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The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison
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The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  5,066 ratings  ·  299 reviews
In 1978 Warren Fellows was convicted of heroin trafficking between Thailand and Australia. He was consequently sentenced to life in Bang Kwang prison, known as the Bangkok Hilton. This is the story of his 12 years behind bars, the abuse of human rights and the squalid conditions he endured.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 7th 1999 by Mainstream Publishing (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  5,066 ratings  ·  299 reviews

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Jan 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
4,000 Days was offered to me as an excellent way to get myself out of a reading slump. I'd burned myself out on 400 page novels with brilliant writing and needed something a bit less involving. While I'm not entirely happy with the book, the recommendation was spot on and I found myself finishing it in one sitting.

Telling the story of Warren Fellows, 4,000 Days is more-or-less exactly what the cover promises. Told in a simple, straight-forward style, it is a loose and hurried account of a man's
Yigal Zur
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
i read it again as part of research to my thriller Passport to Death where the plot is based in Bangkok so i raised to 3.5 stars for its honesty based on harsh reality in one of the most horrible prisons.
Eric Schurr
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be the best book i've listened to all year. It is truly remarkable in every way: the story is gripping, horrifying, and illuminating; the writing is tight, to the point, and creative; and the narrator is one of the, if not the, best i've ever heard -- his timing and intonation is perfect.

Ever wondered what it's like in a prison? How about the worst one in the world? This guy describes the unbelievably inhuman living conditions and torture that the Thai prison system put him through. And
♥ Marlene♥
A quick read but not near as good as I expected it to be according to the ratings.

Maybe I am spoiled but I have read 2 books about this same prison by 2 different Dutch guys.
One of those books was so well written and told us the horrible experience he had to go through. But he did that in a much better way than Warren Fellows. This book felt rushed, written from the sideline.

I do understand why this book got high ratings. I think that has lot to do with all the horrible and shocking things he ha
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Quite a depressing book to be honest. A trafficker caught in the act who pays the ultimate price. Twelve years in a hellhole. Have to feel sorry for the guy but then you have to feel sorry for the heroin addicts who were addicted to his supplied product. Ironically he becomes an addict himself during his time behind bars. "Marching Powder" by Rusty Young is certainly a better, more uplifting tale, of life in prison for a trafficker. Much funnier too and at times, almost unbelievable! ...more
Avi B
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a very descriptive insight to some of the worst prisons in Thailand and I imagine anywhere in this world. The sheer disregard for human suffering and the extent of the brutality is unbelievable. The mind boggles how these things are allowed to happen. It was at times a grisly and difficult read but very interesting to someone like me who has no prior in depth knowledge on this topic.
Javier Calle
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
A good book to get information from Bang Kwang Prison, but as reading something loose.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
You know, I think 2 stars is almost too kind for this book. I think it might be the first non-fiction book I have felt a genuine need to vent about. But, on the plus side, it was interesting and quick to read, so I can’t really rate it 1 star. Let’s compromise on 1.5 stars.

My main issue with this book is not the horrible things depicted in it, or that they happened to Warren Fellows. My problem is the way Fellows wrote this story. Look, I’m not gonna lie, this book is little more than a giganti
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
A shockingly true story of two aussies jailed for drug trafficking in Bangkok in 1978 for 12 years.Whether they deserved it or not is besides the point. The horror and the cruelty of the guards and the inmates has to be read to be believed. While telling the reader of their experiences it is distressing to read about the graphic details of many other young travellers from all over Europe who disappear in to this hell hole, some never to be seen again. A must read if you want to know and avoid th ...more
Chris Thrall
Dec 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
As with most people who read this book. I finished it in about two page-turning hours and thought it was a phenominal insight into the world of westerners involved with drugs in Asia. Warren wrote a straight to the point, one dimensional account of his experience - and it still receives a wealth of praise from both sides of the drug-debate fence. I say this because I wonder how my own book will be received, having written it with a literary bent straight from the heart of a full-on-and-mental li ...more
Read in one day. Fellows spent 11 1/2 years in the Thailand prison system from 1978 until late 1989 for drug trafficking. He admits his guilt. It's a story of unrelenting horror- torture, heat, bugs, rats, filth, disease, privation and starvation and he has survived it all. Anyone who reads this account and feels justice was done isn't human. ...more
Andrew Mitchell
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For anyone even contemplating the life of drug smuggling, this is a must read. This tale of filthy conditions and uncaring guards all mixed up in a foreign land allow for a horrific page turner. If this doesn't put people off that kind of life, nothing will. This book also contains one of the best/scariest introductions to a book I have ever read. A well written account of living hell. ...more
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute favourite book. Mind blowing! Awesome.
Gary Pitman
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
One star for some of the elements of Thai culture that I found interesting. As for the rest....granted, I've been a corrections officer for a while now, so I'm probably just biased, but I just didn't feel sorry for him. It wasn't just that he was trying to enrich himself by running drugs and feeding off of the addictions of drug addicts, although that in itself isn't very endearing, but his behavior prior to his imprisonment just showed Warren Fellows to be loathsome and excremental, as when he ...more
Frank Balamatsias
Jan 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book hit me for six! What a great insight into the world of drug trafficking and the diabolical consequences that lie ahead. It really is an eye opener and justice in the country of Thailand is swift and crushing. Prisoners are denegrated to the lowest possible forms of life with punishment being an inherent part of Thai punishment.
Fellows goes into great depth regarding the squaler like conditions with the rats the size of cats and contraband being a way of life and coping in such ho
Siriben -
4,000 Days: My Life and Survival in a Bangkok Prison is a biography book written by Warren Fellows. This book is about Warren Fellows, an Australian man who tried to smuggle heroin from Thailand to Australia, but he got caught. He was sent to Bang Kwang Prison and he had to spend 12 years in prison. He described about how the prison was like and how the prisoners were treated in the prison. The life in the prison was horrible, the prisoners were treated badly by the guards and the condition was ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Finished this book in two short sittings. Ok it's not the best written book I have ever read but my the emotions it causes you to experience are intense.

