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,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 motivated attempt to smuggle dope out of Turkey. My sympathies were with his parents who were brought to the brink of bankruptcy through their efforts to free him.
I could rail on for hours about Billy's behaviour in prison which included assault, theft from other prisoners, dope use (slow learner)and volunteering to be a rectal ranger for at least one fellow inmate. It suffices that I don't like the guy, but his book is worth a read, if only to see how Hollywood's handling of a prison tale can unjustly demonize an entire nation....more
I can't believe that more people haven't read this book. I hated reading this work of non-fiction, but I couldn't put it down. The author had an absolI can't believe that more people haven't read this book. I hated reading this work of non-fiction, but I couldn't put it down. The author had an absolutely horrendous childhood and made some idiotic life decisions. Most of these decisions involve men:as an example, she lives in a drug and booze-fueled relationship with a man who abuses her horribly. She eventually sticks a knife into him, but after her acquittal takes up with another man because he reminds her of the man she just disposed of!
Ms MacDonald brought a lot of grief on herself through idiotic choices and her flaunting of every rule and regulation designed to keep offenders within the control of the established authority. I don't care that she ruined her own life through stupidity, but I'll be a long time forgetting the photos of the children she discarded along the slippery slope of her descent into corruption. The lost look on the face of one lad in particular will bother me for years.
I know that MacDonald was victimized by abusive men, and I have little sympathy for the men she killed, but this virago could have made things a lot easier on herself by avoiding booze and dope. Her overbearing attitude and inability to learn from experience contributed to her problems....more
Like most biker autobiographies, this was disappointing. I guess what I'm looking for is some honesty insofar as the biker lifestyle is concerned, butLike most biker autobiographies, this was disappointing. I guess what I'm looking for is some honesty insofar as the biker lifestyle is concerned, but Cavazos gives the same old song and dance: it seems the Mongols are just a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts. None of them commit crimes, but if they did, it would just be a few unsavoury members acting without the approval of the club, you big silly! The book is worth reading for the insight into the gangster mindset, but don't expect any startling revelations.
An interesting and riveting account of the murder of a husband and wife by a father whose daughter had been molested by the couple. The author is unabAn interesting and riveting account of the murder of a husband and wife by a father whose daughter had been molested by the couple. The author is unable to hide his bias against the defendant, but this does not detract from the book. Now I'm not saying a father should kill the druggies who molested his daughter....but I understand....more
I'm not particularly impressed with this one, although I moved heaven and earth to get a copy. It turns out that the frequent spelling mistakes and thI'm not particularly impressed with this one, although I moved heaven and earth to get a copy. It turns out that the frequent spelling mistakes and the sometimes hilarious typos ("I was balling my eyes out, holding Carter" p. 234 does not refer to anything sexual) were the most interesting part of the book, insofar as holding your attention is concerned.
To start out with, I don't believe this book was objectively written. I got the impression that Lynndie England might be the only famous (or infamous) person of Mr Winkler's acquaintance, and he decided to capitalize on that acquaintanceship by writing her story. He jumps back and forth during the introductory stages of the book with quotes from one relative hard on the heels of a quote from another relative or friend; it was like he was at an England family reunion taking note of accolades given by a group of Lynndie fans. I guess what I'm getting at is that if there was anything odious in Lynndie England's nature, we wouldn't hear that from Mr Winkler.
The book touches, too lightly, on the crimes and excesses committed by American soldiers on the inmates of the American detention facility at Abu Ghraib, Iraq. The soldiers, most of whom were Military Police reservists, were operating under the apparent instructions of Military Intelligence and "Other Government" Agencies, as well as civilian contractors. England herself was not a Military Policewoman; apparently she attended the jail on her time off to socialize and pose for photos with naked Iraqis. Now these Iraqis are not all "insurgents" (how can you be an insurgent when in your own country and opposing an invader?). None had apparently been charged with anything. Some of them weren't even suspects, having been rounded up in "sweeps", yet they were denied basic human comforts and necessities, insulted, degraded, tortured, and sometimes killed by their keepers.
What I did get from this book is the feeling that the US Army unit at Abu Ghraib was out of control: who puts reservists in charge of anything? Everyone knows that's a recipe for disaster all by itself! Why were civilian agencies giving instructions to military personnel to soften up suspects for interrogation? Why were the senior NCOs not charging enlisted personnel for their excesses? Where were the officers? Why was a Corporal in charge of any goddam thing, never mind a range of prisoners? Why is the US Army hiring recruits who were "special needs" students? The questions are endless, but there is only one answer: "We didn't know any better. We had no orders." There is a quick and easy retort to this: everyone knows that torture is unlawful, and one of the first things taught to a soldier in basic is that they are not obliged to obey any order which is manifestly unlawful.
England herself does not get any sympathy, at least from this reader. She threw over a perfectly viable marriage in order to cavort with Cpl Graner, her military superior and, eventually, her co-accused. At no time does she ever really get around to realizing that this guy is no good for her. Personally, I think it should have dawned early in the relationship when the guy showed her dad the photos of their sexual antics. She has a tendency never to accept responsibility for anything, always producing excuses: she was a special needs student, she didn't know it was wrong, Graner told her to do it, she had no instruction...you get the picture. And the whining is enough to make you hurl. I can't imagine where she got the sand to complain that her trial was inconveniencing her because she couldn't visit her folks and get on with her life, and if she was convicted of a felony she couldn't hunt turkeys. Very little remorse is forthcoming regarding the detainees who suffered mistreatment at Abu Ghraib.
That being said, England and the other co-accused are scapegoats in the end. A situation like Abu Ghraib can only occur when the upper echelon are neglecting the obligation to ensure that regulations are enforced, but people such as these are hard to nail down; in the end the common soldiery will have to bear the brunt of criticism. Predictably, the only corrective action taken resulted in a number of lower-ranking military members being tried before courts martial. Turds roll downhill and no one was lower in the valley than England and her buddies in the reserve MP unit. They ended up in disgrace while the officers who should have been in control were unscathed by judicial censure. The poet summed it up when he said "Men crown the knave and scourge the tool that did his will"....more
A surprisingly good read. Although I already knew the basic details of the case, this book was hard to put down. Mr Edwards seems actually to have donA surprisingly good read. Although I already knew the basic details of the case, this book was hard to put down. Mr Edwards seems actually to have done some work on this one rather than just rephrase newspaper articles as so many reporter/authors do. He errs in some small details (Steinbach not being north of Winnipeg, as an example), and he can't conceal his partiality to the murdered bungling buffoons as opposed to the murdering bungling buffoons, but he has produced a truly engrossing book well worth the money...more