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Customer Discussions > Biography forum

Do you Know any great True Prison Stories?

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Showing 1-25 of 39 posts in this discussion
Posted on Dec 15, 2012, 11:39:56 AM PST
AMF says:
My grandfather's memoirs
Keep Forever: Gulag Memoirs

In the freezing nights of a labor camp, fifty prisoners "settle in like herring in a barrel, tightly nuzzled next to each other, and someone among them would cover the rest with clothing". And then the night-time storyteller begins his tale.

Aleksandr Sokolenko's four true stories of life in the Soviet camps detail a world of baffling catch-22s, but also of intense community. From farm work to timber-driving, wrestling marmots to runaway brides, the daily reality captivates.

Vivid characters fill the pages: the aged merchant Semyonov's rich life history and wry acceptance ("At least here, they can't arrest you"); the thief-king who tries to break free from his followers; the high-society orphan who turns barbering into an art; and the inept, vicious Captain Ivanov. Stepping back to narrate their stories as well as his own, Aleksandr offers us a broader picture of the USSR and its history, as lived by his fellow inmates.

The human suffering is blunt and clear - scurvy, starvation, injustice, drownings - but what lingers is a sense of humans' capacity for kindness and boundless talents.

Keep Forever, they stamped on his prison files, and Keep Forever is what we must do with these four stories.

v v v

Encounter on the Island of Tears
On the Island of Tears, Sokolenko's elderly fellow prisoner, Ilya Yemelyanovich Semyonov, says philosophically, "At least here, you know they can't arrest you!" As life in the camp unspools, Semyonov's story paints a Russia beyond the camps and before the Soviets, of nomadic merchants, wrestling marmot shows, runaway brides, and a lifelong passion for work.

Driving lumber down the Chilik river is close to a death sentence. Sokolenko, with his passion for detail and love of work, takes pride even in this. But as winter comes on, those who escape the log jams must still survive the freezing water...

Order of the Red Banner
As the prisoners drive logs down the treacherous Chilik river, Sokolenko narrates the story of Leonid Fedorovich Dubrovskiy: the high-society orphan afraid to die without the world remembering he ever lived. At first his Order of the Red Banner smoothes his path through the quicksands of Soviet business, but even heroes aren't safe.

Captain Ivanov's Crime
Vicious, spiteful, and inept, Captain Ivanov has full control of the camp, no understanding of the work, and a wife like a cat in heat. His crimes are many - but the secret in his past, covered up by the highest echelons of government, dwarfs them all.

Posted on Dec 11, 2012, 1:35:32 AM PST
Roger Touhy The Stolen Years: Over 100 photographsTry this one if you want a true and harrowing story of a man who was falsely imprisoned for 25 years and once freed, was murdered by the same people who railroaded him into prison with a hoax and frame-up. It's a quick and fascinating read. This updated version has tons of interesting photos and a Forward by the author's niece. The case was known at the time world-wide and the author's murder gained national and international attention in 1959. It's still a dramatic story of justice denied to an American citizen.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2012, 7:44:26 PM PST
Coast-rider says:
Heather my dear, the font on your site is too tiny and difficult to read. You should make it larger to communicate your very important story. Also if you going with a grey background, think about using a white font so that your words stand out. What a great photo of you. You look like Cameron Diaz - but you get that a lot; right?

Posted on Dec 6, 2012, 7:35:28 PM PST
My name is Heather Heaton, and I am a new Alabama author. Please consider helping me introduce my story, a series of ebooks entitled "Her Letters from Prison", to your friends. I don't want other young girls to have to experience what I have had to endure.

My new ebook series ("Her Letters from Prison") is an inspirational resource for reading pleasure, review, contemplation, and discussion. My own testimony is: "God changed my life in prison!"

"Her Letters from Prison" (Parts 1 & 2) will validate your inquisitive thoughts and doubts about what goes on in women's prisons (It is what it is!); and it can justify the efforts spent toward women's prison ministries. These two ebooks can be a motivational (tell-it-like-it-is) resource for drug rehab/prevention and reentry programs, especially when combined with "Her Letters from Prison - Part 4: Recycled - Second Time Around".

