National Book Critics Circle Award, Biography/Autobiography, 1995
Mikal Gilmore is the youngest brother of Gary Gilmore, executed at his own urging for the murder of two innocent men. His execution by firing squad in 1977 was the first enactment of the death penalty in America in over a decade; it became the first of many, inspiring a new enthusiasm, some believe, for capital punishment in the U.S. Gary Gilmore's last days became the subject of The Executioner's Song, an award-winning book by Norman Mailer and a television film starring Tommy Lee Jones.
But the true story of Gary Gilmore lies in the story of his family, a painful and difficult one that has taken Mikal Gilmore many years to face. In researching his family's history, he searched through 300 years of ancestral records, many of which were provided by the extensive archives of the Mormon Church - the history of which plays a fascinating role in this haunting memoir. Mikal also tracked down lost family members, discovering in the end a story even more troubling than his memories.
In an eloquent, mesmerizing voice, Mikal Gilmore weaves us through generations of his family's history to uncover the sources that led Gary Gilmore to murder, and the crippling aftermath of Gary's deed on his family. A vital and deeply American story, Shot in the Heart raises many compelling issues of concern in a country that grows ever more violent.
"Articulate, brave, and heartbreaking." (Kirkus Reviews)
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A good conclusion to the story