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Inside: Life Behind Bars in America Paperback – June 26, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“More than just a seamy look at prison life. A chilling, timely portrayal.” ―New York Times Book Review
“Inside is actually two books. The red meat of the book is a collection of more than 100 prisoners' accounts, including every gruesome detail… But between shocking tales of inmate misbehavior are Santos' convincing theories about what it all means.” ―Sean Bosker, New York Post
“The tone and his focus on other inmates' experiences rather than his own lend the book weight and authenticity, opening a window onto the corrupt, violent and ultimately counter-productive society of American prisons.” ―Edward Humes, Los Angeles Times
“Shocking and illuminating.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Inside is not recommended for the faint at heart. Santos eloquently and engagingly captures the subculture of the prisoner. Inside is a must-read.” ―Sam Torres, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, and Senior U.S. Probation Officer (Ret.)
Top Customer Reviews
1. The rigorous honesty of Mr. Santos.
2. The absolute accuracy of Mr. Santos' 'ear' for jargon, slang and prison profanity
3. The overwhelming sense of clarity I received regarding Mr. Santos' sense of who he was, who he now is, and how he became the man he is today.
Translation: Possibly the best 'prison' book I've ever read next to 'In the Belly of the Beast" by Jack Henry Abbott.
Mr. Santos' doesn't come close to Mr. Abbott's often times overwrought and dense philosophies regarding prison life (Abbott wrote more in essay form, as Santos writes more in narrative form) but then, Abbott's book was compiled from a series of letters written to Norman Mailer, so Abbott was hitting, through his writing, one-way line drives into the catcher's mitt of his audience. Mr. Santos is telling us a story here, and so his writing has the natural ebbs and flows of a story, whereas Abbott's book is simply a red-hot laser of accusation, opinion and deep, dark thought - very deep and dark thought.
What I found validating however, was how Mr. Santos stood to-to-toe with with Mr. Abbott on 'just the facts' of [life in] a penitentiary and how he also stood on even footing with another proven and literary award-winning prison author, Edward Bunker. Even decades after Mr. Bunker's incarcerations at Folsom and San Quentin prisons, and the subsequent books he produced (some of which were turned into films) including, 'No Beast So Fierce," and 'The Animal Factory,' Mr. Santos writes as if he were a contemporary of Mr. Bunker's, proving perhaps his, and Mr.Read more ›
But set aside the juicy stuff, and too much of this book comprises Santos' windy complaints about the failings of the American prison system: its tendency to encourage recidivism rather than equip inmates with useful vocational training and education, for example, or its dehumanizing treatment of prisoners. These themes reappear again and again, and then again, and again. His points are, of course, well-taken; these arguments have been made for decades by scholars and inmates alike. They just could have been said in far fewer words. In fairness, if I were serving 45 years in federal prison, with nothing but time on my hands, my writing likely would suffer from a lack of conciseness too.
The other thing that Santos' book shows is that even the toughest, roughest firebreather eventually, gets old, sick and tired (often all three at the same time) and begins to reflect. I have seen this often. What if that same person had the tools that formal education provides?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book like this should be helpful in the movement to spur prison reform. "Inside" is the autobiography of Michael Santos, who at the age of 23 faced a 45 year sentence... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Anthony Bosnick
Very helpful to understand how life is for some inmates and how unfair our guardians can be.Published 1 month ago by K. Reynoso
A very interesting book...appears objectively written, include the writer's own admission(s) of actions that got him into prison. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Donald Swingle
One of the most interesting books I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. The author describes life on the inside in fine detail, it made me rethink life. Read morePublished 4 months ago by john
Amazing Book! Couldn't put it down, anyone with a loved one incarnated will appreciate this book.Published 6 months ago by Yaribe Ariza
Great book, great redaction , interesting to the end, reality that many of us don t know
hopefully one day, this reality would change.
Mr. Santos, a non-violent drug offender, tells his story - being routed through federal prisons for over two decades- as an observer of the system and the humans trapped in it. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lee Claire