Did you know that the list of demands Attica prisoners sent to the state prison commissioner before their infamous 4-day uprising included demands around wages, benefits, working conditions, and the right to form labor unions? Chances are there's a lot you don't know about the 1971 uprising and the years of mistreatment that prompted it. Let this book enlighten you. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE BOSTON GLOBE, NEWSWEEK, KIRKUS, AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • WINNER OF THE BANCROFT PRIZE • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST • Heather Ann Thompson served as the Historical Consultant on the Academy Award-Nominated Documentary feature Attica
“Gripping...deals with racial conflict, mass incarceration, police brutality and dissembling politicians...Makes us understand why this one group of prisoners [rebelled], and how many others shared the cost.” The New York Times
On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed.
On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men — hostages as well as prisoners — and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed.
Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.
“Writing with cinematic clarity from meticulously sourced material, [Thompson] brilliantly exposes the realities of the Attica prison uprising...Thompson’s superb and thorough study serves as a powerful tale of the search for justice in the face of the abuses of institutional power.” Publishers Weekly Review of the Day (Starred Review)
“A masterly account...Essential...Blood in the Water restores [the prisoners’] struggle to its rightful place in our collective memory.” James Forman Jr., The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Heather Ann Thompson is an award-winning historian at the University of Michigan. Her book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the J. Willard Hurst Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other accolades. She is also the author of Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City and the editor of Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s. She served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and has given congressional staff briefings on the subject. She has written on the history of mass incarceration and its current impact for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, Newsweek, NBC, Dissent, New Labor Forum, and The Huffington Post, as well as for various top scholarly publications.