Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement : My Story of Transformation and Hope

Book - 2019
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Named One of Barack Obama&;s Favorite Books of 2019
Named the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookBrowse, and Literary Hub
Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Debut of 2019
A New York Times Book Review Editors&; Choice

Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement?in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana?all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America&;s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.

Arrested often as a teenager in New Orleans, inspired behind bars in his early twenties to join the Black Panther Party because of its social commitment and code of living, Albert was serving a 50-year sentence in Angola for armed robbery when on April 17, 1972, a white guard was killed. Albert and another member of the Panthers were accused of the crime and immediately put in solitary confinement by the warden. Without a shred of actual evidence against them, their trial was a sham of justice that gave them life sentences in solitary. Decades passed before Albert gained a lawyer of consequence; even so, sixteen more years and multiple appeals were needed before he was finally released in February 2016.

Remarkably self-aware that anger or bitterness would have destroyed him in solitary confinement, sustained by the shared solidarity of two fellow Panthers, Albert turned his anger into activism and resistance. The Angola 3, as they became known, resolved never to be broken by the grinding inhumanity and corruption that effectively held them for decades as political prisoners. He survived to give us Solitary, a chronicle of rare power and humanity that proves the better spirits of our nature can thrive against any odds.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollinsPublishersLtd,, 2019
Edition: First Canadian edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781443458351
Branch Call Number: 365.44092 WOO
Characteristics: xi, 433 pages ;,25 cm.
Additional Contributors: George, Leslie - Author


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TechLibrarian Jun 13, 2019

You should put a hold on this book right now, and when your hold arrives, put down whatever else you are reading to make time. It's one of the best biographies I have ever read, with a fascinating narrative about growing up in New Orleans in the 1950s to Woodfox's experiences as an inmate at Angola. Sound depressing? It is not! The story and understanding, wise tone make this a must read. I can't even believe I am writing the first Bibliocommons review. Get on it, folks! Special shout to fans of Just Mercy and Pimp, this is especially up your alley.

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