Life Sentences: Chronicles of Louisiana State Prison at Angola

Life Sentences: Chronicles of Louisiana State Prison at Angola

by Wilbert Rideau

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Library Journal - Library Journal
In 1975, the administration of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola gave two inmate editors permission to ``publish anything about the world of the prison as long as it was truthful.'' This freedom resulted in some unusual prison journalism and an award-winning prison magazine, The Angolite . Rideau and Wikberg, the current editors of the magazine, have collected 24 articles. There is an interview with Louisiana's official executioner, who is licensed to kill, and with men on death row who are ``living yet not living''; an account of a gang rape; a discussion of Louisiana's fiscal crunch; a description of Angola's attempt at reform; and a lighthearted account of the discovery and parole of folk singer Leadbelly. Compared with recent books on prisons, e.g., Pete Earley's The Hot House (LJ 1/92), Life Sentences is far more compelling. It hits the reader with a message devoid of self-pity or sensationalism. Its style, although slightly amateurish at times, is highly readable. Highly recommended for most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/92. --Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, N.Y.

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Crown Publishing Group
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