In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison

In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison


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A visionary book in the repertoire of prison literature. When Normal Mailer was writing The Executioner's Song, he received a letter from Jack Henry Abbott, a convict, in which Abbott offered to educate him in the realities of life in a maximum security prison. This book organizes Abbott's by now classic letters to Mailer, which evoke his infernal vision of the prison nightmare.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679732372
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1991
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 140,627
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.41(d)

About the Author

Born in Michigan in 1944, Jack Henry Abbott spent most of his childhood in foster care and his teen years in various detention centers. While serving a long sentence for killing a fellow inmate, he wrote to Norman Mailer and offered to write a truthful depiction of life in prison. Mailer agreed, and with his help Abbott published In the Belly of the Beast. Abbott died in prison in 2002.

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In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my husband is in prison and has 14 more years to go because of us not having a good defense attorney for his trial. He told me to read this book so I can see what he through in prison. I am writing a book about our life... the trial, the hardships and a few other obstacles we have encountered. I want to share everything with him on the inside and out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A victim of his own angry self-destruction. Mr. Abbott reports incidents of beatings and torture in prison. At every turn he is getting the worse end of the stick. Mr Abbott states in his book "Theoretically, no one should belong in prison!" Read the book, it is a strange read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not much of a reader myself, but i couldn't put this book down! It makes you think twice about who should really be the people behind bars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jack Henry Abbott's book is a horrific, yet thoughtful insight into life in a maximum security prison, taken from letters written to Pulitzer Prize wining author Norman Mailer. While many may find Abbott's take on the American justice system, politics, and philosophy to err on the side of the left, I found this to be a searing inditement into not only the frailties within our system of incarceration, but also the frailties within our society as a whole. Despite a limited experience of life outside prison, Abbott has many pertinent comments to make about a system which rewards the rich, and punishes the poor. The fact that his suicide letter has never been seen by anyone outside the prison system in America is damning evidence, and only lends weight to Abbott's claims of gross injustice within the maximum security penal institution. He never claims to be anything other then what he is: a creation of the prison system. His insight and skill with the written word makes this a crucial book for anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the problems exisiting in our treatment of criminals, and our system of incarceration today.