"Her Letters from Prison" is a non-fiction, inspirational, romance ebook series; with the original letters (with prison art) included as images for authenticity. My story describes how female offenders are perceived and handled (often abused) in the criminal justice system. The story continues (Part 4) to describe my first two years of re-entry back into the real world and how she ended a destructive narcissistic-codependent relationship.

"Her Letters from Prison: Women-in-Prison" (Part 3) contains two PowerPoint presentations prepared for the University of Alabama/Women's Studies "Women in Prison" conference. Both presentations are based on Parts 1 & 2 of my story; and they are entitled "Women-in-Prison (Almost Invisible)" and "Women-in-Prison (Facts/Myths)". Also, my personal testimony is included in the Part 3 publication.

You can go to, and click on a direct link to my and/or Smashwords "book pages" for "Her Letters from Prison". Alternatively, you can visit my "author pages":

My ebooks are also available in paperback format. The paperback book ("Her Letters from Prison") may be obtained by contacting me through my website "contact" form. The paperback book contains Part 1, 2, and 3 ebooks. "Her Letters from Prison - Part 4" will be published as its own paperback book soon.

Also, I have a new ebook series entitled "Women-in-Prison Short Stories" available now on and Smashwords. This series is intended to help troubled teens understand the real, true prison environment in terms of the personalities, crimes, and relationships inmates must deal with on a daily basis. The message is, "You don't want to go to prison!" These true short stories describe the relationships between individual inmates with severe crime(s) and other inmates who must react to and deal with those who committed severe and often violent crimes. The short stories are being published now as individual ebooks; but eventually, they will be grouped together and published as a single composite ebook and perhaps a paperback.

Posted on Dec 6, 2012, 7:34:44 PM PST
My name is Heather Heaton, and I am a new Alabama author. Please consider helping me introduce my story, a series of ebooks entitled "Her Letters from Prison", to your friends. I don't want other young girls to have to experience what I have had to endure.

My new ebook series ("Her Letters from Prison") is an inspirational resource for reading pleasure, review, contemplation, and discussion. My own testimony is: "God changed my life in prison!"

"Her Letters from Prison" (Parts 1

Posted on Mar 24, 2012, 2:07:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2012, 10:52:20 AM PDT
Kasper Simon says:
Not read it for years but 'Midnight Express' by Billy Hayes with William Hoffer was gripping at the time. Good film too, although only loosely based upon the book. The ultimate prison book has to be 'Papillon' by Henri Charriere,however. Don't believe everything you read in either though, as I understand that certain liberties with the truth were taken by both authors. They're still both thoroughly good reads. in my view.

Posted on Mar 22, 2012, 6:00:39 PM PDT
James says:
If you are looking for true prison stories I have written a book titled The Last Governor. It is a memoir of my time working in the Australian prison system as a governor of a number of correctional centres. Briefly, it is story which contains riots, correctional officer strikes and deaths in custody, both officers and inmates. It also relates to the politics of the department and surviving in that environment.The Last Governor

Posted on Mar 22, 2012, 4:26:31 PM PDT
FullMind says:
My book, CONCURRENT SENTENCES: A True Story of Murder, Love and Redemption. This is a nonfiction narrative of my meeting an inmate through a personal ad, how I joined in with people trying to get him freed as he continued to claim his innocence, and how our relationship progressed, including prison marriage, and his eventual work release and then parole. Denise Beck-Clark

Posted on Mar 22, 2012, 12:46:49 PM PDT
UNDERDOG, A Definitive History of Pelican Bay State Prison's Super Max (A California Pelican Bay Prison Story) This book is incredible. It is packed full of current stuff about Pelican Bay State Prison and the hunger strike. It is obvious the author has been there!

Posted on Mar 17, 2012, 8:52:28 AM PDT
A great True Prison Story is "Death Watch Diary" by Robert Towery! It's a $.99 Kindle download here on amazon. Robert Towery was executed by the State of Arizona on March 8, 2012. For the last 35 days of his life, Robert was placed on "Death Watch" where his every move was recorded and chronicled by prison officials. Robert also kept a diary which he gave or mailed to his attorneys as installments. He detailed the ironies and absurdities of life in prison. Robert's words are powerful - read the book and his firsthand account.

