With the Silent Knowledge
Michael Callahan was serving his third stint in prison, but he wasn't a bad man, really. In fact, he was smart and talented and came from a rather privileged upbringing. But he also happened to be an alcoholic with sociopathic tendencies - meaning he didn't particularly care whether he did something wrong if it served his purpose--like getting more money to extend his drinking binges. So he forged checks among unsuspecting and unthinking victims, and this time, he wound up with a one-to-five sentence in a maximum-security prison in southern Illinois. Prisons--whether in the 1970s, when this story takes place, or present day--are built as society's way of removing the unlawful and the downright dangerous from the law-abiding and relatively peaceful citizenry. Some naIve do-gooders may also say they are places where a percentage of those incarcerated have the potential to actually endure prison life and become rehabilitated, ready for re-entry into society one day, good as new. Michael Callahan's story will argue that many of those who perpetrate non-violent criminal behavior aren't being given any favors by being thrown into an over-crowded, under-staffed prison environment of power and deal-making just to get along. Instead of administering the kind of psychological and medical help that many of these people really need to have even as much as a glimmer of a chance to break their illegal behavior patterns and one day rejoin society as a functioning participant, they are simply dropped into an environment to fend for themselves and harden themselves even further against the outside world. But that doesn't mean Michael Callahan won't try to outsmart and outlast the conditions that only beat him down before he can try to make parole. And perhaps with the help of Blaine, a well-meaning counselor who recognizes Callahan's real potential beneath the veneer of his intellectual gamesmanship, maybe there is that small glimmer of a chance that he can finally get the help he needs.
- Hardback | 288 pages
- 152 x 229 x 18mm | 540g
- 20 Nov 2015
- Tales Press
- Illustrations, black and white
"If you've ever wondered what life is like in a maximum security prison, this riveting novel by author Ray Elliott strips away any ambiguity. It does so powerfully and skillfully by examining the life of Michael Callahan, an obviously gifted man who seems better suited for Harvard than prison, or The New York Times rather than editing a prison newspaper. With The Silent Knowledge is a well-crafted story of a man's squandered potential and his poignant journey through a life behind bars." Ronald E. Yates