Heaven: A Prison Diary Volume 3 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Jeffrey Archer's final volume in his trilogy of prison diaries covers the period of his transfer from a medium security prison, HMP Wayland, to his eventual release on parole in July 2003. It includes a shocking account of the traumatic time he spent in the notorious Lincoln jail and the events that led to his incarceration there, and also shines a harsh light on a system that is close to its breaking point.
Told with humor, compassion and honesty, the diary closes with a ...

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Heaven: A Prison Diary Volume 3

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Overview

Jeffrey Archer's final volume in his trilogy of prison diaries covers the period of his transfer from a medium security prison, HMP Wayland, to his eventual release on parole in July 2003. It includes a shocking account of the traumatic time he spent in the notorious Lincoln jail and the events that led to his incarceration there, and also shines a harsh light on a system that is close to its breaking point.
Told with humor, compassion and honesty, the diary closes with a thought-provoking manifesto that should be applauded by reform advocates and the prison population alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2001, bestselling novelist Archer (Sons of Fortune; etc.) was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for perjury. Volume one of his diaries detailed his first 22 days at a facility for violent offenders; volume two described his move to a place mostly populated by drug offenders and armed robbers. Volume three opens on Day 89, as Archer arrives at North Sea Camp, an "open" prison for well-behaved lifers and convicts nearing parole. As hospital orderly, Archer has certain perks-a private room with bath-and a full work schedule, essential for staving off prison's big challenge: boredom. Being a writer helps; he fills the hours writing his diary and interviewing fellow inmates. There's a whole lot of tedious "what I ate for breakfast"-type entries which make a strong case for how dull prison life really is. There's no discussion anywhere of Archer's crime and little talk of British Conservative politics; the focus stays on daily prison life. Archer's fiction fans will read this volume just to see him home free; for prison reform advocates, the entire series may open doors to Archer's other work. Agent, Jonathan Lloyd. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Prisoner number FF8282 completes his jailhouse trilogy (A Prison Diary, 2003, Purgatory, 2004). Following the pattern of earlier incarcerated writers such as Cervantes, Raleigh, Wilde and Hitler, Archer is now out and free. In this final volume, the diary of the former member of the House of Lords shows him captive for most of the time in a minimum security facility, a place Her Majesty's Prisoners (HMP) never "escape" from, though they may, sometimes, "abscond." A feature of the open prison, for those deserving, is town leave. Even then, though, there's still the stultifying bureaucracy he finds so tedious as the days pass and inmates come and go. Drug testing is a signal event, while noise and naughty language still offend his ever helpful lordship, still noble despite the inequities heaped upon him. He signs a "Change of Labour Request" as "The R T Hon The Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare," and the request is denied. Archer spends time editing and reediting another potboiler (Sons of Fortune, 2003) and hosting a Sunday tea club for older felons. He gets a sinecure as hospital orderly but is still beleaguered by a hostile press and spying inmates. Home Secretary David Blunkett remains deaf to his entreaties, and Mr. Justice Potts, who sentenced him (for perjury), continues to embody unbridled malevolence. Wife Mary remains stalwart, however, and Archer continues to appreciate good art, particularly a modern illustration for The Wind in the Willows depicting Toad in jail. Withal, he must endure "the prisoner's biggest enemy, boredom," a sensation of which he manages to convey quite effectively. Thus his "tariff" passes, from day 89 (15 October 2001) through day 457 (18 October 2002),when Archer, put back into a more secure prison, abandons his journal until day 725 (21 July 2003), when he's released. The R T Hon Lord is once more at large. We can only hope he reamains "on the out," never to serve again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429953832
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/25/2006
  • Series: A Prison Diary, #3
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 357,152
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Archer

JEFFREY ARCHER became one of the youngest members of the House of Commons in 1969, was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985, and was elevated to the House of Lords in 1992. All of his story collections and novels--including most recently Sons of Fortune--have been international bestsellers. Archer is married, has two children, and lives in England.


Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain's House of Commons and twenty-two years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections--including Best Kept Secret, The Sins of the Father, Only Time Will Tell, and Kane and Abel--have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.

Biography

Few contemporary writers can lay claim to as many career highs and lows as Jeffrey Archer -- bestselling novelist, disgraced politician, British peer, convicted perjurer, and former jailbird. And whether you view his misfortunes as bad luck or well-deserved comeuppance depends largely on how you feel about this gregarious, fast-talking force of nature.

Born in London and raised in Somerset, Archer attended Wellington School and worked at a succession of jobs before being hired to teach Physical Education at Dover College. He gained admission to Brasenose College at Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a first-class sprinter and a tireless promoter, famously inveigling the Beatles into supporting a fundraising drive he spearheaded on behalf of the then-obscure charity Oxfam.

After leaving Oxford, Archer continued work as a fundraiser and ran successfully for political office. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1969 but was forced to step down in 1974 when he lost his fortune in a fraudulent investment scheme. He turned to writing in order to stave off bankruptcy. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1976 and became an instant hit. It was followed, in quick succession, by a string of bestsellers, including his most famous novel, Kane and Abel (1979), which was subsequently turned into a blockbuster CBS-TV miniseries.

On the strength of his literary celebrity, Archer revived his political career in 1985, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The following year he was forced to resign over a scandal involving payment to a London prostitute. (He admitted paying the money, but denied vehemently that it was for sex.) In 1987, he sued a British tabloid for libel and was awarded damages in the amount of 500,000 pounds.

