Alcatraz: The Gangster Years by David Ward, Gene Kassebaum

By David Ward, Gene Kassebaum

Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis, "Dock" Barker—these have been quite a few of the mythical "public enemies" for whom America's first supermax criminal used to be created. In Alcatraz: The Gangster Years, David Ward brings their tales to existence, in addition to bright money owed of the lives of alternative notorious criminals who undergone the prison from 1934 to 1948. Ward, who loved unparalleled entry to FBI, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Federal Parole files, performed interviews with 100 former Alcatraz convicts, guards, and directors to supply this definitive historical past of "The Rock." Alcatraz is the single e-book with authoritative solutions to questions that experience swirled concerning the legal: How did prisoners cope psychologically with the cruel regime? What provoked the protests and moves? How did safety flaws bring about the sensational get away makes an attempt? And what occurred while those "habitual, incorrigible" convicts have been ultimately published? by way of shining a mild at the most renowned criminal on the earth, Ward additionally increases well timed questions about modern supermax prisons.

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Extra resources for Alcatraz: The Gangster Years

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Prison employees had been strictly forbidden to talk with anyone about prisoners or events on the island; reporters had never been allowed to visit or talk to prisoners; nearly all communication between the island and the outside world had been effectively shut off. Even after the prison ceased operations, former members of the prison staff continued to assume they could not talk about Alcatraz to anyone outside the Bureau of Prisons. In addition, the Bureau had never undertaken any systematic documentation of policies, procedures, and events on the island prison.

The inferior convict who became unruly in such purgatories as Fort Leavenworth and Atlanta was threatened with a transfer to the full-fledged inferno of Alcatraz. Thus, the quality of the rotten eggs in the general basket would be improved by picking out the most putrid ones for individual wrapping. . It may not be easy to wax sentimental about the tough hides of such personages as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. . They must be securely segregated, of course, for the protection of the law-abiding population.

Candace Kruttschnitt, my friend and colleague at the University of Minnesota, offered enthusiastic support for this project for many years—or was it decades? Professor Irving Tallman from Washington State University wrote hard-nosed reviews of our research findings and how they were presented, but this longtime friend’s most important contribution, particularly after he and I retired to the Bay Area, was his persistent encouragement and his promise that this book would be published in my lifetime.

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