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Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle, Nonfiction, 2001
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing is the story of Conover's rookie year as a guard at Sing Sing. It is a nerve-jangling account of his passage into the storied prison and the culture of its guards - both fresh-faced "newjacks" like Conover and brutally hardened veterans. As he struggles to be a good officer, Conover angers inmates, dodges blows, works to balance decency with toughness, and participates in prison rituals - strip frisks, cell searches, cell "extractions" - that exact a toll on inmates and officers alike.
The tale begins with the corrections academy and ends with the flames and smoke of New Year's Eve on Conover's floor of the notorious B-Block. Along the way, Conover also recounts the history of Sing Sing, from draconian early punishment, to fame as the citadel of capital punishment, to its present status as New York State's "bottom of the barrel" prison.
This book will become a landmark of American journalism - the definitive presentation of the impasse between the need to imprison criminals and the dehumanization of inmates and guards - that almost inevitably takes place behind bars.
©2001 Ted Conover (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Newjack is an astonishing work by a gifted - and dedicated - journalist. Ted Conover takes us into the dangerous, sad, amusing and instructive soul of one of America's best known prisons." ( Tom Brokaw)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Steve Horwitz on 06-27-09

THE BEST BOOK ON PRISON LIFE I HAVE EVER READ!!!

I have always been interested in what really takes place in a prison. Sing Sing is one of the most famous places in the world. Ted Conover did a great job, and should be applauded for his research, fine writing and his outstanding voice reading his own work.

Thank you Ted! Personally I don't know how you survived the time you spent at Sing Sing as a guard. I would have been jumping out of my skin doing your job. The best part of this book, for me, was the Psycho or Bug ward and the Block. Your descriptions could not have been more accurate. Thanks again for painting a visual picture for me.
I think "Newjack (Unabridged) read by the author, not only explains the stress a guard has to endure, but also the emotional impact of the prisoners as well. This is a must read for anyone that has never been to prison and others that may think that crime pays.
I want to introduce this book to my High School Students to read. I think it will shock young adults to take a positive approach to his or her life. That is how real this book was to me!
As a footnote: I teach at risk High School Students.
Thanks Again,
Steve

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful


By Jedd on 01-28-10

Awesome Book -- Well Worth the Credit!!!

A very easy read and seemingly accurate account of prison life at the infamous Sing Sing state prison outside of New York. The interesting twist here is that we get the story from the perspective of a newly minted C.O. -- a "Newjack." The narration was above-average, although some of the character voices were a tad on the funny side. In any event, I highly recommend this book and consider it a credit well spent.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Rose on 03-24-16

Cooped up with time to kill doing time

There are a lot of words I could use to describe this book. Intriguing, introspective, interesting and even enlightening. It's a study on not just the prison system but the officers working in it. It's a really good book especially for those that like books that explore human nature in various situations. I really liked it actually and i think a lot of others will too. However it's not a book for those who might consider themselves to be bleeding-hearted do-gooders as for them it might be shocking and some passages they might not want to believe but for most I'd say it's worth reading.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Martin on 08-02-12

Not bad but not what I expected either.

I got this book thinking it would be more of a daily life and troubles inside the prison but to be fair it is not really anything like it, He goes over the history of the place and a little detail about being a correction officer, Some prison characters would of been nice.
It is not a bad book at all and he reads it warmly but it was just a tiny bit too boring to get stuck in.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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