Green Fields: Crime, Punishment, and a Boyhood Between

by Bob Cowser

173 pages • $15.95 • ISBN: 9781608010189 • November 2010 • Add to Cart


In Green Fields, Bob Cowser presents an eye-opening work of crime writing in the tradition of Capote, Didion, and Baldwin. In this chilling narrative reconstruction, Cowser examines the 1979 murder in rural Tennessee of his former classmate, Cary Ann Medlin, and the sentencing of Robert Glen Coe. Resulting in the first execution to occur in Tennessee in forty years, Coe’s case became a media spectacle, as Cary’s family attempted to cope with the tragedy. Covering both the family’s grief and Coe’s efforts to walk free, Green Fields takes no sides, reporting the events truthfully, in all their horror and complexity.

Green Fields forces us to consider matters—crime, punishment, poverty, and the relationship between them—our comfortable culture likes to pretend don’t exist, and to consider them in a deeply personal context. This illuminating and thought-provoking personal narrative brings us directly into the story, allowing us to feel the lasting effects of this horrendous crime and its equally horrendous punishment.”

—Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking 

"Cowser ably juggles the history of Coe's life and legal battle with his own peripheral connections to the case, raising a powerful examination about the lasting impact of violence and capital punishment in the Deep South."

Publisher's Weekly


An Academy of American Poets prizewinner and Pushcart Prize nominee, Bob Cowser has had work appear in several literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, the Missouri Review, and River Teeth. His first book, Dream Season (2004) was a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” and “Paperback Row” selection. He is currently a professor of English at St. Lawrence University.

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