Bibliophilia #10 | Behind Bars

Bibliophilia: the reading list for book lovers

Bibliophilia is a weekly post of recommended reading for law students and lawyers. The list will comprise both fiction and non-fiction books with as much variety as possible. We’re also happy to take reader submissions from you so get reading!

Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing, Bell Gale Chevigny | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: GoodReads]

Title: Doing Time, 25 Years of Prison Writing
Author: (edited by) Bell Gale Chevigny
Genre: Anthology, contest, insight

The ritual dehumanization of entry is a powerful theme for prison writers….To become a prisoner is to enter an alien universe. One’s most trusted resources fail to help interpret the new setting, and the simplest social interaction may be fraught with peril….   [source]

Doing Time stirs readers by heightening their awareness of the struggle of men and women behind bars to keep their humanity. This collection of the best of PEN’s annual prison writing contest celebrates fifty-one writers and their ability not only to write with passion and eloquence but also to create art in the most dire of circumstances.   [source]

 

 

Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance, Leonard Peltier | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: Amazon]

Title: Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance
Author: Leonard Peltier
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, biography

In 1977, Leonard Peltier received a life sentence for the murder of two FBI agents. He has affirmed his innocence ever since–his case was made fully and famously in Peter Matthiessen’s bestselling In the Spirit of Crazy Horse–and many remain convinced he was wrongly convicted….both memoir and manifesto, chronicling his life in Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. Invoking the Sun Dance, in which pain leads one to a transcendent reality, Peltier explores his suffering and the insights it has borne him. He also locates his experience within the history of the American Indian peoples and their struggles to overcome the federal government’s injustices.   [source]

 

 

The Ordeal: My 10 Years In A Malaysian Prison, Beatrice Saubin | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: Amazon]

Title: The Ordeal – My 10 Years In A Malaysian Prison
Author: Beatrice Saubin
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, biography

…In Malaysia, at age nineteen, she fell in love with Eddy Tan Kim Soo, a handsome, wealthy Chinese man. They planned to meet in Europe and marry. But at the airport on her way home, her spanking new Samsonite suitcase—a gift from Eddy— was ripped apart by custom officials. Beatrice was horrified to see that it contained several kilos of heroin. Clearly she had been set up by Eddy, who, it turned out, was a member of a powerful drug cartel. Arrested, Beatrice languished in prison for two years before she was tried. Her sentence: death by hanging. On appeal, her sentence was reduced to life in prison….The Ordeal is her odyssey—always gripping, often terrifying, but ultimately a story of courage and inspiration.   [source]

 

 

Marching Powder, Rusty Young | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: Amazon]

Title: Marching Powder
Author: Rusty Young
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, biography

Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the young Australian journalist went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas’s illegal tours. They formed an instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas’s experiences in the jail. Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with Thomas and recording one of the strangest and most compelling prison stories of all time. The result is Marching Powder…San Pedro is not your average prison. Inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants. Women and children live with imprisoned family members. It is a place where corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury apartments, while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation. …In San Pedro, cocaine–“Bolivian marching powder”–makes life bearable. Even the prison cat is addicted….   [source]

 

 

Papillon, Henri Charriere | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: Amazon]

Title: Papillon
Author: Henri Charriere
Genre: (mostly) Non-fiction, autobiography

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Henri Charrière, called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: “escape.” After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil’s Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.   [source]

 

 

Screwed, Ronnie Thompson | Bibliophilia: read more books! (Recommended reading)
[image: Goodreads]

Title: Screwed
Author: Ronnie Thompson
Genre: Non-fiction, biography

Ronnie Thompson was just an ordinary guy. That is, until he became a prison officer. By the time he started work at HMP Romwell, he realised he was actually a nurse, a copper, a probation officer, a carer, a councillor, a social worker and, of course, an incarcerator all in one. Oh, and a punch bag for the cons and bosses….He exposes the underworld of bent screws, the drugs they traffic, the firms they work for and what they get paid for their sins. He shows how it is left down to a small group of officers to control an over-flowing prison, keep an eye out for corrupt governors, and dodge the deluded human rights campaigners. Ultimately, he shows us that being a good screw doesn’t always mean sticking to the rules…   [source]

 

 

Stolen Lives: 20 Years In A Desert Jail
[image: AbeBooks]

Title: Stolen Lives – 20 Years In A Desert Jail
Author: Malika Oufkir
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

…Adopted by the king at the age of five, Malika spent most of her childhood and adolescence in the seclusion of the court harem, one of the most eligible heiresses in the kingdom, surrounded by luxury and extraordinary privilege. Then, on August 16, 1972, her father was arrested and executed after an attempt to assassinate the king. Malika, her five younger brothers and sisters. and her mother were immediately imprisoned in a desert penal colony. After fifteen years, the last ten of which they spent locked up in solitary cells, the Oufkir children managed to dig a tunnel with their bare hands and make an audacious escape. Recaptured after five days, Malika was finally able to leave Morocco and begin a new life in exile in 1996. A heartrending account in the face of extreme deprivation and the courage with which one family faced its fate, Stolen Lives is an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to freedom.   [source]

 

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