Dry Guillotine: Fifteen Years Among the Living Dead

Belbenoรฎt (Author) William La Varre (Introduction by)
& 1 more


Account of a man who escaped from Devil's Island and made it to Panama and from there to San Francisco and New York where he became a US Citizen.

Here is the story of a man's dauntless courage in the struggle against death, insanity and the atrocities of the French "Guiana Hell". This man was meant to die .... but Rene Belbenoit's one hundred pound body contained a spirit and will that were unconquerable..

Life holds but two alternatives for the men condemned to Devil's Island - "Escape or Die!" On the one hand there was the impenetrable jungle, on the other the treacherous sea. Ant-riddled skeletons testified to the impossibility of escape through the jungle. To attempt the open sea in a raft was to tempt hungry sharks with human bait. Yet he made no less than four desperate but abortive tries, each followed by recapture and brutal punishment, before finally succeeding.

Rene Belbenoit knew the worst the penal colony could offer. He spent months of hell in the grave like isolation cells of the dreaded Ile Royal, where men go mad from solitary confinement on bread and water, or else maim themselves to gain the privilege of seeing daylight again in the prison infirmary. He witnessed the killing of victims who would now "crawl." He suffered from exposure, fever and vermin, worked naked in the jungle at felling and hauling timber - at the mercy of tropical ants and other insects. He lived in the "Crimson Barrack" with its vicious guards, its graft and immorality, its monthly murder; and through all he felt the cruel hand of official corruption and injustice.

His final triumph after heart-breaking misfortunes which would have killed six ordinary men or driven them insane, meant two more years or rubbing shoulders with death through fever-infested jungles. Without food or equipment; beset on all sides by deadly reptiles, wild animals and hostile Indians; practically eaten alive by insects; he schemed and fought his way up through South and Central America - the only survivor from Devil's Island ever to reach the haven of the United States alive and tell his story.

Here is the most shocking record of man's inhumanity to man ever written - which even organized political conspiracy could not suppress. Here stands exposed the scourge of South America - the curse of civilization. And here is the testament of a man triumphant after fifteen maddening years of privation and persecution.

Product Details

Ishi Press
Publish Date
August 28, 2020
5.51 X 8.5 X 0.75 inches | 0.93 pounds

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