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Stand Tall

Cover of Stand Tall

Stand Tall

Fighting for My Life, Inside and Outside the Ring
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In this inspiring memoir, Dewey Bozella recounts his life and the twenty-six years he spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit—a stirring tale of courage, strength, faith, and perseverance.

In the late 1970s, Dewey Bozella was wrongfully accused of murdering Emma Crapser, a ninety-two-year-old resident of Poughkeepsie, New York. Sentenced to twenty years to life in prison, Bozella fiercely maintained his innocence throughout his ordeal at Sing Sing, and even refused the prosecutor's offer of instant freedom in exchange for admission of guilt. But in 2009, more than a quarter century later, Dewey Bozella would reclaim his identity and his humanity when his conviction was vacated.

In this powerful memoir, Bozella tells his harrowing and amazing story—interweaving his time in prison with stories of a childhood marked by violence and pain. He shares the joys of marrying the love of his life from behind bars, becoming a champion boxer, and earning his education; the agony of being denied parole four times, and living in a cellblock with his brother's murderer and, eventually, the killer whose thumbprint was found in Emma Crapser's apartment. Yet the fighter in Bozella never gave up. He would become a free man thanks to his undying faith, stalwart persistence, the aid of the Innocence Project, and Wilmer Hale, the Park Avenue law firm whose young pro bono attorney doggedly worked toward his release when all hope seemed lost.

Today, Bozella considers himself blessed. Stand Tall is a testament to optimism and love. It is the compelling story of a man who fought against inequity and hardship and, against all odds, came out on top.

In this inspiring memoir, Dewey Bozella recounts his life and the twenty-six years he spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit—a stirring tale of courage, strength, faith, and perseverance.

In the late 1970s, Dewey Bozella was wrongfully accused of murdering Emma Crapser, a ninety-two-year-old resident of Poughkeepsie, New York. Sentenced to twenty years to life in prison, Bozella fiercely maintained his innocence throughout his ordeal at Sing Sing, and even refused the prosecutor's offer of instant freedom in exchange for admission of guilt. But in 2009, more than a quarter century later, Dewey Bozella would reclaim his identity and his humanity when his conviction was vacated.

In this powerful memoir, Bozella tells his harrowing and amazing story—interweaving his time in prison with stories of a childhood marked by violence and pain. He shares the joys of marrying the love of his life from behind bars, becoming a champion boxer, and earning his education; the agony of being denied parole four times, and living in a cellblock with his brother's murderer and, eventually, the killer whose thumbprint was found in Emma Crapser's apartment. Yet the fighter in Bozella never gave up. He would become a free man thanks to his undying faith, stalwart persistence, the aid of the Innocence Project, and Wilmer Hale, the Park Avenue law firm whose young pro bono attorney doggedly worked toward his release when all hope seemed lost.

Today, Bozella considers himself blessed. Stand Tall is a testament to optimism and love. It is the compelling story of a man who fought against inequity and hardship and, against all odds, came out on top.

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About the Author-
  • Dewey Bozella shares his life lessons as a motivational speaker and through the Dewey Bozella Foundation, which works with at-risk and underserved youth. He lives in upstate New York.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 11, 2016
    In this beautifully told memoir, former amateur boxer Bozella writes about growing up in foster care and his survival on the streets of New York City. Just as he is starting to make a respectable life for himself in the late 1970s, he is convicted of murdering a 92 year-old woman. There’s no evidence he committed the crime, yet he is put away on the testimony of a couple of acquaintances who got immunity deals in return for implicating him. He spends the next 20 years in jail; refusing an early release deal that would have required him to admit guilt. This strong internal compass guiding his decisions makes Bozella a compelling narrator. He decides early on in prison to better himself, and has the strength of mind to follow through. He becomes the boxing champion of Sing Sing, and begins working toward a college degree. He eventually marries while still in prison. When a white-shoe law firm gets word of his story, its lawyers work pro bono, spending over a million dollars to get his conviction vacated. His writing is concise, never self-congratulatory or self-pitying, and always graceful.

  • New York Times Book Review "A riveting book."
  • Washington Post "Riveting. . . . That he emerged with a loving heart, a devoted wife and his sanity is perhaps his biggest triumph of all."
  • Publishers Weekly "In this beautifully told memoir, former amateur boxer Bozella writes about growing up in foster care and his survival on the streets of New York City...His writing is concise, never self-congratulatory or self-pitying, and always graceful."
  • Mark Miller, author of Pain Don't Hurt "In his memoir, Stand Tall, Dewey Bozella takes the reader on a harrowing yet ultimately triumphant journey through his life. Dewey Bozella proves himself as a fighter in every sense of the word. I cannot recommend this memoir enough."
  • Mischa Merz, boxer and author of The Sweetest Thing "Without bitterness, and with startling and admirable honesty, Bozella's story shines a light on injustice and what it really means to have the heart of a fighter. This is a remarkable story told with perspective on life that has been hard won, and is all the more powerful for it."
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Stand Tall
Stand Tall
Fighting for My Life, Inside and Outside the Ring
Dewey Bozella
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