In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir

by Neil White
4.0 122

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In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White

"A remarkable story of a young man's loss of everything he deemed important, and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society's most dreaded outcasts." —John Grisham

"Hilarious, astonishing, and deeply moving." —John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The emotional, incredible true story of Neil White, a man who discovers the secret to happiness, leading a fulfilling life, and the importance of fatherhood in the most unlikely of places—the last leper colony in the continental United States. In the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler (A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain), White is “a splendid writer,” and In the Sanctuary of Outcasts “a book that will endure.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061885075
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 82,341
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Neil White is the former publisher of New Orleans Magazine, Coast magazine, and Coast Business Journal. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he owns a small publishing company. This is his first book.

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In the Sanctuary of Outcasts 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
bldavi1 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for all! It balances the life changing experiences of a young man with several historical events. The book is such a great read that I struggled to put the book down, as I became wrapped up in the story and the individual characters. Neil White paints a perfect picture of the setting and events as they unfold, the reader is given a front row seat. Beyond the story line is a great message for all to hear. The story line takes the reader on a journey familiar to many, the struggle to succeed in life and yet balance what is right. The story shows how one man was changed not so much by the punishment he received for his poor decisions, but by the "outcasts" who touched his heart. Many lessons can be learned from this moving book. Thanks Neil for sharing your story with all of us!
mgmtdoctor More than 1 year ago
I had the good fortune to grow up with Neil White and see the outstanding man and writer he's become. His book "In the Sanctuary of Outcasts" speaks to the reader on so many levels. The one closest to my heart questions why success and impression management are so important to our generation. Although Neil was never an outcast to those of us who know and love him, he had to struggle with his self-perception of making a very public error in judgement and how that fit into his image of himself. If one is lucky enough to have a life changing event, even as tragic as Neil's was, one may be able to find what is important in life. Neil White's message to us is to figure out what is truly important and work without ceasing to preserve and protect that. Neil has written a book that should be required reading for everyone. It's engaging, thought-provoking, and a great read.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
In the mid-1990s Neil White defrauded creditors out of their money and was sentenced to spend time in a federal minimum-security prison. He recounts his time spent in that prison in his memoir, In The Sanctuary of Outcasts, which gives the reader a glimpse into two societies shut off from the mainstream: prisoners and leprosy patients. The story fascinates from the start, when White tells of his wife dropping him off at the prison gatehouse. He is early, and he has to wait to be checked in. Everything about his check-in procedure is designed to let him know the rules from outside no longer apply, and he is not in charge of his daily activities. White is strip searched, assigned a room, and given a job. He has no door on his room, no privacy, and he learns not to offer to shake hands with the guards. He also soon finds out that the prisoners are housed alongside Hansen's Disease patients, more commonly known at lepers, and he must work serving them in the cafeteria. Through White's account we learn the history of the leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, a facility that started in the late 1800s as a place to isolate those with the disease. While Hansen's Disease can now be treated in a physician's office and patients are no longer isolated, those living at Carville predated treatment, and many remained at the facility even after it was no longer necessary for them to stay. Most had been there for half a century or more, and they had no other place to go. At first White reacts as much of society has always reacted to these patients: he doesn't want to breathe the air they breathe, touch them, or eat food they have been around. He is afraid he will catch leprosy, turning his short prison sentence into one with consequences for the rest of his life. Gradually, he learns he has nothing to fear. He begins to seek their company whenever possible, and the lessons he learns from them help him find redemption for his own crimes and misdeeds. Through White's eyes we also see the other prisoners serving time with him, a hodgepodge of criminals who include doctors, lawyers and accountants as well as drug dealers and robbers. This bizarre co-existing of prisoners and patients came about as the federal government tried to decide what to do with the facility at Carville. Only White can answer whether he truly found redemption and learned to change his self-destructing habits for good. But his story of others who have learned to find grace and lead happy, productive lives despite being cut off from families and ostracized from the rest of society is inspiring as well as informative. I had the chance to glimpse the inside of Carville myself when I was in college and interviewed a patient who was editor of the newspaper the colony produced. I'll never forget the feeling I had of a place that had been both sanctuary and prison for the patients. White captures the place well, and in writing about it, sheds a bit more light on this little known piece of American history that should not be forgotten.
