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Hell (A Prison Diary #1)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  3,007 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
DAY 5 MONDAY 23 JULY 2001 5.53AM

The sun is shining through the bars of my window on what must be a glorious summer day. I've been incarcerated in a cell five paces by three for twelve and a half hours, and will not be let out again until midday; eighteen and a half hours of solitary confinement. There is a child of seventeen in the cell below me who has been charged with s
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 24th 2003 by Pan Books (first published 2002)
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Carla René
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I do NOT know what all the flap is about Jeffrey Archer being such a piss-poor writer. I downloaded one of his free short-stories back in the winter from his "And Thereby Hangs a Tale" collection, and after just a few paragraphs in, I was immediately taken on an amazingly tantalising and tactile journey that pulled my emotions along in a very seamless manner.

His story-telling skills are incredibly sharp and finely-honed, and in that regard, he reminds me very much of Dan Brown or J.K.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
AKA Archer Gets an Education
Archer must be the most unthreatening, mild mannered, good guy on the planet. Everyone wants to be his friend. And he met some nasty pieces of work.
Wendy Soliman
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I make no apology for being an avid Jeffrey Archer fan. I think his novels are cracking good escapism. So there! I was however a bit apprehensive about reading his first prison diary. It was going to be full of Jeff feeling sorry for himself and berating everyone except himself, wasn't it?

Well, no, actually. There was very little of that. Instead the insight into the prison service and some of its more off-the-wall rules had me laughing, crying and full of righteous indignation as the book progr
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, justice
The millionaire author and lord is sentenced to four years for perjury (he elides over the specifics of his case), and details his 21 days at London’s Belmarsh Prison while waiting on appeal. It’s an interesting look at the British penal system, which seems to suffer from some of the same defects at the American one (too many inside for drugs, too many first offenders turned into career criminals by associating with them on the inside, not nearly enough education or other incentives to improve). ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I listened to this on audio and it wasn’t until I was done and looked on Archer’s website that I realized this was Part I:Hell. There are two more parts, Purgatory and Heaven where he chronicles the rest of his two years behind bars. I will not be reading either of those. It is not because he is a person who does not summon sympathy (although he doesn’t), it is because this book was boring. And if part one is called Hell and is boring, well, how much more monotonous can parts two and three be? I ...more
Patrick O'Neil
Lord Archer got convicted and sent to prison.
Lord Archer met some unsavory characters while in said prison.
Lord Archer met some criminals that weren't so bad.
Lord Archer met convicts who were a product of their environment.
Lord Archer mingled with society's rejects and lived.
Lord Archer admits to the judicial system being a failure.
Lord Archer is still a pretentious prat - however he almost redeemed himself writing this book.

Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing

As with all Archer's books this is brilliantly written. Unlike anything he's ever written this is a real eye opener.
Can't wait to read the next 2 parts.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
As I walk my doggy for an hour and a half every day, I like to take advantage of the time listening to audio books. With respect to the narrators, I get impatient with one person doing the voices of multiple characters, so I tend to listen to nonfiction, and for the past while, have been downloading mostly memoirs. As this title also fit into my mild interest in true crime and incarceration, I thought it would be a good choice for me.

I must admit that I've never read any of Archer's fiction, but
Denne selvfede skildring giver mig intet af værdi. Til sammenligning er den gratis artikelserie "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard" den rå, ægte vare. Kapitel 1 lyder: "INMATES RUN THIS BITCH"
Talia Carner
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best part about listening to audio books is the ability to determine when a piece of writing is overwrought or too verbose. Since I cannot skip a paragraph or a page, often, this malady makes me quit the book and choose another. This was not the case with Jeffery Archer’s memoir of his first three weeks in prison. I listened to it even when I had only 10 minutes drive because I wanted to hear more.

The fall from greatness alone creates tension: Archer was not only a bestselling novelist but a
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new
The upper class Delboy of the Common spends some time in jail.

Actually Jef meets a real life Delboy in the clink...

