Manual Alcatraz: A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years (8th Edition)

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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Feb 03, Dkovlak rated it really liked it. This is a very good book.

June 1962 Alcatraz escape attempt

I learned a lot about criminals from the s to the s. I also learned a lot about the various escape attempts. It is very sad that people's crimes result in this type of incarceration. This is all due to people leading ungodly lives. This book proves that it is so much better to lead a Godly life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. View 1 comment. Jun 14, john Adams rated it really liked it Shelves: reviewed. If you have ever visited Alcatraz and listened to the combination of the Rangers and the audio tour then you have already ingested the meat of this book. If you haven't visited Alcatraz, then this book can basically act as a substitute. The book is basically a giant walk through the park.

As if you were walking through Alcatraz, the book takes the reader through the destinations on the Island. This is literally a more detailed version of the information you would get from visiting the Park.

Not only is it the same information, but it takes the same approach that the Park Service does. It focuses on the location and then gives information about that location. This is exactly why this book was recommended to be by a Park Ranger. Recently, I have been volunteering at Alcatraz with the intention of getting my foot in the door for a job. The success of that intention aside, the book acts as a basic road map for any who would work at Alcatraz, and therefore is perfect for anyone interested in either visiting or skipping a visit.

Since I have only about five subscribers to my reviews and this book will be of little interest to any them, and because I have lots of time and because historiography is something that interests me I am going to indulge my own thought process and put my thoughts to paper I am blogging here. I asked myself what is the thesis of this book, because the answer is not so obvious? First, this book is sort of an encyclopedia, but this begged the question do encyclopedias have theses and if so what are they?

Encyclopedia theses are more a result of the long writing process of history than an actual argument. History is written in a long process: First, there is evidence. Then academics apply a theory and develop an argument about that evidence. Then that evidence is collaborated by other academics. Next the academic arguments are peer reviewed—one needs to determine if they are full of shit or not.

The evidence, reviews, opposing arguments, and collaborative evidence are eventually synthesized into what is know as a cohesive meta-argument. The meta argument then eventually moves out of the academic world and into the world of books that you might find at Barns n Nobles imagine David McCullough's John Adams. Once those meta-arguments permeate society they become encyclopedias and high school text books.

A few examples: the United States entry into World War Two defeated the Nazis truth, it helped, but defeated, probably not, the Russians defeated the Nazis—but what does that mean about the necessity Normandy? Ronald Regan's arms race caused the fall the Soviet Union truth, not really, the Soviet Union was tenuous Union and Gorbachev chose to end it after a military blunder and on the verge of internal combustion If it was a nuclear arms race than the United States came in second, one behind Russia.

The meta-argument permeates society until it no longer does. For example, did Columbus 'discover' America? Seventy years ago, unquestionably the answer to that question was yes, the meta-argument and a cute little rhyme about There were those Vikings, right?

Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana

Which brings me back to Alcatraz, and question of what is the thesis of this book? Alcatraz is the escape proof prison in the middle of San Francisco Bay that is today an important Historical landmark. This is our meta-argumental assumption and the thesis of this encyclopedia. The book's entire purpose is to support that theory. San Francisco is a hub of the National Park System. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the world's largest urban parks, San Francisco is the major city supporting Yosemite the most visited National Park and the source of the city's pure drinking water , and Alcatraz sits in the center of it all.

It's an argument that I happen to agree with and support. We have to support the park system and no place does it better than San Francisco. This is an interesting book that expressly supports our assumptions about Alcatraz and the national park system. This really lives up to its title: it IS a definitive history of Alcatraz!

We purchased this after a trip to California last summer, when we took the National Park tour of the prison. Reading the book after visiting was very rich, because I could picture everything I read about in my head.

The author did an incredible amount of research for this -- historical info on many inmates, interviews and photos about every escape attempt in Alcatraz's history, even visiting various inmates' graves across This really lives up to its title: it IS a definitive history of Alcatraz! The author did an incredible amount of research for this -- historical info on many inmates, interviews and photos about every escape attempt in Alcatraz's history, even visiting various inmates' graves across the country and following up on those who were released. I imagine you would not enjoy this as much as I did if you have not visited this National Historic Site.

Alcatraz: A History of the Penitentiary Years

It's very long, but so rich in detail. The Birdman of Alcatraz. Mar 01, Luckngrace rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography , non-fiction. Michael Esslinger has included absolutely everything about Alcatraz in this book. The first third encompasses all the physical aspects of the island and prison from the s to the present; it's uses as a shield from enemy ships, it's uses during the Civil War and both World Wars followed by it's use as a military prison and, finally, a federal prison for America's most wanted mobsters and violent offenders.

There are maps and illustrations for every location, person and event covered. The middl Michael Esslinger has included absolutely everything about Alcatraz in this book. I learned WHY these men turned out the way they did, their mindset, strengths and weaknesses with lots of pictures and illustrations. Lastly, escape attempts and executions were covered. All the hows and whys and outcomes, along with maps made me feel as if I was right there standing on the beach watching the action through a smokey haze.

If you enjoy history or nonfiction at all, you'll love this epic story of America's monument to crime control. Ironically, after the prison closed in , several former inmates wrote books about their time on The Rock, made money and sometimes made money from movie adaptations as well. Not in the book is the TV show of the same name. This book is better. May 02, Jennifer rated it really liked it. Holy cow this was a big book!

I wanted to read it before I went to visit Alcatraz, but was not able to finish it.

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Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana | SpringerLink

I think I enjoyed it more after the visit as I was able to visualize the prison and surrounding areas - especially reading about the escape attempts. Very informative read about the island, including the history from the Civil War years.


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  • Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana!
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View all 6 comments. Jan 05, Michael rated it really liked it. The book is very well researched and the photos truly add another dimension. The middle chapters for myself dragged down the book a bit. Detailed histories were given for some of the prisoners and after awhile they blurred together as a short summary would be: prisoner as a child grew up in poverty, was one of at least six siblings, and had a parent die at an early age.