Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson

Blood In The Water, The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson;  2016;$35.00; 724 pages; Pantheon Books, New York, NY; 978-0-375-42322-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 4/22/17-5/4/17

Why did I read this? Last year I had decided that I would read all the Pulitzer Prize winning books each year.  This was one of the winners for 2017, I had already read two of the 2017 winners, Underground Railroad and Evicted.  Also, this happened when I was turning 17 and I knew very little about it and wanted to know more.

One day in September the world turned upside down at the overcrowded prison in Attica, New York.  The prisoners were tired of the way they were treated by the corrections officers and the prison administration.  Feed terrible food, locked in small cells for days, weeks and sometimes month on end, supervised by corrections officers with no training of any type and antagonistic administration which did not care about the conditions the prisoners were subjected to.   The prisoners rose up and took over the prison on September 9, 1971.  Four days later the state had agreed to 28 of their demands, however the state decided to retake the prison on September 13.  They did so with state troopers and other corrections officers, whom were kept waiting outside the prison for up to four days, becoming more and more agitated.  These men were given few instructions on how to regain control of the prison.  They were issued and allowed to bring from home weapons to use in the retaking even though it was known that the prisoners had no weapons. The men were instructed to remove all badges and other identifying marks so no one would know whom was whom.  In the retaking 10 corrections officers, civilian employees and 33 inmates were killed.  Only one death could be directly attributed to the inmates and that happened at the beginning of the takeover.  After the retaking the state tried to cover up the retaking, burying evidence and having the investigators be peers of those who had done the killing.  As far as I can tell the last lawsuits by inmates, hostages and hostage families were settled in 2005.

This is a thorough investigation and timeline of what happened and who did what.  The states behavior was atrocious before, during and after the retaking.  Many inmates were tortured after the retaking being beaten and undergoing physical and psychological abuse.  This is a rousing condemnation of state sponsored terrorism, which was inflicted on both inmates and hostages.

Grade-A+

 

i am Brian Wilson by Brian Wilson

i am Brian Wilson, a memoir by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman; 2016; $26.99; 312 pages; Da Capo Press, Boston, MA; 978-0-306-82306-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 4/15/17-4/22/17

Why did I read this?  Because as a long time Beach Boy fan and having just read Mike Love’s autobiography I thought that I would read what another founding member had to say.

If Mike Love’s  book was a well documented autobiography this was a great visit with an old friend at the kitchen table.  Brian revisited much of has been written about him, his family and the Beach Boys, giving his perspective on things.  This was a warm and inviting visit with a man much has been written about.

Grade-A

Good Vibrations, My Life as a Beach Boy by Mike Love

Good Vibrations, My Life As A Beach Boy by Mike Love with James S. Hirsch; 2016; $28.00; 424 pages; Blue Rider Press, New York, NY; 978-0-399-17641-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 4/7/17-4/15/17

Why did I read this? I have been a lifelong Beach Boy and have disliked Mike Love for many years, due to much of what I have read in the media and some biographies of Brian Wilson.  I thought that I should get his side of the story.

This is one of the most well documented autobiographies that I have ever read.  Mike documents his entire life and exposes his own foibles.  He has transcripts from many depositions, court transcripts and other meetings.  He has shown that he has cared much about the Beach Boys music through the life of the band.  Even after all the bad blood that has flowed through the band he still cares deeply about family and his cousins.  I think I owe Mr. Love an apology for all the bad things I have said about him.

Grade-A

Oath of Honor by Matthew Betley

Oath of Honor by Matthew Betley; 2017; $26.00; 406 pages; Emily Bestler Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-9925-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 4/5/7-4/7/17

Why did I read this?  I read Overwatch the first book in the series and really liked the characters.

Logan West, John Quick, Mike Benson and a new group of friends are tasked with stopping another attempt at world domination.  The action ranges from Alaska to Sudan and involves the Sudanese, the Chinese and a highly placed traitor within the U.S. government.  As the action moves around the world there are several new characters introduced as members of a team.  The President commissions a task force that will be a black ops team to combat terrorist treats around the world.

Grade-A

Murder in Linn County Oregon by Cory Frye

Murder in Linn County Oregon by Cory Frye; $21.99; 2016; 143 pages; The History Press, Charleston, S.C.; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 4/3/17-4/5/17

Why did I read this? Because it looked interesting.

In early 1922 there were several murders in Linn County, Oregon.  There was a case of murder between two  men who were supposedly picking up some moonshine, when one killed the other.  There was two men who stole a car and ended up killing the Chief of Police for Albany.  The was the case of a brewer of shine who killed a different Albany of Police and a minister and himself when the Sheriff and minister came to investigate a still.  On top of this there was a pedophile lurking about town.  This all happened between January and June of the year.  It was an awful six months in and around Albany as multiple families lost fathers.  This is an well written account of a time when alcohol was banned through the country, people were acting hyper morally and the Klan was strong in the state. Frye provides a great deal of historical context.

Grade-A

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