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The inspiring, instructive, and ultimately triumphant memoir of a man who used hard work and a Master Plan to turn a life sentence into a second chance.

Growing up in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, Chris Wilson was so afraid for his life he wouldn't leave the house without a gun. One night, defending himself, he killed a man. At eighteen, he was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole.

But what should have been the end of his story became the beginning. Deciding to make something of his life, Chris embarked on a journey of self-improvement--reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. He wrote his Master Plan: a list of all he expected to accomplish or acquire. He worked his plan every day for years, and in his mid-thirties he did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence and became a free man. Today Chris is a successful social entrepreneur who employs returning citizens; a mentor; and a public speaker. He is the embodiment of second chances, and this is his unforgettable story.

About the Author

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson chwilson@unm.edu J. B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning in Albuquerque, and founding director of its Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program, Chris Wilson, has written widely on architecture, tourism and the politics of culture in the Southwest, and on cultural landscape studies. His current focus is on the role of the on-going reurbanization of North American cities as a central sustainability strategy. Southwest. His co-authored book, La Tierra Amarilla: Its History, Architecture and Cultural Landscape (1991), won the Downing Award from the Society of Architectural Historians, and has been lauded as a model for cultural landscape studies. Noted historian Ramon Gutierrez has called Wilson's The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Traditions (1997), "... a truly superb book. It deserves a wide and serious reading. Literary scholars will be inspired by its narrative strategies. Historians will marvel at its engagement with theory and its rich and varied uses of archival sources. And bibliophiles and lovers of things Santa Fean will delight in the book's wonderful vignettes." It received the Villagra Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the Cummings Award from the Vernacular Architecture Forum. If The Myth of Santa Fe deconstructs that quintessential American tourist town, his Facing Southwest: The Life and Houses of John Gaw Meem (2001) sings the virtues of one of its leading citizens and of the regional design tradition he helped to sustain. Cultural Landscape Studies. Everyday America: Cultural Landscape Studies After J. B. Jackson, co-edited with Paul Groth (2003), provides an assessment of Jackson's contribution to the field, approaches to teaching landscape, the theoretical underpinnings of the field, and exemplary case studies of 20th Century landscapes. Landscape Legacy: J. B. Jackson Speaks, co-edited with Janet Mendelsohn, forthcoming from George F. Thompson Publishing, features essays on Jackson's career, and a DVD with two historic documentaries about Jackson's ideas, portfolios of his drawings and teaching slides, contemporary interviews about his ongoing impact in a half dozen professions and fields of study. Reurbanization. His collaboration with Miguel Gandert, Stefanos Polyzoides and others, The Plazas of New Mexico (2011) analyzes the history of Pueblo, Hispanic and Anglo planning traditions--exemplified by 22 classic communities--and surveys work over the past 15 years to revitalize existing community spaces and to create new ones. As a Clements Fellow at Southern Methodist University and Paul Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library, Wilson initiated research on his next book, A Field Guide to Cool Neighborhoods, a study of pedestrian neighborhoods in North America before and after the automobile.

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