Drury's Reviews > In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil W. White III
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read from March 20 to April 04, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. The author, Neil White, is a sort of a self-serving, Southern frat boy type, but then he tells you that about himself. In the meantime, he also displays a real appreciation for an interesting history of an institution where he happens to be locked up for a felony. The institution is the only established leper colony in the continental U.S., and at some point in its existence had to start sharing space with Louisiana's prison system. We also learn that the site had at one time been a sugar cane plantation, I gather owned by or associated with, the Carville family, a descendant being James Carville who was once Bill Clinton's campaign manager. Carville is all Louisiana, and being familiar with him gives a real sense of the leper colony/prison setting described so well by the author.

The book is essentially an excercise in soul searching, and I credit White with the attempt, even if you know he likes to make a buck. I personally love Mississippi and Louisiana, and I understand his "struggles" with growing up in the South and all the eccentricities and social outrages that come with it. In the end there's a lot more soul in Southerners like White than the national opinion would have us believe.

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