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Escaping Alcatraz: The Untold Story of the Greatest Prison Break in American History

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NOTE: This book contains graphic depictions of extreme crime and violence. Its content may not be suitable for all readers. Under the cover of night on June 11, 1962, using only crude homemade tools, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin tunneled their way out of Alcatraz, America's most secure maximum security prison. Enacting a complex escape plan, the trio b NOTE: This book contains graphic depictions of extreme crime and violence. Its content may not be suitable for all readers. Under the cover of night on June 11, 1962, using only crude homemade tools, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin tunneled their way out of Alcatraz, America's most secure maximum security prison. Enacting a complex escape plan, the trio broke free from the cellblock, made it undetected past patrolling guards, inflated homemade life vests and a raft, and set sail into a foggy history. Made famous by the classic film Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood and multiple Hollywood documentaries, this legendary mystery is still debated over a half century later. Considered America's Devil Island, Alcatraz opened in August 1934 with the intent to turn the spectacularly colorful dispositions of America's worst criminals into a world of black and white. Cramped cells, stern discipline, strict rules, and an unrelenting routine shaped almost every aspect of daily life on the Rock. The island was a natural fortress, separated from the mainland by a narrow strait of frigid water and deadly currents. It was believed that no one could escape alive. With its damp cold and austere isolation, Alcatraz was the toughest of all federal penitentiaries--as tough as the criminals housed there--and it successfully contained some of America's most notorious outlaws. In Escaping Alcatraz: The Untold Story of the Greatest Prison Break in American History, Alcatraz Historian Michael Esslinger and David Widner, nephew of the Anglin brothers, both featured in the History Channel documentary Alcatraz: Search for the Truth, have compiled hundreds of photographs, FBI and Bureau of Prisons investigative notes, original source documents from the Anglin family library, inmate case file records, interviews with key convicts and officers, and first-person accounts of officials who investigated the escape to produce one of the most detailed narratives of the famed prison break.


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NOTE: This book contains graphic depictions of extreme crime and violence. Its content may not be suitable for all readers. Under the cover of night on June 11, 1962, using only crude homemade tools, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin tunneled their way out of Alcatraz, America's most secure maximum security prison. Enacting a complex escape plan, the trio b NOTE: This book contains graphic depictions of extreme crime and violence. Its content may not be suitable for all readers. Under the cover of night on June 11, 1962, using only crude homemade tools, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin tunneled their way out of Alcatraz, America's most secure maximum security prison. Enacting a complex escape plan, the trio broke free from the cellblock, made it undetected past patrolling guards, inflated homemade life vests and a raft, and set sail into a foggy history. Made famous by the classic film Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood and multiple Hollywood documentaries, this legendary mystery is still debated over a half century later. Considered America's Devil Island, Alcatraz opened in August 1934 with the intent to turn the spectacularly colorful dispositions of America's worst criminals into a world of black and white. Cramped cells, stern discipline, strict rules, and an unrelenting routine shaped almost every aspect of daily life on the Rock. The island was a natural fortress, separated from the mainland by a narrow strait of frigid water and deadly currents. It was believed that no one could escape alive. With its damp cold and austere isolation, Alcatraz was the toughest of all federal penitentiaries--as tough as the criminals housed there--and it successfully contained some of America's most notorious outlaws. In Escaping Alcatraz: The Untold Story of the Greatest Prison Break in American History, Alcatraz Historian Michael Esslinger and David Widner, nephew of the Anglin brothers, both featured in the History Channel documentary Alcatraz: Search for the Truth, have compiled hundreds of photographs, FBI and Bureau of Prisons investigative notes, original source documents from the Anglin family library, inmate case file records, interviews with key convicts and officers, and first-person accounts of officials who investigated the escape to produce one of the most detailed narratives of the famed prison break.