Posted on Mar 16, 2012, 10:02:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 17, 2012, 8:09:38 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2012, 10:59:06 AM PDT
it is not true story the guy was a liar and a worthless peice of humanity!

Posted on Mar 15, 2012, 4:04:54 PM PDT
rt66vintage says:
I've enjoyed Jean Harris book about life in prison They Always Call Us Ladies: Stories From Prison. Very realistic and written from the standpoint of a former teacher & a smart woman who makes a lot of sense.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012, 2:48:02 PM PST
Coast-rider says:
"A Cry In The Wilderness ... The Raw Confessions of Texas Seven's Joseph Garcia" by Joseph Garcia. $5 as an e-book!

Posted on Feb 28, 2012, 6:02:38 PM PST
H. Massa says:
Placer City Underground: OG Casanova's Crime Saga ("OG" Casanova's Crime Saga Book 1)

Posted on Dec 29, 2011, 5:53:36 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 29, 2011, 6:04:17 PM PST]

Posted on Dec 29, 2011, 3:12:16 PM PST
K. Haigh says:
I read and loved this book form Jimmy Lerner

You Got Nothing Coming

Posted on Dec 28, 2011, 7:21:16 PM PST
Jail Tips
Tells you about the whole experience of what to expect when you get arrested. From booking to processing and many tips including behavioral and avoiding trouble.

Posted on Dec 28, 2011, 6:03:27 PM PST
working rich says:
Just a true story from a friend who was a MD and captain in the South Vietnamese Army. After the victory from the North how he spent 2 years in Prison/concentration camp eating dirty rice and rats. Eventual escape to Singapore and finally to USA where he worked 2 more years pumping gas in Texas (to support his family)until his papers and credentials were straightened out.
Guy is so humble , I have known him for over 20 years and only found this out a few months ago.
Would any of us have been able to take it?

Posted on Dec 25, 2011, 6:14:35 PM PST
Try this book: Fighting Castro: A Love Story [Paperback]
Kay Abella (Author)

"The true story of a young Cuban doctor imprisoned by Castro as a resistance leader. His wife must choose between staying in Cuba to help her husband survive prison and taking their three young children to freedom in Miami. The book intertwines the story of his iron will in enduring Castro's brutality with his wife's struggles in a deteriorating Havana where she is treated as the wife of a traitor. A portrait of life under Castro and of an extraordinary couple whose relationship evolves and deepens as they live with the consequences of their decisions. Kay Abella is a professional journalist, author, and editor who has been a magazine journalist in New York and in France where she worked as a translator and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. She has published two non-fiction books, one on professional development and one on Jungian type. She is now a full-time writer of fiction and nonfiction, living in Connecticut with her Cuban-American husband."

Posted on Dec 23, 2011, 6:44:16 AM PST
Danny Cole has written HELL'S HIGHWAY, describing when he served time in the Delaware State Penitentiary, sentenced as an adult at age sixteen. Later sent back.

Posted on Dec 22, 2011, 10:34:18 AM PST
James Windeck, M.D.
I have written PRISON DOCTOR telling of my experiences working for 3 years in a prison.
Prison Doctor

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 2:12:40 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 20, 2011, 2:19:22 PM PST]

Posted on Dec 19, 2011, 7:08:04 PM PST
Mark Benney, who was an early pollster, spent some of his early years in Borstal, British juvenile jails. He became friends with Wells and Orwell. Low Company,. not easy to get hold of, is his book

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2011, 3:53:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2011, 3:56:00 PM PST
The poster seems to be an inmate junkie who is trying to put a nice POV on a guy who should not see the light of any day. I do not believe in the death penalty but life w/out ever getting out applies to this creature. I will never understand the women and men who want control of another so badly that they will put their lives and families in a dark place.
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Discussion in:  Biography forum
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Initial post:  Nov 28, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 15, 2012

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