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OZ: Behind These Walls: The Journal of Augustus Hill Hardcover – February 18, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Framed as the private diary entries of Hill, the philosophical, wheelchair-bound narrator of HBO's bleak but often riveting prison drama, this thorough compendium of everything Oz is a bonanza for the show's loyal fans, although it only occasionally provides interest to those not already in the know. Oz creator Fontana set out "to put a human face on our faceless prison population" with his gritty series; this book strives for the same goal by revealing Hill's ruminations on life in and out of Em City, which range from informed commentary on events in Oz to his own personal history. Augustus's entries touch on each episode in the series, which began the last of its six seasons this February. The levelheaded tone of the diaries often belies the frightening events they describe-e.g., "The shanking wasn't fatal, but it'll be a while before Supreme Allah takes another shower." Interspersed among the entries are sidebars (a season-by-season rundown of the number of victims of violence in Oz) and book excerpts that cover, for example, the execution of women in the United States and penal institutions' troubling responses to suicide attempts. A cast list and synopses of each episode (barring those from the final season) are included at the end. For fans of the series, this will be a satisfying companion volume. B&w photos throughout.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Augustus Hill is an inmate at the Ozwald Federal Penitentiary. He was convicted on November 6th, 1995 of illegal drug possession and murder in the Second Degree. Charged with life imprisonment, he is up for parole after 20 years. His prisoner number is #95H522.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1 edition (February 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060521333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060521332
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been a huge Oz fan for many years now and it greatly excited me to get this book, but I was sadly disappointed with it after reading the first 20 pages. This book is nothing but an extended episode guide, which is something you can find anyplace for free online. It also has detailed describtions of each episode until the end of Season 5, but unfortuanately, it looks like most of these describtions were just blatantly copied off of hbo.com and placed into this book. If even a die-hard Oz fan like myself didn't enjoy this, then I'm not sure you will either.
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Format: Hardcover
With this book you enter the mind of Augustus Hill, a wheel chair bound inmate who is also the narrator. It clearly depicts life in a prison. OZ: Behind These Walls: Journal of Augustus Hill lets you become part of an experimental lab inside Oswald State Correctional Facility known as Emerald City. It is an accurate description of what goes on behind jail bars from rape to sex to murder and drugs. You will truly feel like you are amidst the inmates. It is written in such a way that you "get to know" each character. Everything from what they did to get into Emerald City to the day-by-day trials and tribulations that they face on a day-to-day basis. When something happens to one of the characters you feel almost as if it happened to someone in your family.

Leo Glynn is the warden at Oswald State and Timothy McManus runs and created Emerald City. They worked together because they wanted to make a better living environment for prisoners who had capabilities of rehabilitation. Sister Peter Marie is the psychologist that works with Father Ray Mukada to help rehabilitate the inmates. Gloria Nathan is the doctor for the inmates and creates jobs for them so they are doing something positive with their time.

The best emotion depicted in this book is FEAR. Fear of living, fear of dying, and fear of fear itself. Augustus explains this through his eyes with each word he writes. As a wish he asks to have this book published so people can see what goes on behind the walls of a prison.
I enjoyed this book because of how detailed it was and how well it was written. I didn't get the chance to watch the show on HBO so it was a privilege to read about it and imagine it in my own way.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I am a fan of Oz but not a huge fan. The book gave a strong voice to the show and I loved that way the diary of Augustus Hill illuminated the episodes and the shows without being a plain episode guide. It was well written and absorbing. I thought it was quite entertaining and led me to understand better. There are also non-fiction excerpts from books, newspaper articles, etc. which illuminate how the prison system in America functions. Good book. A good read.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been an Oz fan since day one. The characters, the storylines, the greatest collection of character actors ever assembled, the originality... Well, you know the rest if you've stuck by it as I have. As I write this, I saw that other people who bought this also liked wrestling books. I like wrestling. I loved Oz. I hate being deceived. This book is awful to an Oz fan, wrestling fan, or anyone with a brain, and some fans willing to spend money and be loyal do have them, Mr. Fontana. Other than the original poetry by Mums and the factual inserts that are predictable, not very much else here is original. To a fan, it becomes tedious to read because we've already been there, it doesn't even try to be clever, and is just plain boring. It almost reads like nothing more than a breakdown of episodes I could read on a chat line or the back of a video box. It is also carelessly edited. Do I really want to read basically the same exact paragraphs in different "chapters" about Clayton Hughes when I could be learning something original? A little thought here? Oz was so original a television show, but is such a boring book. Tom Fontana recently remarked that short stories might be in the future. I would have supported a series. After seeing what they produced for the fans the first time around, I'm going to have to think twice. Even if you're a fan, wait to get it used. Otherwise, you might feel used.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book knowing it was a marketing tie-in for HBO, so I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed. But I was. Augustus Hill's "journal" is really just an extended summary of Oz episodes, without any of the new stories or new insights I'd been hoping for. And because it's all told from Hill's point of view, some story lines (like the Beecher/Keller story that's a big draw for many Oz fans) are only treated very briefly. The writing style is almost painfully dull, which is strange given the relatively good writing of the show and the strong narrative voice the show gave to Hill's character. I also found the book's chronology very peculiar, perhaps because the events of Oz's short, 8-episode seasons had to be spread out into a continuous narrative.
On the plus side, it's a handsomely produced book, on a nice glossy paper stock with plenty of photos. I liked the occasional sidebars about the real world of American prisons, though sometimes these felt a bit preachy (and I'm a liberal, generally in agreement with the politics of the show, and the book).
It's a shame this book isn't better; it's not much of a farewell to a landmark show.
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