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Alcatraz: The Gangster Years

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis, "Dock" Barker—these were just a few of the legendary "public enemies" for whom America's first supermax prison was created. In Alcatraz: The Gangster Years, David Ward brings their stories to life, along with vivid accounts of the lives of other infamous criminals who passed through the penitentiary from 1934 to 1948. Wa ...more
Paperback, 584 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Don Wadewitz II
A nice look at what led to the founding of Alcatraz, the history of the prison, and a look at how it received it's mystique.
Alex Lane
A real fascination with the history of this prison is required in order to tackle this 500+ page tome. This is a dry, sociological history of the prison, but the most detailed history ever assembled. Ward compiled his information from rare federal archives and 30 years of interviews with former inmates and prison guards. Included are detailed accounts of prison breaks, strikes, the lives of celebrity prisoners, life after prison and the strained relationship between the prison system and the pub ...more
So this book took me awhile to get through. But, I have learned some very interesting things about the notorious prison Alcatraz. While reading this, I also learned about the big gangsters of the 30s like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and the real truth about Henry Young. Quite interesting and good learning!
Ward Bell
Sep 19, 2009 Ward Bell is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Serious and lively. Sociologist studied Alcatraz since '60s. Based on his interviews w/ now-dead guards and inmages. Heard him on NPR.
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