Midnight Express
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Midnight Express

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,254 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Midnight Express tells the gut-wrenching true story of a young man’s incarceration and escape from a Turkish prison. A classic story of survival and human endurance, told with humor, honesty, and heart, it became the Academy Award-winning blockbuster film of the same name.

In 1970 Billy Hayes was an English major who left college in search of adventures to write about, like...more
Paperback, New Edition, 248 pages
Published March 2013 by Curly Brains Press (first published 1977)
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Shovelmonkey1
Sep 18, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have capacious trousers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: pop culture infiltration
Having lived, worked and travelled extensively in Turkey for many many years I can't believe I waited so long to read this. "Midnight express" is a commonly used phrase amongst many of us who've lived in the remote parts of Turkey. Even now it's a sort of watch word for remembering to toe the line and avoid situations which might lead to incarceration. Billy Hayes' story has infiltrated its way into popular culture.

Admittedly there are many better written books on Turkey to peruse, including Ist...more
Jim
I'll admit that this was a surprisingly good book, in spite of the fact that I really have a dislike for the author. I had seen the movie decades ago, so I had (I thought) a good idea of what I would find in the pages of this particular piece of literature. It wasn't long before I realized that the movie had been fictionalized to the point of being a totally different story.

I can't work up any sympathy for the author, a bisexual smuggler who brought his ordeal on himself through his selfishly mo...more
Luis
Siguiendo la temática leída en "Papillon", mi siguiente lectura fue la de este libro, y por cierto este cumple con su función, te cuenta una historia y no trata de ser pomposa, el gancho es inmediato.
Basada en una historia real (con alguna que otra mentirilla), Expreso de medianoche es la crónica de Billy Hayes en una cárcel de Turquía, y no digo mas porque spoilers not good.
La película es buena sin dudas, PERO, no es 100% fiel al libro, incluso llego a perjudicar muchísimo la imagen de Turquía...more
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Ho sempre adorato il film "Fuga di Mezzanotte", è uno dei miei film preferiti, quelli che riguardo ogni tanto per rispolverare i ricordi che ne ho. Non per niente ha vinto due Oscar e tra le varie firme si può leggere Oliver Stone, insomma non stiamo parlando dell'ultimo "Vacanze di Natale".

Quest'estate ero in Svizzera, gironzolavo tra le bancarelle di Lugano e da lontano ho visto la copertina di questo libro, non sapevo neanche che prima del film ci fu il libro, potevo immaginarlo certamente,...more
Asails F
It was supposedly a true story. Today I listened to Billy Hayes tell the story he always wanted. It was different than the book and far from the movie. I liked his new true story better.

This leaves me with another foul feeling about the publishing industry. I can hope goodreads brings out the truth about deplorable acts in this industry.

Billy used to hang out around Bluepoint and Sayville Long Island and drugs were everywhere. He made an easy buck and lost it all. He stated it was his life chan...more
Jason Vedder
I took a non-fiction writing class in Ames/ISU and we required to read two non-fiction books. I choose this one (the teacher was a little dismayed at my choice as it had been a movie. But I told the class. The movie is all wrong and doesn't really follow the book. The screenplay was by Oliver Stone. A lot of the book is rearranged for the movie, which kind of made me mad. Hayes stupidly broke the law, but he never bit a guys tongue off, he faked being crazy and girl that flashed him was not his...more
Diana Maria
En una palabra: Excepcional. Me encantó esta travesía emprendida sin querer por un hombre que por una mala decisión perdió algo que no se puede recuperar y que es tan valioso como lo es el tiempo, haciéndonos reflexionar en tantas cosas que damos por sentadas en la vida y que dejamos de disfrutar y darles el verdadero valor que se merecen.
Recomendado
Valerie
The story of Billy Hayes in that Turkish prison is interesting, though disturbing. I wonder if there are parts that have been made up or embellished.

The downside of this book is that close minded people will automatically think that Turkey is awful, which is not true at all. I was in Turkey last year and it was beautiful.
Christopher Nieman
I read this for the first time when I was around 13, after my father began subscribing to a pay-TV network (ON-TV in L.A., for those in-the-know) and I started seeing R-rated movies for the first time. Midnight Express was one of the first R-rated movies I ever saw.