cindyld More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful! It spoke to me on several different levels and inspired me to make a road trip of 8 hours....just to fully understand the author's experience. What most of us would consider punishment worthy of embarrassment and the desire to "dissappear", became a cathartic message from Neil White. His time spent at the Federal Prison in Carville Lousiana (for "creative check writing") became one of his life's greatest blessings. As a nurse, I was inspired to research the history of Hansen's disease (formerly known as leprosy) and the misunderstandings which still surround it. And as a reader, I was fascinated with the picture that Mr. White paints of the Carville Federal Prison which also houses the last known victims of leprosy in the United States. His descriptions of his fellow inmates were at times worthy of a good belly laugh. But most important were the patients that he came to know and respect during his time at Carville. Anyone lucky enough to happen upon this book will find themselves as I did, utterly drawn in by the Neil's story and the story of the forgotten colony of outcasts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. I couldn't put it down. Isn't life beautiful when we learn to find God's grace in our daily lives.... No matter where we may be. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I found the author to be annoying and wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading --- I'm glad I did. Neill White brings you along on his journey of self discovery and change. And yes, he was annoying when the journey began --- he was honest about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
being a working class guy who don't know the big finance people's way of life. gives me hope in that he learned a good lesson from people with no financial help to offer him. .. good read
kmoranty More than 1 year ago
this book was an excellent read. at first you start hating the author because he is so self absorbed and just an overall jerk. it doesnt take very long for you to see that he is changing because of the life altering events happening. he really does become a much better person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book! Neil takes on a difficult job of taking a look inside himself and exposing his own disease of prejudice.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1993, Neil White confessed to the FBI that he conducted illegal bridge financing to keep his publishing business afloat when he found himself short cash. He spent one year at the experimental federal minimum-security pen in Carville, Louisiana. This facility included convicts and the last leper colony in the forty eight states. This terrific memoir looks deeply at the interactions of pariahs: criminal and health. The felons consisted of murderers, drug dealers, mobsters and a few white collar offenders. On the other hand the lepers ran the gamut of society including a mom whose newborn was removed from her immediately and wise eccentrics like the Earth Mother. Mr. White also scrutinizes the prison's employment staffs who deal similarly with the two radically different incarcerated groups. Crossing the three communities is caring Father Reynolds. This is a fascinating profound year that brings to life a diverse unique prison population.-------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a memoir by a young white collar criminal of time spent at a combination federal prison/leprosy sanitarium in Louisiana.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A unique read that should inspire anyone who reads this story to reflect upon their own life and understand that it's never too late to change our preception of what's truly important in this one life we are given
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the history in this story. That being said, I didn't care for the author that much. As other reviewers stated I think he was sorry that he got caught. I also guess I didn't realize prison was such a "nice" place. Seems strange to me. I didn't know about leopresy or Carvelle, so I did find it informative and interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this true story of a white collar convict who spends a year at the Carville national leper institution in Louisiana and what he learned through his experience. Thank you, Neil White for sharing your story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stumbled on this book unexpectedly and was fascinated by a piece of our world that I knew nothing about. The leprosy stories stunned me. I can see why this experience would shock a person into wondering, "What is REALLY important in this life?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just started the book and I'm enjoying it. His words flow smoothly across the page. Just  Enough description. To fully picture the scene but not too much where you will get bored. I It writes like its nonfiction but you must remind yourself that's this is a memoir.  !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book because it told a story of a man who allowed himself to be ruled by his own desires thoughtless of how it would effect those around him. It is only when he found himself in the company of outcasts for situations in their life that he begins to realize you can't just do what makes you feel good...but think of how it will effect the lives of friends, family and the ones you meet along the way. Good book...definately would recomment it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The tale of a con artist who, after prison, tries to make a buck off a story of the tragedy and suffering of others. Not particularly well written, this book offers no insight into a man who regrets what he's done. It's just a sham. Don't waste your time or money on this trash.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well worth your time and invesrment Transformarional
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did like this book. Stay on the right path Neil.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago