of his choosing. A monk can leave the monastery if the regimen is too tough or not to their liking. Steve Champion does not have that option. Steve makes the choice to “never give up” and keep on keeping on under the harshest conditions. Steve has few allies on the path that he has chosen, and begs for none. Not from other inmates, brutal guards, the institution or fair weather friends. I feel that although Steve is incarcerated on death row, he has real benefit to the world. His body may be locked up but his mind is free to spiritually affect mankind for the better. He leads by example. A person could not go wrong reading Dead to Deliverance more than once.< Less
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Product Details

First American Edition
Split Oak Press
July 26, 2010
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.01 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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