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A Prison Diary Hardcover – 10 Oct 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Reprint edition (10 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405020946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405020947
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 408,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Whatever your feelings about prisoner FF 8282 (currently detained at her Majesty's pleasure in a Lincolnshire prison and author of A Prison Diary), there is no denying that Jeffrey Archer (author, businessman, ex-Tory party chairman, mayoral candidate and convicted perjurer) has added considerable life and colour to the national scene.

Archer is one of the great survivors: when catastrophe strikes (as, in his case, it always seems to), he invariably bounces back and forges a new career (or at least reinvigorates an old one) out of the ashes of the disaster. But many felt that his recent conviction for perjury and the subsequent prison term was really the last of Jeffrey Archer's nine lives being used up. The Conservative Party had turned a blind eye to previous indiscretions, but his time inside prison walls would clearly mark the end of his political ambitions.

Of course, what Archer may want to be remembered for is his skill as a writer, a phenomenally successful writer, in fact, with an iron-clad reputation for producing page turners. Which is what makes A Prison Diary by FF 8282 (Archer's name is not to be found on the front of the jacket) such a remarkable document. This is the book that created further problems for the writer, possibly contravening the rules that state a convicted prisoner cannot make money from his crime. But whatever the rights or wrongs of that situation, there is no denying the straight-from-the-hip verisimilitude of this unvarnished picture of life inside Belmarsh for a category D prisoner. As a picture of our penal system, this is eye-opening stuff, and combines a strong denunciation of current practices with fascinating day-to-day detail of life inside. --Barry Forshaw

Review

"There is a child of seventeen in the cell below me who has been charged with shoplifting - his first offence, not even convicted - and he is being locked up for eighteen and a half hours, unable to speak to anyone: This Great Britain in the 21st century, not Turkey, not Nigeria, not Kosovo, but Britain. This same young man will now be spending at least a fortnight with murderers, rapists, burgiars and drug addicts. Are these the best tutors he can learn from?" Monday 23 July 2001

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. A. Edwards on 22 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
Mr. Justice Potts apparently told either Jeffrey Archer or the jury that Archer's trial was "the worst case of perjury" in British legal history. The jury delivered a guilty verdict and the judge similarly pronounced the longest sentence ever for perjury - four years imprisonment. This is where Archer's first prison diary begins, with a long walk to a cell underneath the Court building. It ends 22 days later, during which Archer resides in HMP Belmarsh, a maximum security prison. The diary is subtitled "Hell" and daily grinds, humiliations, prison bureaucracy and fears weigh down on the prison's most famous resident throughout. Humour, although there is a little of it, is in very short supply.

Never, it seems, did the author expect to be convicted and several times throughout the journal Archer decries the evidence on which his trial was based. Beforehand, my prior knowledge of Jeffrey Archer, the man, was restricted to his illustrious writing career. Writing, as he is here, mainly to keep his sanity, his proclamations in this respect are somewhat difficult for readers unfamiliar with 'what actually happened' to comprehend. There is neither account of the trial itself nor anything approaching a statement such as "I'm innocent." Instead there are legal niceties - Archer's co-defendant was acquitted whilst Archer was convicted for "conspiring to pervert the course of justice" (Archer does not understand how he could have conspired with someone to commit a crime if that other person was acquitted); and a fair degree of venom for Mr. Justice Potts and the prosecution's witnesses, one of whom admitted in the witness box to practically robbing Archer blind.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has always thought of Jeffrey Archer as a successful but obviously populist writer of best sellers I was very impressed by what I judge to be his most important work so far (by far!).
His frank and sometimes moving account of life inside was one of the most fascinating books of the year.
Not always sympathetic, sometimes over didactic, sometimes very disturbing, Jeffrey this time has produced a weighty book, putting hard questions to the prison service, the Home Secretary and to our own consciences.
Buy it!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By "andyj25190254" on 1 July 2004
Format: Paperback
While people probably felt that Archer deserved to go down, and others felt not, this narrative of prison life in a cat A prison pulls no punches. Archer has taken the time (excuse the pun) to find out as much as he can about the life people lead in prison.
It speaks of the trials (again, excuse the unintentional pun) and tribulations of life behind bars, and the stark culture shock that first time offenders face when they pass through the iron gates. Interesting though, is the fact that the sanest, friendliest people in there, those that befriend him, and look after him, not because of his outside status (many of them spend too long behind bars to know) but because they want to, because, in their own morals he did not deserve to be there, and they wanted to help and ensure that Archer survives, those people are in there for some of the worst crimes.
A fantastic work, which really brings home the state of Britains prisons in the 21st century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GermanGeoff on 31 Jan 2011
Format: Hardcover
A Prison Diary FF8282, 2002, Jeffrey Archer. Picked up during a visit to a charity shop, a chance to satisfy a long-held curiosity about a professional authors' observations of prison. Have to admit he makes a good job of it. The account is balanced, lucid and free of the prejudices I had half expected. I have not read any of his fiction but would entertain it now, I liked the clear, accessible style. This is only the first half of the experience, the canny so-and-so has written a second volume, born capitalist.
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92 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Dr W. Richards on 1 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
In 2001, Jeffrey Archer was convicted of perjury, arising out of his libel suit against a tabloid newspaper some years earlier, from which he had profited enormously. His conviction occurred as a result of new evidence indicating that there had been a conspiracy, instigated by Archer himself, to 'prove' that he could not possibly have been with a prostitute on the night in question.
Convicted of perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, Archer was initially sent to Belmarsh, a high-security jail in London, pending recategorisation to a lower-security prison based on being assessed as low-risk. He spent a period of just over a month in Belmarsh, and this diary - written while in prison - is the result.
In reading it, one has to learn to ignore the continual hard-done-by attitude of Archer. He consistently pleads his innocence, despite his guilt being indisputable, and complains about the 'bias' of the trial judge. We are treated to a stream of commentary about the judge's summing-up, and as if that's not enough, Archer tells us all about the letters he receives sympathising with him and agreeing that he has been treated unfairly (he doesn't mention any correspondence which says that he got what he deserved!). He also name-drops constantly in relation to 'famous' people who are apparently on his side.
He also has to name-drop in relation to fellow prisoners, so we hear about Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber, who is also in Belmarsh, and also Barry George, on remand at the time awaiting trial for the murder of Jill Dando. In this respect, it is hard to understand how the book got published; it is apparently against Home Office rules to identify serving prisoners in this way.
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