Hot House

Hot House

4.02 (1,115 ratings by Goodreads)
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Author of the acclaimed Family of Spies, Pete Earley is the first writer ever permitted unlimited access to America's oldest federal prison. Out of the iron belly of this maximum-security penitentiary comes his stunning account of life behind bars--the nation's hardest criminals doing hard time...It's a self-contained metropolis behind vast walls built in 1895; a lethal place governed by ruthless clans competing for dominance. Murder is frequent, rape is less for sex than for power, and respect is the coin of the realm. Once disrespected, a Leavenworth inmate has two choices: he can submit to virtual slavery--or he can fight his antagonist until one of them dies.Nicknamed "the Hot House" because of the sweltering conditions of its cellblocks, the federal penitentiary in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, seethes with the pervasive threat of riot. It is the most dreaded facility in the system--not because of its maximum-security rating, but because of its fierce population: sociopathic gangsters, Aryan Nation neo-Nazi killers, muscle toughs, ruthless narcotics profiteers, and heavyset bikers pockmarked with bullet wounds like acne scars. Even the shaven-legged "punks," the drunks, and the junkies may be carrying homemade "shank" knives under their shirts.Pete Earley, celebrated investigative reporter, conducted literally hundreds of hours of interviews, all but living inside the primordial world of Leavenworth. Out of this extraordinary firsthand access, as well as essential documents, telephone transcripts, and prison files, comes the riveting story of what life is actually like inside this most famous of prisons. The Hot House depicts the gulf between the thinking of us "Square Johns" and the inmates--people a Hot House prison psychologist termed as having "only two emotions, fear and anger. Everything these inmates do revolves around those two emotions and nothing else."The Hot House focuses on a few of the "star" players in Leavenworth: among them Carl Cletus Bowles, the sexual predator with a talent for murder; Dallas Scott, a gang member who, at age forty-two, has spent almost thirty of those years behind bars; Warden Robert Matthews, who put his shoulder against his prison's immovable grim reality; Thomas Silverstein, a sociopath confined in "no human contact status" since 1983; and William Post, a bank robber with a criminal record going back to when he was eight years old, and the nickname "Catman" because he takes devoted care of the cats that live inside Leavenworth. The inmates are kept under control by an enormous staff of guards, whose main job is to keep the turf wars at bay and quell riots before they erupt.Not only a gripping account of real men behind bars and those who control them, Pete Earley's book is also a startling meditation on national prison policy. The United States has the dubious distinction of locking up the highest percentage of its population of any country in the world. The subject matter of The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison colors our daily lives and fills every night's newscasts. This disquieting book compels wide more

Product details

  • Hardback | 383 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 27.94mm | 703.06g
  • Bantam Books
  • United States
  • English
  • 055307573X
  • 9780553075731

Rating details

1,115 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 32% (358)
4 44% (488)
3 20% (222)
2 3% (35)
1 1% (12)
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