Regular price: $34.94
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for $34.94
A book that America needs to read. As a society, we can't keep going down long hard roads to end up in the same place
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This disturbing book about the Attica Prison uprising is well-reported and well-read. The facts are well-known, but the book was nevertheless suspenseful.
Heather Ann Thompson’s focus on the individuals involved—prisoners, correction officers, state officials and attorneys—shows both their humanity and their frequent errors and misjudgments. Most upsetting was the cruelty and violence inflicted by the guards and state police. The reporting makes clear that the murders at Attica were avoidable and unnecessary. They appeared to arise from a combination of fear, anger, exhaustion and deep racism by those retaking the prison. The resulting cover-up, which reached as high as the governor’s office, was dismaying.
Thompson sometimes showed off her own sympathies too strongly, portraying several of the prisoners as oppressed saints. Oppressed at Attica, yes, but saints? Many (not all) were there for appalling crimes. At the same time, she showed sympathy for many of the overworked guards and their families, especially those guards who found themselves hostages. Not surprisingly, she showed no sympathy for Governor Rockefeller or the officials who fought to conceal the truth and failed to hold accountable those who killed and tortured the prisoners. She presents substantial evidence that the cover-up is still continuing at the state level.
Erin Bennett’s narration was perfect, just the right tone of urgency and controlled outrage throughout the book.
One quibble from a Buffalo native: Thompson repeatedly refers to the Attica/Buffalo/Rochester area as “Upstate New York.” The area is Western New York, not Upstate, as anyone living there will tell you. It’s a long way from New York City.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful