Christopher Zoukis’s 2017 release, the Federal Prison Handbook, has received a top accolade from IndieReader, making the list of Best-Reviewed Non-Fiction Books of 2017. “Federal Prison Handbook is an invaluable resource for those incarcerated or with loved ones behind bars, as well as anyone curious about what life in a federal prison is like,” states…Read More
The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of CounselBy Brandon Sample and Alissa HullPrison Legal News Publishing, 2016275 pages, $49.95Buy from Prison Legal News Reviewed By Christopher Zoukis The much anticipated second edition of The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, by Brandon Sample and Alissa Hull, is the fifth book to be published by Prison Legal…Read More
The Globalization of Supermax Prisons,Edited by Jeffrey Ian Ross(Rutgers University Press, 2013).240 pages, $28.95 paperback Book review by Gary Hunter “Zero tolerance” is a phrase that has found its way into many facets of our society. But nowhere is it more prevalent than in the vocabulary used by lawmakers when waging our nation’s relentless, ongoing…Read More
The Best Resource DirectoryBy Mike EnemigoPublished by The Cell Block (2014)P. O. Box 212, Folsom, CA 95763ISBN 978-1492798408 $17.25Available in paperback through Amazon. Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis The Best Resource Directory is a relatively new player in a small but vital marketplace: the industry that services those Americans incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails.…Read More
Reviewed by John E. Dannenberg In short, Arrest-Proof Yourself is a colorfully-written manual on how to avoid being arrested. The book’s principal thesis is a hypothetical “electronic plantation” where all persons who are arrested – even if later exonerated – must serve an irrevocable life sentence of being blacklisted from future employment, socially ostracized, etc.…Read More
Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America
By Allen M. Hornblum, Judith L. Newman, and Gregory J. Dober
266 pages. $27.00
Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis
According to Oswald Spengler, “Moral is a conscious and planned causality of conduct, apart from all particulars of actual life and character, something eternal and universally valid, not only without time but hostile to time and for that very reason ‘true.’” Spengler goes on, adding that “Every moral action is a piece of this sacrifice, and an ethical life-course is an unbroken chain of such sacrifices. Above all, the offering of sympathy, com-passion, in which the inwardly strong gives up his superiority to the powerless.”
What happens when educated, powerful people withhold sympathy and compassion toward the powerless? What happens when individuals set aside Spengler’s definition of morality and adopt the Jesuit philosophy that the end justifies the means? Answer: despicable events occur, events like those described in the difficult and frightening book by Allen M. Hornblum,Judith L. Newman, and Gregory J. Dober – Against Their Will. The book is difficult to read not because it’s dry and overly literary, but rather because it’s emotionally grueling. And it’s frightening because it demonstrates the ethical sinkhole into which humans can descend.
Against Their Will relates a true story, the story of children exploited as subjects in medical experiments. The medical experiments were not performed by psychotic Nazi physicians, like Dr. Mengele; they were performed by ruthless, single-minded American doctors of medicine who deluded themselves, believing they were pursuing reality, truth, undeviatingly to the end. And in their pursuit, they became monsters of the worst sort.Read More
Book review by John E. Dannenberg
Dr. Elaine Leeder, Dean of the of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University, offers a concise, compassionate view of the life and psyche of California prisoners serving term-life sentences. After a long career that has included volunteering to teach prisoners in New York State, and, later, for a decade in San Quentin State Prison, Dr. Leeder has blended her deeply personal humane support of the underdog with her expertise as a sociologist to show that people “thrown away” by society upon being convicted of murder are still people, capable of rehabilitation and eager for the chance to gain the tools for reintegration into society through intensive education while incarcerated.
My Life with Lifers chronicles Dr. Leeder’s interaction with life-sentenced prisoners at San Quentin in a round table discussion group she leads at the facility, called “New Leaf on Life.” Each month, Dr. Leeder brings a guest speaker – a professor or student – to lead the group in discussion on a topic far removed from prison life. The speaker engages the lifers’ minds in thought processes that take them to new levels – daring them to learn, interact in dialogue and yearn to learn more. Many of the prisoners also participated in college-level classes offered by volunteers from a local private university.Read More