Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement

James Ridgeway (Editor) Sarah Shourd (Editor)
& 1 more
Available

Description

NOW IN PAPERBACK The "elegant but harrowing" (San Francisco Chronicle) collection of writing from solitary confinement that lifts the veil on this widespread modern-day form of torture

On any given day in America, over 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement--held in utter isolation for twenty-three or twenty-four hours a day, moved there from the general population without any legal process or justification. In a "potent cry of anguish from men and women buried way down in the hole" (Kirkus Reviews), Hell Is a Very Small Place offers rare accounts from the people who are now or have been in solitary confinement. As Chelsea Manning wrote from her own solitary confinement cell, "The personal accounts by prisoners are some of the most disturbing that I have ever read."

These firsthand accounts are supplemented by the writing of noted experts exploring the psychological, legal, ethical, and political dimensions of solitary confinement, and a comprehensive introduction by Solitary Watch co-founders James Ridgeway and Jean Casella. Sarah Shourd, herself a survivor of more than a year of solitary confinement, writes eloquently in a preface about an experience that changed her life.

Product Details

Price
$17.95  $16.51
Publisher
New Press
Publish Date
September 05, 2017
Pages
240
Dimensions
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.2 inches | 0.6 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781620973516
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Jean Casella is a co-director of Solitary Watch, a web-based watchdog project, and a Soros Justice Fellow. She is the editor of two previous anthologies and lives in Brooklyn, New York. James Ridgeway has been an investigative journalist for more than fifty years and is the author of seventeen previous books. He is a co-director of Solitary Watch and a Soros Justice Fellow. He lives in Washington, D.C. Sarah Shourd, a journalist and playwright, was held as a political hostage by the Iranian government, including 410 days in solitary, an experience she chronicled in A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. She lives in Oakland, California.

Reviews

"A book that people of conscience must read and share. The stories in it will not simply haunt us. They will inspire us to act."
--Heather Ann Thompson (Blood in the Water), Favorite Book of 2016 in Publishers Weekly

"A gutsy book. . . . The essays in Hell Is a Very Small Place are not only fascinating, but also expose readers to a whole way of life that is otherwise invisible."
--Bookslut

"An unforgettable look at the peculiar horrors and humiliations involved in solitary confinement."
--New York Review of Books

"Hell Is a Very Small Place is composed of communication and observation that is not supposed to exist: it is a book as a minor act of rebellion."
--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Elegant but harrowing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"The personal accounts by prisoners contained in this book are some of the most disturbing that I have ever read. There were many points throughout the book when my emotions became very overwhelming, and I had to pause and catch my breath."
--Chelsea Manning

"[I]f I were to recommend just one book on this topic to an interested citizen, I would recommend this one."
--Counterpunch

"[T]hese stories pack a visceral punch and make a convincing case for more humane conditions, better oversight, and continuing prison reform."
--Publishers Weekly

"A potent cry of anguish from men and women buried way down in the hole."
--Kirkus

"Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for twenty-three hours a day for months, sometime for years at a time? That is not going to make us safer. It's not going to make us stronger."
--President Barack Obama

"Solitary confinement in American prisons has become one of our nation's most horrendous human rights problems. Much more public attention is needed to this shameful, wasteful, cruel travesty. Hell Is a Very Small Place is vitally important."
--Ralph Nader

"This important book leaves no doubt that solitary confinement has no place in a civilized society. The story of each person subject to solitary shows that he or she is somebody and that the life that is thrown away is not beyond redemption. Together they demonstrate the urgency of turning from hatred to understanding and from vengeance to reconciliation if we are going to have a decent, moral, and compassionate society."
--Stephen Bright, president and senior counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights

"Confronts the moral catastrophe of solitary confinement through compelling and courageous testimonies by the world's premier experts on the matter: the confined themselves."
--Glenn E. Martin, founder and president, JustLeadershipUSA

Praise for Hell Is a Very Small Place "A book that people of conscience must read and share. The stories in it will not simply haunt us. They will inspire us to act."
--Heather Ann Thompson (Blood in the Water), Favorite Book of 2016 in Publishers Weekly

"A gutsy book. . . . The essays in Hell Is a Very Small Place are not only fascinating, but also expose readers to a whole way of life that is otherwise invisible."
--Bookslut

"An unforgettable look at the peculiar horrors and humiliations involved in solitary confinement."
--New York Review of Books

"Hell Is a Very Small Place is composed of communication and observation that is not supposed to exist: it is a book as a minor act of rebellion."
--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Elegant but harrowing."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"The personal accounts by prisoners contained in this book are some of the most disturbing that I have ever read. There were many points throughout the book when my emotions became very overwhelming, and I had to pause and catch my breath."
--Chelsea Manning

"[I]f I were to recommend just one book on this topic to an interested citizen, I would recommend this one."
--Counterpunch

"[T]hese stories pack a visceral punch and make a convincing case for more humane conditions, better oversight, and continuing prison reform."
--Publishers Weekly

"A potent cry of anguish from men and women buried way down in the hole."
--Kirkus

"Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for twenty-three hours a day for months, sometime for years at a time? That is not going to make us safer. It's not going to make us stronger."
--President Barack Obama

"Solitary confinement in American prisons has become one of our nation's most horrendous human rights problems. Much more public attention is needed to this shameful, wasteful, cruel travesty. Hell Is a Very Small Place is vitally important."
--Ralph Nader

"This important book leaves no doubt that solitary confinement has no place in a civilized society. The story of each person subject to solitary shows that he or she is somebody and that the life that is thrown away is not beyond redemption. Together they demonstrate the urgency of turning from hatred to understanding and from vengeance to reconciliation if we are going to have a decent, moral, and compassionate society."
--Stephen Bright, president and senior counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights

"Confronts the moral catastrophe of solitary confinement through compelling and courageous testimonies by the world's premier experts on the matter: the confined themselves."
--Glenn E. Martin, founder and president, JustLeadershipUSA