GATES OF DANNEMORA by John L. S. J. Bonn

GATES OF DANNEMORA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The hue and cry over Wilson's memorable My Sea Convicts (plus its well deserved popularity) will stimulate advance interest in this absorbing prison book. The fact that central character, Father Ambrose Hyland, is still the Catholic Chaplain at Clinton, and of the line prison for incorrigibles at Dannemora, New York, gives the book an extraordinary sense of being in the news, though actually the main incident, the building of Catholic chapel, occurred several years ago, while the war was still on. And while viewpoint is definitely a Catholic one, there should be no lack of interest on the of other than Catholic readers. It is an exciting story of one man's dedication to cause of the convicts, regardless of race, creed or color. Of his difficult period initiation, against a blank wall of spathy or an active resentment; of his conviction at the convicts must be given work outlet, something in which they had a vital concern, save then from the shift over the line to insanity; of the tortuous process, in light overwhelming difficulties and obstacles, of building, by prison hands and outside contributions of money, the chapel to which all prisoners should have access. While this is central theme of the book, the author, himself a Catholic priest, never loses sight the individual dramas, the daily challenges, the ultimate goal of spiritual regeneration. Hollywood interlude lacks the note of authenticity of the prison incidents. The character of the priest is somewhat stereotyped, but believable. But the whole mood and tempo of text carries the reader along without interest lag.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1951
Publisher: Doubleday