The film made a serious impression on me, since it was set in a strange country, in a prison which made American prisons look like country clubs. It depicted smuggling, torture, violence, squalor, tension, fear, depravity, drug use, m...more
Keith Larkworthy
The book is better and different than the film (and the film was brilliant)
Antonella
Expreso de medianoche nos narra la historia de William, "Billy", el mismo escritor, quién es condenado a 30 años en una prisión de Turquía.
El libro es muy rápido de leer. Es narrado desde la perspectiva del protagonista y nos cuenta cada experiencia dentro de la prisión, a un ritmo muy rápido.
Aunque ya sepas como termina la historia (lo cuenta la sinopsis), la pregunta del ¿cómo? se mantiene durante todo el libro.
Si bien yo me esperaba "más acción", por así decirle, creo que sucede todo muy rápi...more
Dominik Stürzer
This book is an entertaining account on Billy Hayes' time in Turkish prison, told in a personal, straightforward way. He describes his time behind bars, the people he meets during that time, and his struggle to get out. Thereby he never loses himself in lengthy, boring monologues, so the book remains thoroughly absorbing. Also, he does not seem to try to embellish his actions or exaggerate aspects of the story in his favor, which gives the book an honest appearance.

Considered the fact that this...more
Daniela D'
Una historia realmente fuerte. Creo que lo que más me impactó al leerla fue el pensar todo el tiempo en mi cabeza que esto fue un hecho real.

La historia comienza cuando Billy Hayes trata de subirse a un vuelo a Nueva York con dos kilos de hashish adheridos a su cuerpo. En primer lugar burló al policía de la aduana logrando que lo dejaran pasar pero cuando se subió al camión que lo llevaría el avión este fue detenido por policías, y fue ahí donde descubrieron que traía el hashish adherido a su cu...more
Jamba Lanev
This book is an entertaining account on Billy Hayes' time in Turkish prison, told in a personal, straightforward way. He describes his time behind bars, the people he meets during that time, and his struggle to get out. Thereby he never loses himself in lengthy, boring monologues, so the book remains thoroughly absorbing. Also, he does not seem to try to embellish his actions or exaggerate aspects of the story in his favor, which gives the book an honest appearance.

Considered the fact that this...more
Joe
Midnight Express loses some shock value with redundancy and carbon copy bully guards. Too many books
go over 300 pages; it makes me think they're afraid to publish 150 page books.

The movie, to make the story more exciting, takes liberties with the true story that is more about mosquitoes and lousy food.
Alonso Esponda ramírez
Billy Hayes está de vacaciones en Turquía y trata de sacar algún provecho de ello. Cuando sube al avión que le devolverá a su casa, es cogido por la policía con las manos en la masa: un alijo de droga que lleva pegado al cuerpo será el inicio de sus desgracias.

Las cortes turcas deciden que su caso debe ser ejemplar y le sentencian a una pena que supera los veinte años.

Hayes tiene dos oportunidades de liberarse: la apelación de su abogado, su familia y el gobierno americano, o El Expreso de Med...more
Miss Dandy
This is the true story of how twenty-something American Billy Hayes tried to smuggle hashish out of Turkey during the late 1960s and got caught. I think we all do foolish and naive things without considering the consequences, especially when we're young, so it's hard to fault him for taking such a risk. Billy is sentenced to serving time at a brutal Turkish prison and just about loses his mind in the process. His first hand account of the Turkish legal system, his brief stay in an insane asylum...more
Terry Ravenscroft
This is not a bad book by any means, however it is one of the few books that aren't as good or, in most cases, better than the film.
Amy
If you think you know this story from the movie then think again, the book is far more thrilling & heart pumping. Give it a read!
Lenny
Read this book a long time ago. Itwas very good.
Lucy Amy Pink
unlikeable central character couldn't warm to. interesting story though.
Rustin
Guy gets busted for trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey. It's about his stay in prison. Good subject. Not the best writing. The writer comes off a bit self centered at first, not willing to accept responsibility for his crimes and still involved with drugs in prison. Toward the final third of the book, he sees how he has affected others. The last few chapters are more exciting as he finally acts on his plans to get out of prison.

