"Did you ever see the Devil? Have you ever been in Hell? Did you ever have an angel pay a visit to your cell in solitary confinement where men are seldom fed?"
Eight Years in Southern Prisons
by Beecher Deason
Garrett County Press
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Published in the 1920s, this is a fascinating and engrossing account of the southern prison system as told by a man on the inside. This was a time when a short stint in prison might easily mean a death sentence, as prisoners were subjected to endless labor under the constant threat of violence and death (from "bosses" and prisoners). This is the rural prison world of Cool Hand Luke but true. Showing an incredible eye for detail, Deason takes us -- in a short amount of pages -- through an engrossing world of hard bosses, zany escapes and many attempts at redemption. "By giving a true description of prison life and the after effects of prison, I hope to show many young men the utter folly of crime," Deason writes.