Blood in the Water

Blood in the Water

The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

Book - 2016
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On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men--hostages as well as prisoners--and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this 45-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. This book is the first full account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 2016
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375423222
Characteristics: xvii, 724 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Sep 15, 2018

A gut-punching look at the bloodbath that followed the Attica incident and the decades-long miscarriage of justice after that, Blood in the Water is a difficult read. The writing is straightforward and the research is incredible, but the descriptions--and photos--of the carnage and torture on September 13, 1971 and beyond will test the reader's strength and beliefs. Law enforcement personnel were responsible for holocaust-level atrocities against men they insisted were dangerous, and government officials were the manufacturers of fake news that painted prisoners as the monsters. The torture for the reader is nearly endless, as those who were hurt--surviving inmates and staff, as well as the families of those killed--commence a battle for restitution that outlives many of the victims themselves. As little has changed in the half-century since Attica, Thompson ends on the meant-to-be optimistic note that prisoners will never stop fighting for their human rights. But one can only wonder if that means the fight will always be necessary.

Jun 25, 2018

A stunning account that is well organized and written. The story of how difficult it was for Thompson to do the research is a revelation in itself. The details of the uprising and the retaking and the aftermath in the prison and also in the courts, where there were three full decades of attempts to avoid any responsibility, makes for an engrossing read. Even in the very last section, when I thought I had been as shocked as I could be by the callousnesses of the state authorities, I was gobsmacked by how the widows and children of the slain hostages and the traumatized surviving hostages were tricked into accepting a pittance.

Jun 17, 2017

It's undeniable they used excessive force in retaking the prison.. I wonder if it was to send a message to other prisons not to riot or this will happen to them too. But they clearly went too far with excessive firepower.

athompson10 Feb 03, 2017

Extremely well written and researched. I had to stop halfway through because I got overwhelmed by the relentlessness of the racism, brutality and sheer lies perpetuated by the state during the rebellion, the re-taking of the prison and the aftermath. You read this book with a sense of dread because you know the gross miscarriage of justice that takes place. I will finish this at some point when my stomach is stronger.

Dec 26, 2016

Pg 383

Dec 04, 2016

Excellent research that I am sure was a struggle to find since much of it was purposely hidden by those that wanted a cover-up.

Gives a good accounting of not just what happened inside the prison, but the actions and reactions of the chain of command and also the families of those involved.

I found it particularly curious that there was a riot going on and in some parts of the prison (such as admin.) they had not a clue. There were terrifying scenarios but also examples of genuine kindness between staff/guards and inmates.

A large book but the fact that it's so compelling makes it a fast and interesting read.

Oct 25, 2016

This reads like fiction..very good fiction, but if it were, you wouldn't believe it.
I could only put this harrowing story down,if I fell asleep.
Every page, every account seared through me.
The Attica 'riot' is a story of corruption ,torture and mass murder.
The guards and police sent in to free the hostages killed them,and then went on a gratuitous sweep of unbelievable barbarism.
And most of them got away with it -right up to Rockefeller.


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Sep 15, 2018

Rainman thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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