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Summary

Each day we saw the outside world in all its splendour, and each day that view served as a reminder that we had wasted and ruined our lives. Jim Quillen, AZ586 - a runaway, problem child and petty thief - was jailed several times before his twentieth birthday. In August 1942, after escaping from San Quentin, he was arrested on the run and sentenced to forty-five years in prison, and later transferred to Alcatraz.

This is the true story of life inside America's most notorious prison - from terrifying times in solitary confinement to daily encounters with 'the Birdman', and what really happened during the desperate and deadly 1946 escape attempt.

©1991 Jim Quillen (P)2015 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

'WOW' sums this book up perfectly!

Would you consider the audio edition of Inside Alcatraz to be better than the print version?

I often have very limited time to actually pick up a novel and read it front to back. For me the audible version was absolutely perfect.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I tried to listen to this as often as I could and on a daily commute that usual bores me, I found that with my Audible companion it was enjoyable and if anything, time went too quickly.

Any additional comments?

I am fascinated by the criminal world and especially by Alcatraz. I read anything I possibly can that provides even just a glimpse of what life on that island was really like. Until now however, I've never read anything as informative and enjoyable as this.

Jim Quillen lived a very extraordinary life packed with twists and turns and plenty of upset and he truly expresses that in his writing. Everything was against him, but he never faltered, never ceased, his determination stayed strong until he reached the goal he set out to achieve. He shows that no matter how tough, redemption isn't always impossible. I have to be honest and say that the way Quillen turned his life around really did inspire me.

I would urge anyone with even the slightest interest in Alcatraz, the criminal world, redemption or reform, to read this book. You will not be disappointed!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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very interesting

Good listen,but towards the end became a bit weary of the narration and just wanted it to finish.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard hitting and interesting

What made the experience of listening to Inside Alcatraz the most enjoyable?

The honesty of the writer, a hard life but there is hope.

What about Jeff Harding’s performance did you like?

Yes, the performance of reader was very good, crisp and clear.

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  • MR
  • 25-04-16

Great book, well read and thought out

Fantastic book if you like history and crime like myself. It's made me want to learn more about Alcatraz and other inmates. Definitely worth a read, and had me gripped. Would recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Inspiring story and captivating

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely yes. The story is not only inspiring but also expressed in a very fine language.

What did you like best about this story?

There are many things and only few general points I will mention: how much the childhood has a bearing on the future of all of us; how a good and loving word ("of this priest" in Alcatraz) may change the entire course of life and how love and trust of other people is important in encouraging to dig the best out of us.

What about Jeff Harding’s performance did you like?

At times I was wondering if it was not too flat and rather "unemotional" but this absence of dramatisation is in fact the entire strength of the lecture. I really enjoyed this professional narration.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. It is captivating from the beginning to the end. Maybe with the exception of the appendix which was interesting but not really a "must".

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to anybody.

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  • Rob S.
  • 16-03-17

A Cautionary Tale of a Life Misspent

What made the experience of listening to Inside Alcatraz the most enjoyable?

Obviously the authors perspective. This was his life told in an unvarnished monologue. I felt his words and descriptions were personal and authentic. His observations on incarceration vs rehabilitation were interesting and note worth.

What other book might you compare Inside Alcatraz to and why?

I'm not a big reader of this type of book, but having recently toured the famous or infamous facility was compelled upon returning home to explore some of the books that were featured in the gift shop as you exited the tour.

What does Jeff Harding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I didn't think Jeff brought anything to the story. His reading was sort of flat and monotone, don't get me wrong it was competent and sincere - but it he certainly didn't add any flash or drama.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No not really. It was entertaining and had me shaking my head as this man's life spiraled out of control from one stupid mistake to another. His use of gangster language made me laugh out loud at times. "I got the drop on the store clerk before he could signal the cops." It sounded like terminology out of an old James Cagney movie...

Any additional comments?

The story of a man who put himself on the path of self-destruction. You are the company you keep is indeed true. But fate put him in the position to witness and experience one of the most notorious places on earth. I think it has a redemptive quality to have him share his experiences and unique perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip B. Galbraith
  • 08-09-17

The Best Audio Book I've Ever Heard!

This audio book is beyond outstanding in my (rarely) humble opinion. The writing is direct, honest and thoughtful. The performance is wonderful.

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  • isabelle
  • 06-02-16

Great book!

I was surprised by this book.
Great narration. The author seamed intelligent above average, thou his young adulthood was ruined by constant poor choices.
Having visited Alcatraz, I can only imagine the lack of humanity behind those walls at that time.
Hard to believe someone gets out without serious mental problems .

1 of 2 people found this review helpful