Pennsylvania-based death penalty defense lawyer Marc Bookman currently serves as the Executive Director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation, a nonprofit organization providing capital case defense for those facing a possible death penalty sentence and state execution. Before that he advocated for defendants as part of the Defender Association of Philadelphia’s Homicide Unit.

Marc Bookman is also a longstanding, well-respected essayist with published work delving into various death penalty issues appearing in The Atlantic, Mother Jones, VICE, and Slate.

In May 2021, his latest contribution to the fight against capital punishment in this country will be published by The New Press, entitled A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Death Penalty in 12 Essays.

It is also available for pre-order at with a current giveaway promotion ending April 28, 2021, on Goodreads. provides the following editorial reviews:

“Essays from one of America’s most prominent death penalty abolitionists. . . . Bookman creates a clear, comprehensive portrait of a broken system, and the cases he highlights make for fascinating reading.”
Kirkus Reviews

“With lucid prose and a firm grasp of history and legal precedent, Bookman makes a persuasive argument that these dozen cases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to death penalty injustices. This is a cogent and harrowing primer on what’s wrong with capital punishment.”
Publishers Weekly

“No one covers the defects of our nation’s criminal justice system more forcefully or eloquently than Marc Bookman.”
Robert Atwan, series editor of The Best American Essays

“In these remarkable essays, Bookman achieves a dispassion that is more incisive and compelling than any overt advocacy. His gift for exquisite irony and his spare, trenchant prose are the perfect tools for exposing the injustices of a legal system that kills haphazardly. Sharpest writing on the death penalty since Koestler and Camus.”
Anthony Amsterdam, university professor emeritus at New York University School of Law

“Bookman’s essays eloquently condemn capital punishment in America. They expose the cruelty and injustice that it imposes on the soul of America and point us toward a healing for which our country yearns.”
Alfre Woodard, actress, producer, and political activist

“Marc Bookman has been writing exquisitely about the cruelty and absurdity of our criminal justice system for years. In this moving series of essays, he weaves in the context and history of our barbaric capital punishment regime and the ways discrimination and bigotry have upheld the system that exists today. A devastating and illuminating book.”
Josie Duffy Rice, president, The Appeal

“As one of America’s premier capital defense attorneys, Bookman has dedicated his life to celebrating the humanity of those citizens we most want to forget. Here, he weaves an unflinching portrait of twelve cases that illustrate in painful detail why the death penalty remains one of the greatest stains on the moral fabric of our society. These essays will make your blood run cold.”
Tony Goldwyn, actor, director, and producer

It is a recommended read.