Its all been said on here. Archer gets banged up and spends the entire book moaning about the food and acting as if hes on a survival program. Its exactly the kind of thing one would imagine from a Conservative Toff who has to live among the rif raf. Pretty much everyone bows to his lordship. The good old British class system automatically kicks in, even in prison - and people know
Ahsan Ali Gardezi
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
It took me some time but I finally finished it.
The book itself is a mush of hate, political discussions, and the author's next campaign goals all combined. Not to mention the author's humiliation of anyone who did not treat him in a special manner and anyone who just did his job.
On the positive note this is written more from an observer's point of view, which in fact is how Mr. Archer would feel quite understandably inside the British penal system, being a "model citizen" most of his life.
Karen Wherlock
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
I listened to this book while reading a book about someone in an American prison in Arizona. The differences were shocking. Both writers came out of prison changed and, I suppose "reformed," but the prison in Arizona had so many human rights violations that it was difficult to read. Archer points out well that the worst thing about being in prison is being separated from those he loves and the outside world. Is the barbarism in many US prisons what criminals deserve, or do we want to give people ...more
Feb 10, 2009 rated it liked it
The author spent two years in prison. This first book of three tells about his first 3 weeks in a high security prison. It is eye-opening and sad. Some of the prisoner language is coarse. One of the prisoners told his story and it made me realize what a sheltered life I have led. I didn't want to know that about people. Scott and I listened to this book together. We choose to read this book because he took many of his ideas from A Prisoner of Birth, which we really enjoyed from this prison exper ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Such an annoying, arrogant, obnoxious man, so I have to say a large part of my pleasure in reading this book was a certain amount of schadenfreude. But it does also provide an interesting fly on the wall view into what everyday life in prison is like (and a high category prison for rapists and murderers at that); the tedium, the bad food, the mindless bureaucracy, and yet more tedium.

A quick easy read (like most Jeffrey Archer books).
Stephanie Vaccarello
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Interesting insights into prison life and the British penal system but too sanctimonious for me.
Richard Mulholland
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picked this up in a charity shop and once I'd started reading I couldn't put it down. A reportage of Archer's time at Belmarsh (Hellmarsh as it's know to the prisoners). An informative and interesting book with tales of the inmates lives and how they ended up being incarcerated.

I've ordered the second and third diaries and cant' wait for them to arrive.

Would recommend this just to get an idea of what's really going on inside our prisons.
Philip Carman
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this in a day as couldn't put it down.

Despite the fact I'm not a fan of his novels, this was an interesting insight into his first few days/weeks in prison - and if anything, shows him in a better light than expected - as didn't expect any favours/didn't want to be treated any different.

Have already reserved parts 2 and 3 from the library.
Joan Fisher
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-archer
Intriguing, considering his background. Almost treated his imprisonment as an anthropological study. Perhaps his way of surviving his ordeal by approaching it more from a clinical perspective. Of course, not as amusing as his works of fiction. Rather stark, but gripping.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I randomly checked out this book just because it was available. I really enjoyed it. I liked that he introduced each person by what they were in prison for, and each food he ate by how much it cost. It was funny and interesting.
Andrea Robinson
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very pleased with this book and can't wait for the next one.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, 2016
Fascinating and compelling story.
Ned Charles
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Entertaining and easy to read as are the Archer books. However, in this instance I was not sold. The book lacked the expected emotion of a person's first time entry to prison. There were many interesting points and some interesting story's, but the author's only two real complaints about prison life were the size of the cell and the quality of the food.
Maybe other authors on such subjects paint an overly glum picture.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
I started off by liking this book and it caught my interest straight away capturing me in it; I was curious to the living of cellmates; what is it they do, face, etc. But as I continued reading I slowly started losing my interest towards it. The book is well written, it's just that the story drove me away from it boring me bit by bit, it's the fact the routines were the same, Jeffery kept doing everything day after day. The book is just not for me.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
I found this surprisingly good. Jeffrey Archer's account of his first 3 weeks in prison for perjury. I will read his follow up book in the next few weeks.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Almost like an episode of the BBC comedy "Porridge" without the laughs - one of the main characters is actually named Fletch - Archer dons a stiff upper lip as he spends a few weeks of his original jail sentence in the high security Belmarsh prison. This is where the lifers, the murderers, the armed robbers, the serious crime merchants are housed, along with people like Archer who are passing through while a more "open" prison can be found for them. Archer, "Lord Jeff" fits right in, keeping thi ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Good stuff.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book Description
On July 19, 2001, following a conviction for perjury, international bestselling author Jeffrey Archer was sentenced to four years in prison. Prisoner FF8282, as Archer is now known, spent the first three weeks in the notorious HMP Belmarsh, a high-security prison in South London, home to murderers, terrorists and some of Britain's most violent criminals.

On the last day of the trial, his mother dies, and the world's press accompany him to the funeral. On returning to prison, he's
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first of his prison diary books follows Archer’s 22 days in London’s Category A high security prison Belmarsh, which he shares with 32 murderers and 17 other lifers mainly convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter.
His mother dies on the last day of his trial and it starts off with the funeral, of which he is allowed to attend, and here he has to contend with the mass media interest at the church and at his home in Grantchester.
Then he is incarcerated on the lifer’s wing. The rest of th
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Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married
More about Jeffrey Archer...

Other Books in the Series

A Prison Diary (3 books)
  • Purgatory (A Prison Diary, #2)
  • Heaven (A Prison Diary, #3)

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