Run, Brother, Run

Run, Brother, Run

A Memoir of A Murder in My Family

Book - 2013
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This is a searing family memoir of a wild boyhood in Texas that led to the vicious murder of the author's brother by actor Woody Harrelson's father. In 1968 the author's brother, Alan, was murdered by Charles Harrelson, notorious hit man and father of Woody Harrelson. Alan was only thirty-one when he disappeared and for more than six months his family did not know what had happened to him, until his remains were found in a ditch in Texas. There was an eyewitness to the murder: Harrelson's girlfriend, who agreed to testify. Even so, Harrelson was acquitted with the help of the most famous criminal lawyer in America. Writing with cold-eyed grief and lacerating humor, the author, a trial lawyer himself, shares intimate details about his striving Jewish family that perhaps set Alan on a course for self-destruction, and the wrenching miscarriage of justice when Alan Berg's murderer went unpunished. Since burying his brother, the author has never discussed how he died. But then about three years ago, details from his past crept into his memory and he began to research his family's legacy and his brother's death, informed by his expertise as a seasoned attorney. The result is a raw and painful memoir that taps into the darkest human behaviors, a fascinating portrait of an iconic American place, and a true-crime courtroom murder drama, perfectly calibrated.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2013.
ISBN: 9781476715636
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 BER
Characteristics: xvi, 254 p. ; 24 cm.


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Mar 17, 2016

Advertised as a memoir, this book transitions to courtroom drama at the half-way mark. As in "look at me, look at me, I'm a smart attorney. And this book is hardly about my brother, at all."

The writing is good, and I trust that the lawyering is competent. I was enjoying a 3 1/2 star memoir about a tough, broken family and a troubled older brother who gambles and scams with a criminal crowd...then disappears. Then comes that second half that I mentioned, already.

Memoir-lovers: first half.
Legal Eagles: second half.

Quite a book of the murder, failed investigation and prosecution of killers and accomplices and how the justice system has its own rogues' gallery of judges, lawyers and policemen...


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