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Letters from Alcatraz

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Letters from Alcatraz features an impressive collection of original correspondence from inmates both on-and-off the Rock. Their letters capture the true essence of life in prison, with fresh and historical insights to their sufferings and occasional triumphs. It is a finer example of history from one of America's most historical treasures. This rare collection features man ...more
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Ocean View Publishing
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Rebecca
I read this on the plane home from San Francisco. I went to visit Alcatraz for the first time yesterday and standing in the bookstore on the island I wanted to get the best book that told the most stories about the inmates. They weren't allowed contact with the outside world - no magazines, newspapers, TV or radio. They were allowed letters from their families but the prison opened them first and retyped them if there was any information on what was happening outside the walls in them. They then ...more
Joann Kuster
This was a great depiction of life on Alcatraz. Reading the words written by the men who lived there and endured the path they chose was not only history, but the human soul and spirit at work. To read the personal writings of notorious criminals makes you see them as normal as you and I. And yet, they have been sentenced to a life of solitude with none of the pleasures that we enjoy. Very well written and documented, although I would have liked to see more letters of response from wardens and o ...more
Lynne
I started out thinking I would rate this book with 4 stars, because I didn't know much about Alcatraz and found the history, as well as the inmates' letters interesting. However, about two thirds of the way through the book the letters started to get rather repetitious in their content and I had to force myself to read the last quarter of the book just in case there was one out-of-the-ordinary letter I might miss.
MiLi
Si bien se presenta como un libro de correspondencias, se trata de una radiografía completa de Alcatraz contada a través de la historia de algunos de los prisioneros más conocidos de la historia: Al Capone, Robert Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly, Mickey Cohen, entre otros.

El contenido está desarrollado a partir de información que el autor, Michael Esslinger , dejó de lado en un libro más completo que cuenta la historia de Alcatraz de principio a fin, con entrevistas a ex presidiarios, guaridas y direc
...more
Amelia
Uggers, I would not have wanted to be in Alcatraz. No books, no magazines, no nothing except heavily redacted letters from the outside.

The book starts good and the author is great, but the letters and their personal authors are a tad on the boring side. Nothing to be done about that and not Micheal’s fault.

The books is what it is and it is done good for it. (Oh funny me.)
Emily Rodolff
This book is about as good as I expected it to be. I did find it interesting, and enjoyed reading the stories of some of History's most notorious criminals and gangsters, and while I was somewhat curious about their "back-stories" I do not feel compelled to do any further research.
Carrie
This book was very interesting. I found it haunting to hear the voices of prisoners and their loved ones through the letters sent to and from Alcatraz at the time. Very moving, especially after having seen the island first-hand.

The only thing that could have made this book better would be better organization. It seemed that the author and editors were thinking more of how to get the letters to fit on the page in a visually appealing way than putting them in chronologically. While this did effec
...more
Michael Webb
Very interesting, but kind of gets repetitive
Vanessa Perez
It should have been titled "letters from Leavenworth" because 75% of correspondence was from, well, Leavenworth USP. It was the same letter, over and over, written by different famous criminals. No real insight to how prison life was. The author did a good job at background descriptions but overall the flow of the book was monotonous and disconnected. It would have maybe read better had I been able to zoom in on the small pictures of the handwritten letters (I suggest paperback or an ereader wit ...more
Angel
Enjoyed this book SO much. The insights into the personal notes and lives of the inmates was unbelievable. I loved the photographs and telegraphs.
There were some issues where some letters were duplicated out of order prior to transference to print and this was annoying. I wish the telegraphs were all transcribed to print. Also some grammar issues, outside of the letters.
Will read more by this author - has another book about Alcatraz and one about Veruca Salt!
Douglas Castagna
Awesome pictures and backstory of the prisoners. Some letters were cool and insightful but most of them were a bit on the boring side, all in all this may be best viewed on something newer than a kindle keyboard because the pages of the actual letters and correspondence, as well as the inmates ids were cool and would have been awesome to read. I looked at a few on my computer and wished I was able to do so on my device. Perhaps I will revisit this when I upgrade.
Melanie
I found this book pretty interesting. Only things that were a little distracting were the editing (I found a few errors) and I really wish the letters were in chronological order. Other than those minor things, I found it interesting & it was a fast read.
Ivy
This book told about the history of Alcatraz and what it was like to live there. It also has letters written by the inmates to family and prison officials.

It was well written but was also slow in some places. I found it interesting from a history point of view and even learned a few things that I didn't know about The Rock.
Katie
An interesting collection of stories from some of Alcatraz's notorious prisoners. Pretty entertaining and it seems historically sound.
Sabrina
I haven't really read this book, I'm just using it for the second time that I read Alcatraz vs the Scrinever's Bones.
TiaMaria
I liked the premise of this book but it really failed to hold my attention. I have up only 30 pages in.
Rachel McQuoid
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
I enjoyed it very much especially after seeing Alcatraz in person. What a depressing place.
Mert
interesting read. A good book to pick up now and then and read a little at a time.
Velvetink
Aug 02, 2013 Velvetink marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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