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Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing


Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing Cover

ISBN13: 9780375726620
ISBN10: 0375726624
Condition: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Ashley Bowen-Murphy, March 1, 2012 (view all comments by Ashley Bowen-Murphy)
Ted Conover's "Newjack" feels dated now, but I am sure that when it came out nearly 10 years ago the book must have been shocking. Although some of the political insights were not new to me and at times the book felt like it just skimmed the surface of America's prison culture, I read the whole thing in about two days.

The parts of the book I most enjoyed, sadly, were some of the shortest-- the parts when he reflects on how working as a prison guard strains his life outside the gates, his relationship with his wife, and how it changes his interactions with his children. Generally these sections felt like they illuminated the reality of being a prison guard more than the parts about training or getting hazed by older guards. These sections also make prison guards seem the most human, troubled by their own backgrounds and demons.

Some of Conover's insights into the prison system feel shallow today. Yes, the US incarcerates too many young men, yes they are mostly men of color, yes we do not emphasize reform or poverty alleviation. However, I have the sense that it was Conover's book that made these critiques move from activist circles to mainstream media coverage.

I appreciate that he worked so hard to chronicle this experience and humanize a group often stereotyped as white, racist, toughs. This book alone is not enough to understand prisons or their culture, but it is an excellent addition to the genre.
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katatrina, May 19, 2009 (view all comments by katatrina)
You have to admire Ted Conover for what he is willing to do and experience. His total immersion in a project brings insights and observations beyond an ordinary expose. I’ve read this book twice and still find myself marveling and how our prison system is run and what goes on behind closed gates. Conover’s writing leaves me breathless.
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Product Details

Conover, Ted
Vintage Books
Conover, Ted
New York
Law Enforcement
U.S. Government
Correctional personnel
Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement
Government - U.S. Government
Conover, Ted
Sing Sing Prison
Crime-Prisons and Prisoners
prison;non-fiction;memoir;journalism;prisons;crime;sociology;sing sing;new york;corrections;history
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.1 x 0.75 in 0.55 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology
History and Social Science » Crime » Enforcement and Investigation
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime

Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375726620 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This book takes a reader inside one of the many locked doors of America's penal system. It is clear-eyed and sympathetic, intelligent and engrossing. It reminded me of some of George Orwell's admirable journalism."
"Review" by , "Nobody goes to greater lengths to get a story than Ted Conover. Immersing himself in his subject to a degree matched by few journalists working today, he has given us a compelling, compassionate look at a terribly important, poorly understood aspect of American society. My hat is off to him."
"Review" by , "Newjack is an astonishing work by a gifted — and dedicated — journalist. Ted Conover takes us into the dangerous, sad, amusing and instructive soul of one of America's best known prisons."
"Review" by , "Ted Conover is a first rate reporter and more daring and imaginative than the rest of us combined. This book is one of his finest."
"Review" by , "Instead of emerging from Sing Sing with a reform agenda, Conover ended his ordeal with this fascinating look at how prison brutalizes men and women on both sides of the bars."
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed journalist Conover sets a new standard for reporting when he applies for a job as a prison officer. So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the New York State's most troubled maximum-security facility.
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed journalist Ted Conover sets a new standard for bold, in-depth reporting in this first-hand account of life inside the penal system.

When Conovers request to shadow a recruit at the New York State Corrections Officer Academy was denied, he decided to apply for a job as a prison officer. So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the states most troubled maximum-security facility. The result of his year there is this remarkable look at one of Americas most dangerous prisons, where drugs, gang wars, and sex are rampant, and where the line between violator and violated is often unclear. As sobering as it is suspenseful, Newjack is an indispensable contribution to the urgent debate about our countrys criminal justice system, and a consistently fascinating read.

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