PS: The movies is more memorable.
James
I think that Chekov's famous advice to show and not tell is never better exemplified than in the account of this novel. Hayes only narrates a series of events, and his narration cannot but move you deeply. At least that's what happened to me, and it took me two days to recover from the sadness I felt after reading this novel, which was only exceeded by reading Anne Rice's 'Interview With The Vampire'. The last third of this account is also a real nailbiter.
Kristina
Writing is not so great, but story interesting enough. What I hated was the main character, Billy. Hello, moron, if you are caught sneaking drugs into (or was it out of? I can't remember) Turkey, and you were warned not to do it, then you must suffer the consequences. I had no sympathy for Billy. He came across as the typical American asshole in a foreign country and then had the audacity to complain when he was punished for his crime. Dumb ass.
Alwa
I'm having a hell of a time trying to find a book to read. (After all, I only have 200 I haven't read to choose from...!!1). Hopefully this one will stick.

--------

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED! Super fast, super fun. Putting aside the issues it raises--yes, life in prison for smuggling hash is pretty barbaric, but you could always, like, not be a drug dealer/moron, and avoid it pretty easily--it's pretty thrilling.
Melissa
This book absolutely aught my interest from the moment I saw it. It's one of those stories that really make you suffer, as if you were one or some of the characters.

It was also very interesting reading such a sad story, knowing it was based on true events.

Now I'm just waiting to have time again, so I can watch the movie and the documentary. (;
Tom
Every now and then something reminds me of a book I read decades ago. The release of Amanda Knox in Italy today (Oct. 3, 2011) recalled in my mind the ordeal of Billy Hayes. Too much time has passed to let me write much of a review, but what I do remember is, don't get caught with drugs in Turkey! Just don't do it!
Dana
Jun 14, 2009 Dana is currently reading it
I am currently reading this book, so I can't give it a fair review yet. So far, it is a riveting novel. Over the years, I have seen the movie many times and thought it so engrossing that I picked up a copy of the book at a thrift store to quell my curiosity. So far, so good.
Dave
A fascinating read and a well-written account of a young man's imprisonment in Turkey for hashish possession & suspected smuggling. A heart-wrenching story, a disturbing look at foreign prisons, and a big exhale at the end of this suspenseful memoir. Quite an amazing tale.
Joshua
What a great book! I felt like I really understood this guy, and except for the passage of time that covered many years in the book, I felt this guy's pain and suffering. Set in the early 70s, it paints a picture of life in Turkey that I'm sure hasn't changed a lot.
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The Midnight Express Letters: From a Turkish Prison 1970-1975 Midnight Return: Escaping Midnight Express Expreso de medianoche (B DE BOOKS) Expreso de medianoche Midnight Return

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“Los soldados me llevaron afuera. El traductor me siguió y me comunicó oficialmente mi sentencia. Cadena perpetua, reducida a treinta años. Mi liberación se fijaba para el año 2000. Con la reducción del tiempo por buena conducta, estaría libre el 7 de octubre de 1990. En diecisiete años yo tendría cuarenta y tres. Lillian tendría cuarenta y dos. El 1984 de George Orwell habría llegado y partido. El cometa Halley habría vuelto y también se habría marchado. Me perdería cuatro elecciones presidenciales más y cuatro olimpíadas. Papá se habría retirado, mamá estaría encanecida. Mis hermanos quizá se habrían casado y tendrían hijos adolescentes que saludarían al tío maduro a su regreso de Turquía. La juventud de mi vida se evaporaría en una cárcel turca.

-Getchmis Olsun -me deseó uno de los soldados que me llevaban a la cárcel. "Que pase pronto.”
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“-¿Cuánto hace que estás acá, Willie?

Él conocía la respuesta. –Cuatro años.

-¿Cuántos veranos?

-Cuatro.

-Cuatro veranos. Esos turcos te están robando tus veranos. Te están robando el sol. Podrías estar tendido en una playa cualquiera con tu mujer a tu lado y un cielo azul y despejado que se extiende hasta el infinito sobre tu cabeza. En cambio, hace cuatro veranos que estás acá. Y ahora llega otro invierno. Dime, ¿se puede recuperar un verano perdido? ¿Se puede?”
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