Shopping Cart Link

Northeastern University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Cover image

Death At Midnight
The Confession of an Executioner
Donald A. Cabana

1996 • 216 pp. 6 x 9"

$24.95 Paperback, 978-1-55553-356-4

“What makes [Cabana’s] book powerful is that he doesn’t cloud his experiences with a philosophical diatribe. He carries no agenda except that of a confessor... [continued in Reviews below]”—Paul Bennett, Philadelphia Inquirer

A courageous tale of a prison warden's moral awakening to the death penalty.

While an increasingly outspoken American public is quick to endorse the death penalty, the voices of those who experience the chilling reality of executing another human being are seldom heard.

Donald A. Cabana chronicles a personal journey through the nation's prison system that culminated in giving the order to execute two death row inmates. Cabana's compelling account brings the reader inside the "secretive, mysterious world of the execution chamber" to witness the process of an execution and to experience the emotions of the executioner and the man strapped in the chair known as "black death."

Reviews / Endorsements

“What makes [Cabana’s] book powerful is that he doesn’t cloud his experiences with a philosophical diatribe. He carries no agenda except that of a confessor. Though the memoir gains greatly from Cabana’s expertise in corrections and will no doubt provide ammunition for anti-death penalty factions, it is best read as the outpouring of one man who simply wants to tell us of the awfulness of putting someone to death, someone who is unmistakably human, someone like you and me.”—Paul Bennett, Philadelphia Inquirer

“In this folksy narrative, Cabana, a prison official for 25 years, recounts his experiences and his change of heart about the death penalty . . . A gentle and affecting addition to the Dead Man Walking canon.”—Kirkus Reviews

“After politicians have made speeches and passed laws to legalize state executions, they’re nowhere around when the Don Cabanas go to work in the middle of the night to kill a man or woman. ‘Breathe deep,’ Cabana advises an inmate about to be gassed so that he would die quickly. But after two executions Cabana couldn’t do it anymore, and in these searing, soul-baring pages he tells us why.”—Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., author of Dead Man Walking

Donald A. Cabana teaches criminal justice at Southern Mississippi University. He was a prison administrator at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Bridgewater, the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, the Alachua County Department of Corrections in Gainesville, Florida, and the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:51:40 -0500