Each day we saw the outside world in all its splendour, and each day that view served as a reminder that we had wasted and ruined our lives. Jim Quillen, AZ586 - a runaway, problem child and petty thief - was jailed several times before his twentieth birthday. In August 1942, after escaping from San Quentin, he was arrested on the run and sentenced to forty-five years in prison, and later transferred to Alcatraz.
This is the true story of life inside America's most notorious prison - from terrifying times in solitary confinement to daily encounters with 'the Birdman', and what really happened during the desperate and deadly 1946 escape attempt.
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A Cautionary Tale of a Life Misspent
Obviously the authors perspective. This was his life told in an unvarnished monologue. I felt his words and descriptions were personal and authentic. His observations on incarceration vs rehabilitation were interesting and note worth.
I'm not a big reader of this type of book, but having recently toured the famous or infamous facility was compelled upon returning home to explore some of the books that were featured in the gift shop as you exited the tour.
I didn't think Jeff brought anything to the story. His reading was sort of flat and monotone, don't get me wrong it was competent and sincere - but it he certainly didn't add any flash or drama.
No not really. It was entertaining and had me shaking my head as this man's life spiraled out of control from one stupid mistake to another. His use of gangster language made me laugh out loud at times. "I got the drop on the store clerk before he could signal the cops." It sounded like terminology out of an old James Cagney movie...
The story of a man who put himself on the path of self-destruction. You are the company you keep is indeed true. But fate put him in the position to witness and experience one of the most notorious places on earth. I think it has a redemptive quality to have him share his experiences and unique perspective.
- Rob S.