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"When he learned that Normal Mailer was writing about Gary Gilmore, Abbott felt that without knowing the full depth of prison violence and how it works upon prisoners to effect 'the blackening of their hearts,' nobody, not even a master novelist, would get far in pursuit of Gilmore's soul. He therefore wrote to Mailer, offering to describe 'what it is to be seriously a long-term prisoner in an American prison.' Mailer took him on; and now that his letters have been published, we have before us the most intense, I might even say the most fiercely visionary book of its kind in the American repertoire of prison literature. 'In the Belly of the Beast' is awesome, brilliant, perversely ingenuous; its impact is indelible, and as an articulation of penal nightmare it is completely compelling."
Joyce Carol Oates
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Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
Abbott, Jack Henry
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