42 review for Escaping Alcatraz: The Untold Story of the Greatest Prison Break in American History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warren Benton

    Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the inescapable prison.  Alcatraz was a high-security prison from 1934 to 1963.  Morris and the Anglin's escape is what really sealed the prison closing because it brought the prison under extreme scrutiny. This book gives you a very good back history of the prison, of prisoners who escape, and the overall prison system at the time.   This book provides the reader with first-hand accounts, FBI reports and still maintains the what-if factor.  The Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the inescapable prison.  Alcatraz was a high-security prison from 1934 to 1963.  Morris and the Anglin's escape is what really sealed the prison closing because it brought the prison under extreme scrutiny. This book gives you a very good back history of the prison, of prisoners who escape, and the overall prison system at the time.   This book provides the reader with first-hand accounts, FBI reports and still maintains the what-if factor.  There is also a brief history of the motion picture from 1979 Escape from Alcatraz. 

  2. 4 out of 5

    Smooballs

    The beginning is a little slow and I trudged through it. They build up your knowledge on guards and escape attempts so you have a good foot hold before they get to the story telling. There is A LOT of reference information before you get to the main story. Once the story gets going and the build up the history of the famous escapees it’s much more palatable. You learn to sort of empathize with some of the inmates in a sense. I even felt a little dirty at some points when I found myself sort of ro The beginning is a little slow and I trudged through it. They build up your knowledge on guards and escape attempts so you have a good foot hold before they get to the story telling. There is A LOT of reference information before you get to the main story. Once the story gets going and the build up the history of the famous escapees it’s much more palatable. You learn to sort of empathize with some of the inmates in a sense. I even felt a little dirty at some points when I found myself sort of rooting for the bad guys, due to their cleverness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    My husband & I listened to this on a road trip - I've read another book by this author about Alcatraz, so a lot of this was repetitive for me. But this version has more interviews with former Alcatraz prisoners, and the last third of the story gives more details of the final escape with the Anglin brothers. This was the most interesting part of the book to me. My husband & I listened to this on a road trip - I've read another book by this author about Alcatraz, so a lot of this was repetitive for me. But this version has more interviews with former Alcatraz prisoners, and the last third of the story gives more details of the final escape with the Anglin brothers. This was the most interesting part of the book to me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ronan Conroy

    "Escaping Alcatraz" is a somewhat clumsily written but comprehensive and detailed book of the 1962 escape of Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin from the forbidding and wretched prison of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. No-one conclusively knows to this day whether they really made it to freedom, or whether they drowned in the frigid bay waters in their desperation to find any alternative to long lonely years in one of the most depressing prisons in America. Either way, their vanis "Escaping Alcatraz" is a somewhat clumsily written but comprehensive and detailed book of the 1962 escape of Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin from the forbidding and wretched prison of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. No-one conclusively knows to this day whether they really made it to freedom, or whether they drowned in the frigid bay waters in their desperation to find any alternative to long lonely years in one of the most depressing prisons in America. Either way, their vanishing from the cells, and leaving dummies in their places, was catalytic in bringing about the closure of Alcatraz. Bottom line though - you’re talking about armed bank robbers who repeatedly chose crime over an honest living, so on some level you have to take a step back and kind of question all the hero worship.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dara Ali

  7. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alan Elias

  10. 4 out of 5

    Norm

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Taylor

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Whitman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emma Ngawhika

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brodie Plunkett

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Bro

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ghaida

  19. 5 out of 5

    Spending Life

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  21. 4 out of 5

    Callum

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma Ngawhika

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Gutierrez

  24. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alya bnt Saif

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Defazio

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dax

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria B

  31. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  32. 5 out of 5

    Alan Elias

  33. 5 out of 5

    Ryanhughes

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

  35. 4 out of 5

    Hsin-han Chen

  36. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Mazdra

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie Poyer

  38. 5 out of 5

    Bunny

  39. 4 out of 5

    Alonzo

  40. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Christina Greger

  42. 4 out of 5

    Sam Schilling

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