Raymond Bonner’s “Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong” has recently been announced as Trinity University’s Reading TUgether book for the upcoming year.

“Anatomy of Injustice” is a nonfiction work centered on Edward Lee Elmore’s sentence to death after being falsely accused of murdering a wealthy, elderly woman in South Carolina. Bonner details the stages of the initial trial and introduces the young female lawyer who fought for two decades to get Elmore off death row.

Each year, a committee of faculty and staff at Trinity come together to select a book for the program that addresses a specific theme. Kate Polivka, a member of the committee and head of new student orientation, initially found “Anatomy of Injustice” in a first year reading publication.

“It’s a case about poverty and not having good legal representation to help you in court, and it’s about disabilities because Elmore has a very low IQ and reading level. So there’s an education issue and there’s a race issue because he was an African-American man and the woman was an elderly, wealthy Caucasian woman,” Polivka said. “You’ve got socio-economics, you’ve got race and you’ve got ability all coming together to make this fascinating case.”

Members of the committee present a list of possible books of literary merit that they feel would be possible candidates for the Reading TUgether program.

“We slapped a whole bunch of titles on a board and people started saying ‘I don’t know about that one,’ ‘that one’s too long,’ ‘maybe not that topic,’ or ‘let’s keep that one in mind for next year.’ Not everyone had read each book, so we were sort of pitching them to each other. Each person had to agree to read two or three of them, and then we came back together,” said Diane Graves, a Reading TUgether committee member and university librarian.

In addition to reading the chosen book, incoming students are given an assignment that introduces critical thinking and academic research to complete along with the reading.

“We’ll ask students to find and critically evaluate information sources of different types, with different purposes, viewpoints and conclusions,” said Jeremy Donald, faculty technology liason. “One of our key goals is to encourage students to develop some self-awareness regarding their approach to finding information, learning to assess their own methods–along with their results–as they go, always seeking to ask better questions, rather than focusing solely on finding answers.”

Reading TUgether aims to do exactly what its name implies–bring the Trinity community together through literature, encouraging both new and current members to think critically and engage with important social questions.

“The program unites students with faculty and staff who will read it,” Polivka said. “We also encourage alumni and current students to read it because it creates this awesome shared experience. It’s just a really great academic welcome to campus.”

“Anatomy of Injustice” is now available at the Trinity bookstore.