1 January 2001 Sarah Irving

Firebrand Books, New York, 184pp. ISBN 1 56341 124 5. US$12.95

It's hard to know what the objective of this book is. The title and blurb make it sound like a book on women on death row. Actually, it's Kathleen O'Shea's autobiography, interspersed at paragraph intervals with excerpts from interviews with ten other women, all ofthem on death row in the USA.

When this format works it is very powerful; often it is a harrowing reminder that the social and psychological forces which result in some women - innocent or guilty - ending up on death row are absolutely the same as those which touch the…