Warren is arrested in Thailand for attempting to smuggle drugs out of the country. Up to that point he never used them and to be honest was probably feeling cocky as he had successfully smuggled before. He will admit it was a choice he made without much thought and at no time is looking for sympathy. The book details his time in various prisons
Michael Cunningham
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was on my way to Thailand, and wanted something to scare me off doing something stupid and ending up in prison, I had heard about The Damage Done and it was described to me as being a Thai ‘Midnight Express’ so I bought it straight away. Warren Fellows retells the story of his devastating experience in several of Thailand’s most notorious prisons for trafficking heroin in the late 70s. The Damage Done contains twelve years of this man’s life condensed into roughly 200 pages, his words are haun ...more
Hannah Patnaik
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I am conflicted. I read this in one sitting and could not stop. I am horrified and disgusted by the acts and atrocities committed, and am grateful to the author for coming forward with his experiences so that the world may learn of the horrors within some prison systems. The experiences faced by this man and the senselessness that he felt was definitely conveyed and I am shocked that someone survived these experiences.

I could not give this a particularly high rating though because the writing w
Andrew Culyer
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Warren Fellows is a contrite person. He fully admits he deserved his punishment for drug-trafficking, and asks for no pity.

What he does do, though, is shed light on the atrocious things that one set of humans can inflict on another, and I found the last chapter the best, full of his thoughts about life afterwards.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, not just the account of life in probably the world's worst prison, but also the sheer human will you need to survive such a thing.

And if there's one thin
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
loved it from start to finish i too was a herion addict for 15 years i found he knew what he was talking about in this book i read it in prison for the first time and the second time was just 2 day ago its a must read book .I for one would seriosly think when i am abroad of having any thing to do with drugs. and will be do.uble chequing me case . its just so sad this story how one man could go through so much.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographical, travel
This book was OK. But I've read far better prison stories.

There's no doubt that Warren endured very hard times, but the story telling was pretty poor. There was no development of prison-mate characters, just a constant stream of "one time a guy...", "...and then another random guy..." etc., etc..

I would recommend books like "Papillon" or "Forget You Had a Daughter" over this one.
Bill Brown
May 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story of an Australian man caught smuggling heroin from Bangkok and his time spent in Bang Kwang prison. Midnight Express is one of my all time favorite books about Billy Hayes imprisoned in Turkey for smuggling hash. 4000 Days is a good story but it is told in past tense instead of story form. Still interesting but not as good as Midnight Express.
Tom Bradley
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm rating this 3.5 out of 5.

I'll start by saying this is no midnight express. There is no time to bond with the characters. The book feels rushed. At times years span pages rather than chapters.

What I did read was eye opening, shocking and to be honest quite sad.

Worth a read but don't go in expecting another midnight express. And, if you haven't yet read midnight express - read it
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This an extremely hard-hitting book, with very graphic and disturbing stories from the author. This is an excellent book to give teenagers and anyone does not have the full understanding of the unglamourous consequeces of drugs and drug peddling.

John Madden
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hadn't read a book in an age (criminal I know) but was on Samui and felt under the weather so decided to take a night off and bought a book I thought looked interesting.. This was it and it reignited a passion in me for reading.. Couldn't put it down, cover to cover in 8 hrs.. ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest books I have read. Short read. Just a warning it get pretty disgusting.
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“I’m not trying to suggest that I was wrongly convicted by corrupt police officers. Simply that I was rightfully convicted by corrupt police officers.” 0 likes
“The difficulty in telling this story – my whole story, in fact – is that there is no way for me to communicate duration of time to you. It may have taken a minute for you to have read of my position in this punishment cell, but I was in this position for a whole month. How do I convey that notion to you? There are no markers with which I can measure. The only way for you to come close to experiencing this is to read the previous paragraph, over and” 0 likes
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