Lee, Chol Soo. "Freedom Without Justice: The Prison Memoirs of Chol Soo Lee"

Casey Watters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewResearch


Editor Kim (Asian American studies, Univ. of California, Davis; The Quest for Statehood) presents the writings of Lee (1952–2014), a Korean immigrant who served ten years on death row in San Quentin State Prison before his conviction was overturned in 1983. This book “follows the trajectory from false accusation through incarceration and eventual release from prison.” Lee’s case marked an important moment in the Asian American civil rights movement, as it united people from a cross-section of society. This thought-provoking memoir
compels readers to grapple with the reality that falsely convicted individuals are forced into a “prison system that is designed to dehumanize and break men of their will,” and where racially motivated gang warfare thrives. The contrast between Lee’s treatment in prison and the dedicated support from strangers to seek a retrial and overturn his conviction represent both the worst and best of humanity. After his release, Lee spent the rest of his life in San Francisco.
This personal telling will appeal to a wide audience, including those interested in issues of race and society, criminal justice, and the treatment of immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101
Number of pages1
JournalLibrary Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Lee, Chol Soo. "Freedom Without Justice: The Prison Memoirs of Chol Soo Lee"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this