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Alcatraz Screw : My Years As a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison
Alcatraz Screw My Years As a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison Author:George H. Gregory The 15 years Gregory spent guarding The Rock are distilled into blunt prose and telling anecdotes in his matter-of-fact memoir (though Gregory died in 1996, his widow, Velma, shepherded his manuscript to publication). In 1947, Gregory, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP) officer, was transferred to Alcatraz, the precursor of today's "super maximum... more »" prisons. In cool, detailed recollections, Gregory, a trusted officer under four wardens, focuses on the nitty-gritty of Alcatraz management. His ex-marine toughness (he was nearly killed at Iwo Jima) helped him deal fairly if severely with inmates, even as unrest, fueled by drugs and legal challenges, swept through the prison in the 1950s. Gregory's narrative recalls a time when men wore fedoras and spoke in clipped sentences, and his evocation of Alcatraz has the austerity of classic prison films: "I got my usual headlock on the convict, pulled him out and steered him into the Hole." He has an eye for important details, from the blackjacks (small lead clubs) carried by guards that were banned elsewhere to the subtleties of prison race relations in the pre-civil rights era. He's unsympathetic to the inmates' crooked ways, and yet he struggles to believe that they're redeemable men. Factual and disciplined, this is a valuable bit of history, and FBP archivist Roberts's helpful introduction tackles the myths about Alcatraz, and how the FBP's "media blackout" policy regarding its famous inmates, such as "Machine Gun" Kelly, helped fuel them. Illus. (July) Forecast: Unlike Ted Conover's Newjack, this isn't for the literary; but hard-core true-crime and prison buffs will find it offers a rare look inside The Rock. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.« less
"... George Gregory began his carreer as a guard for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1940.... in 1947, Gregory was transferred to Alcatraz, which had been a federal penitentiary since 1934.
For the next 15 years, Gregory worked on "The Rock"....
Without glamorizing or demonizing either the staff or the convicts, Alcatraz Screw provides a candid portrayal of corruption, drug abuse, and sexual practices, as well as efforts at reform and unrecorded acts of kindness...."