88 MEN AND 2 WOMEN by

88 MEN AND 2 WOMEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Warden Duffy's recollections of many San Quentin years have a popular and persuasive touch, shock items and moral uplift, gallows humor plus pathos, pretty much the stuff you'd find in the Post or Digest, for whom indeed the warden has often written. And his rogues' gallery can match anybody's: ""prima Donnas"" like Tom Mooney, the thirties' labor hero; Kid McCoy, the game boxer; Gordon Northcott, southern California's own de Sade; thwarted lives (a ""nice boy"" bent on self-destruction, an honor scout turned wild-eyed robber and copkiller); sad fates (one handsome Hungarian with a death wish shoots sweetheart, calls homicide); and finally, that psychopath par excellence, Caryl Chessman, martyr to some, monster to others. The portrait of Chessman by the Duffy is totally unflattering: a gripping, smirking, guard-harassing hulk, forever tossing off writs of cruel and unusual punishment, all- he claims-unfounded. The book's title refers to the 90 executions at which the author officiated, the 2 females being Duchess, a sort of Mama Scarface, and ""wholesome"", wolf-hearted Mrs. Peete. The book's raison d'etre: do away with capital punishment- no one's bad enough for the agony of death row and the gas chamber which waits. A revealing account.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday