- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Curly Brains Press; 2 edition (March 9, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0988981440
- ISBN-13: 978-0988981447
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Midnight Express 2nd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Billy Hayes has been writing, speaking, acting, and directing in theater, film, and television since his escape in 1975. He lives with his wife, Wendy, in Los Angeles, still practices yoga daily, and appreciates every sweet, magical moment. For more information, please go to www.billyhayes.com.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
Hayes goes into details over what happened when and after he was arrested for attempting to smuggle 2 kilos of hashish out of the country, the people he met and befriended (or antagonized in a couple of cases) in prison, the adjustments he made in adapting to prison life, the endless boredom of just having to wait, wait, wait and rot while the courts decided his fate, the devastation he experienced when his original 4 year sentence for possession is extended to 30 years. Unlike the movie,in which he condemned the whole nation as 'pigs' Hayes actually tells the judges that he forgives them.
Story doesn't end there though obviously. Despite the court's decision, Billy is more determined than ever to want to escape, while his family, friends, lawyers and other outside contacts continue to try and win him his freedom....to no avail. Even the transfer to the U.S. that his American lawyer was so confident would be granted to Billy and seemed like his best bet to get out of jail long before his new 30 year sentence was up, continued to stall and drag on without a decision in sight as to when or even if he would be going home. So Billy finally decides to take matters in his own hands and escape....
That's another big glaring omission from the movie. In the film, Billy escapes by accidentally killing the brutal guard and steals the key so he can quietly sneak out of the prison and make his way to Greece. In reality Billy was transferred to an island prison where he made his way out with a rowboat and furiously rowing away to land and heading to Greece. He was captured there but deported back to the U.S. where he is very joyfully reunited with his family.
It really is a powerful story and another important difference....the real Billy takes responsibility for what he did and recognizes what he did was wrong....in sharp contrast to the Billy in the movie who is little more than a whiner who never really owns up to what he did or the fact that he broke the law. I sympathize with the real man much more than the one portrayed by Brad Davis.
One thing that should be said though....Hayes couldn't admit it at the time but at the time of his arrest it was NOT his first time smuggling. He actually had done it before 3 times successfully but ran out of luck his fourth time due to the fact that recent hijackings caused airport security to tighten up and be more stricter. I can certainly understand why he would not want to admit that at the time of his arrest....he would no doubt have gotten life, no reduced 30 years or less. Public and political reaction to his situation would have been way less sympathetic.
Hayes was no innocent....he makes no bones about that. Did he deserve to serve time? I think so. Did he deserve life or 30 years for his crime (even if he had done it repeatedly)....no. After he escaped he made something of himself, so I'd say he most certainly did learn his lesson and became a better person for it.
The book will suck you in, I know it did me. It is a far more compelling and involving story than the movie led you to believe. I highly recommend it.
By now, the story is well known. In 1970, Hayes was arrested for attempting to smuggle two kilos of hashish out of the Turkey. As a result, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment that later turned into a thirty year sentence due to the heated Turkish political climate. During his stay, he meets several inmates with whom he holds very close friendships, and their passages read like tender exchanges with people the reader can care for.
Unfortunately, there is never any real depth to his writing of these relationships. At most, the depth is in Hayes’ mindset itself, which would be a good thing except that it’s covered only in the chapters dealing with his stay in a Turkish mental institution.
To be fair, these chapters are well written, as he describes the institution’s dilapidated conditions as far worse than the prison environment. However, this has very little reading impact as he only describes the prison environment in very few paragraphs, and in only one chapter.
Even in the letters he writes to his family and girlfriend, though they may be reprinted exactly as written, for a reader who is not a member of his family one walks away feeling frustrated because he doesn’t go into detail the loneliness he is suffering. He’s clearly suffering, but he doesn’t provide to the reader what exactly constitutes “Billy Hayes loneliness”
Perhaps what makes Hayes’s book such an apathetic read is having seen Alan Parker’s extraordinarily powerful film adaptation. Despite its fictionalizing many of Hayes facts, it’s still a spine bending experience one can never forget. Unless the film is your all time favorite, it’s probably best to skip Hayes’ books and instead see the various interviews available online where he discusses the actual facts. If you still are curious to read it, do so while listening to Giorgio Moroder’s classic film score, which for me augmented the much-needed emotional intensity the book lacked. (As a side note, I only read the book because it took me almost 25 years to find a copy, having been so blown away by the film.)
I give the book three stars instead of 1.5 or 2 stars as I listened to the soundtrack throughout the read. So if you want an easy but enjoyable read, do so while listening to the music. Otherwise, just go on YouTube and type “Billy Hayes”.