Despite the adverse publicity, Queen Elizabeth (acting on the advice of Prime Minister John Major) awarded Archer a life peerage in 1992. The Conservative Party selected him to run for Mayor of London in the 2000 election, but he withdrew from the race when perjury charges were brought against him in the matter of the 1987 libel trial. In 2001, he was convicted and served half of a four-year prison term. (He turned the experience into three bestselling volumes of memoir!) Since his release, Lord Archer has expressed no interest in returning to public office, choosing instead to concentrate on charity work and on his writing career.

Controversy has dogged Archer most of his adult life. Claims still circulate that he falsified his paperwork to gain entrance to Oxford; and, at various other times, he has been accused of shoplifting, padding expenses, insider trading, misappropriation of funds, and financing a failed coup d'état against a foreign government. Needless to say, all this has kept him squarely in the sights of the British tabloids.

Yet, for all the salacious headlines and in spite of lukewarm reviews, Archer remains one of Britain's most popular novelists. His books will never be classified as great literature, but his writing is workmanlike and he has never lost his flair for storytelling. In addition to his novels, he has also written short stories and plays. Clearly, in "art," as in life, Jeffrey Archer has proved himself an affable survivor.

Good To Know

Archer was once a competitive runner and represented Great Britain in international competition.

Regarding the sex scandal that ultimately landed her husband in prison, Lady Mary Archer, the author's wife of 35 years, told reporters that she was "cross" with her husband but that "we are all human and Jeffrey manages to be more human than most. I believe his virtues and talents are also on a larger scale."

The prison where Archer was transferred for carrying out his perjury sentence in October 2001 is a "low security" jail on the Lincolnshire coast, a facility known for raising high-quality pork. According to one authority, "It is considered to be a cushy little place."

After his "fall from grace," Archer counted former Conservative PMs Margaret Thatcher and John Major among his many loyal supporters.

In the 1980s, Archer and his wife, Mary, purchased the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, a house associated with the poet Rupert Brooke.
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    1. Hometown:
      London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1940
    1. Education:
      Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

Read an Excerpt


HEAVEN (Day 89: Monday 15 October 2001)

2.30 pm

The signpost announces North Sea Camp, one mile. As we approach the entrance to the prison, the first thing that strikes me is that there are no electric gates, no high walls and no razor wire.

I am released from my sweat box and walk into reception, where I am greeted by an officer. Mr Daff has a jolly smile and a military air. He promises that after Wayland, this will be more like Butlins. ‘In fact,’ he adds, ‘there’s a Butlins just up the road in Skegness. The only difference is, they’ve got a wall around them.’

Here, Mr Daff explains, the walls are replaced by roll-calls—7.30 am, 11.45 am, 3.30 pm, 8.15 pm and 10.00 pm, when I must present myself to the spur office: a whole new regime to become accustomed to.

While Mr Daff completes the paperwork, I unpack my HMP plastic bags. He barks that I will only be allowed to wear prison garb, so all my T-shirts are taken away and placed in a possessions box marked ARCHER FF8282.

Dean, a prison orderly helps me. Once all my belongings have been checked, he escorts me to my room—please note, room, not cell. At NSC, prisoners have their own key, and there are no bars on the windows. So far so good.

However, I’m back to sharing with another prisoner. My room-mate is David. He doesn’t turn the music down when I walk in, and a rolled-up cigarette doesn’t leave his mouth. As I make my bed, David tells me that he’s a lifer, whose original tariff was fifteen years. So far, he’s served twenty-one because he’s still considered a risk to the public, despite being in a D-cat prison. His original crime was murder—an attack on a waiter who leered at his wife.

4.00 pm

Dean (reception orderly) informs me that Mr Berlyn, one of the governors, wants to see me. He accompanies me to the governor’s Portakabin, where I am once again welcomed with a warm smile. After a preliminary chat, Mr Berlyn says that he plans to place me in the education department. The governor then talks about the problem of NSC’s being an open prison, and how they hope to handle the press. He ends by saying his door is always open to any prisoner should I need any help or assistance.

5.00 pm

Dean takes me off to supper in the canteen. The food looks far better than Wayland’s, and it is served and eaten in a central hall, rather like at boarding school.

6.00 pm

Write for two hours, and feel exhausted. When I’ve finished, I walk across to join Doug in the hospital. He seems to have all the up-to-date gossip. He’s obviously going to be invaluable as my deep throat. We sit and watch the evening news in comfortable chairs. Dean joins us a few minutes later, despite the fact that he is only hours away from being released. He says that my laundry has already been washed and returned to my room.

8.15 pm

I walk back to the north block and report to the duty officer for roll-call. Mr Hughes wears a peaked cap that resembles Mr Mackay’s in Porridge, and he enjoys the comparison. He comes across as a fierce sergeant major type (twenty years in the army) but within moments I discover he’s a complete softie. The inmates like and admire him; if he says he’ll do something, he does it. If he can’t, he tells you.

I return to my room and push myself to write for another hour, despite a smoke-filled room and loud music.

10.00 pm

Final roll-call. Fifteen minutes later I’m in bed and fast asleep, oblivious to David’s smoke and music.

HEAVEN Copyright © 2004 by Jeffrey Archer

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Table of Contents

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