ALCATRAZ: 1868-1963 by John Godwin

ALCATRAZ: 1868-1963

Email this review


Mr. Godwin's Alcatraz comes out a month following J. Campbell Bruce's Escape from Alcatraz, (McGraw-Hill-p.456) and comparisons must be made. Neither book goes deeper than journalism, although Bruce's Escape has a more bitter appeal. Alcatraz covers The Rock's history pretty much as well as Escape but is given more to colorful stories of gangsters at their trade away from the prison. It focuses each chapter upon types of prisoners and prison personnel. Escape centers mainly upon escape artists trying to get out of the prison, and renders the sense of being in prison with more attention to the textures of life there. Both books are quite readable and enjoyable, Alcatraz for machine guns and famous thugs, Escape for the curiosity of puzzle stories, or ""How to Get out of a Cell"". Of the two, Escape must be registered here as the better choice, although it lapses into fictionalizing stream-of-consciousness of unverified details. It presents the prison itself better, and sees the prisoners a bit deeper. Nonetheless, Alcatras does its work with a lot of fun in cheek, and is best about the desperadoes of the Thirties.

Pub Date: July 5th, 1963
Publisher: Doubleday