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American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this disturbing yet elegant exposé of U.S. penitentiaries and their surrounding communities, Sasha Abramsky shows how American prisons have abandoned their long-held ideal of rehabilitation, often for political reasons. After surveying our current state of affairs-life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling conditions for inmates, the growth of private prisons, the treatment of juveniles-Abramsky argues that our punitive policies are not only inhuman but deeply counterproductive. Brilliantly researched and...
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American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment

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Overview

In this disturbing yet elegant exposé of U.S. penitentiaries and their surrounding communities, Sasha Abramsky shows how American prisons have abandoned their long-held ideal of rehabilitation, often for political reasons. After surveying our current state of affairs-life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling conditions for inmates, the growth of private prisons, the treatment of juveniles-Abramsky argues that our punitive policies are not only inhuman but deeply counterproductive. Brilliantly researched and compellingly told, American Furies reveals the devastating consequences of a society that believes in "lock 'em up and throw away the key."

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

There's no doubt about where journalist Abramsky's fury is directed: at the contemporary U.S. penal system, which he criticizes for jettisoning any thoughts of rehabilitation in favor of increasingly harsh punishment, and which he sees as a reflection of America's violent culture. Few would find much to argue with as Abramsky depicts the recent growth of, and violence in, American prisons; he presents alarming statistics on the rise in government spending on punishment in the past 25 years, even as a "less government is more" ethos has ruled. He's also highly critical of mandatory sentencing laws. As he and others have pointed out, law and order wins political races, and jails provide jobs in places where industry has dried up. Abramsky (Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation) has long written about this issue, and the book displays a lot of on-the-ground reportage with prisoners, corrections officials and scholars. His suggestions for returning to rehabilitation could be more specific, but this remains a well-researched book on a significant American problem that's often locked away behind bars. (May)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
The most intelligent and haunting indictment of the American prison system that I have ever read. Sasha Abramsky has shone an incandescent lamp on a shadowy underground universe that holds and in all too many cases brutalizes the lives of more than two million Americans. He should be commended for doing so, and his book made required reading for every legislator in the land, bar none.—Simon Winchester, author of A Crack in the Edge of the World and The Professor and the Madman

"A well-researched book on a significant American problem that's often locked away behind bars."—Publishers Weekly

"The most urgent book of the season. Sasha Abramsky provides us with an invaluable, if harrowing, audit of the cataclysmic damage inflicted upon American values by American prisons. The lack of compassion in our national life and the gangrened hearts of our politicians pose greater threats to our childrens' futures than any overseas terrorist conspiracy." —Mike Davis, professor of history at University of California, Irvine and author of seven books, including Planet of Slums and The Monster at Our Door

"A smart, compassionate and tough-minded look at the rise and impact of the tough-on-crime culture that has made America the world's foremost jailer. By showing us how we got into this mess, this revelatory book also holds out hope that we might find our way out."—Nell Bernstein, author of All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated

"Sobering . . . Abramsky uses painstaking research, anecdotal evidence from inmates and tours of penal hellholes across the land to lock in American Furies." —Sacramento News and Review

"In the difficult realm of prison reporting, Abramsky is unquestionably among the best and brightest, and American Furies is clear evidence of such." —The American Prospect

"American Furies provides us with a vivid account…" --The Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807042359
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 856,419
  • File size: 435 KB

Meet the Author

Sasha Abramsky has written for The Atlantic, The Nation, and Rolling Stone. The author of Conned: How Millions Went to Prison, Lost the Vote, and Helped Send George W. Bush to the White House and Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation, he has also reported on U.S. prisons for Human Rights Watch. He lives in Sacramento, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: From out of Tartarus     ix
A Mindset Molded
The Holy Experiment     3
A Rising Tide of Violence     23
Using a Sledgehammer to Kill A GNAT     43
Victims, Fundamentalists, and Rant-Radio Hacks     59
Reductio ad Absurdum     73
Populating Bedlam
Open for Business     91
Till the End of Time     107
Storehouses of the Living Dead     129
Adult Time     153
Conclusion: Leviathan Calling     169
Acknowledgments     179
Notes     181
Selected Bibliography     199
Index     207
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2009

    If this book doesn't leave you outraged, you must not have read it

    Abramsky's impeccably researched book left me wondering what I can do to help reclaim our country from the prison-industrial complex. This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the implications of mass-imprisonment on the future American society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    1 out of every 100 Americans is incarcerated

    This is necessary reading if you consider yourself to have any opinion at all about the war on drugs, mandatory sentencing, our prisons, and criminals 'attempting to' re-integrate back into our society. If you are all for bigger and better prisons or contend that the American legal system has gotten too big for it's britches, this is a thought provoking read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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