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Hard Time: A Brit in America's Toughest Jail Paperback – 5 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (5 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845966511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845966515
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Shaun's trilogy is the Manchester rave scene meets The Wolf of Wall Street and ends in The Shawshank Redemption" - Jon Ronson author of The Psychopath Test

"If you like Breaking Bad, you will love Shaun's trilogy. Shaun Attwood was the Walter White of the Ecstasy market in Arizona" - DJ Keoki

As broadcast worldwide on Nat Geo Channel's Banged Up Abroad "Raving Arizona," Shaun Attwood arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, a penniless business graduate from a small industrial town in England. Within a decade, he became a stock-market millionaire. But he was leading a double life.

After taking his first Ecstasy pill at a rave in Manchester as a shy student, Shaun became intoxicated by the party lifestyle that would change his fortune. Years later in the Arizona desert, Shaun became submerged in a criminal underworld, throwing parties for thousands of ravers and running an Ecstasy ring in competition with the Mafia mass murderer Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano.

On May 16th 2002, a SWAT team knocked his door down. He ended up in the jail with the highest rate of death in America, where not only gang members but even guards were murdering prisoners. Shaun documented the conditions using a golf pencil sharpened on the door: dead rats in the food, the techniques he used to sleep with cockroaches crawling on him, gang mayhem and violence... His aunt smuggled his writing out of the jail, and his blog, Jon's Jail Journal, turned the international media spotlight on the conditions.

Facing a life sentence, Shaun entered a lengthy legal battle. After two years of being held on remand, Shaun was convicted of drug offences. He was sentenced to 9½ years, and served almost 6.

Shaun had only read finance books prior to his arrest. While incarcerated, he submerged himself in literature - reading over 1000 books, including many classics. By studying original texts in psychology and philosophy, he sought to better understand himself and his past behaviour. He credits books for being the lifeblood of his rehabilitation.

Shaun was released in December 2007, and continues to campaign against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He keeps Jon's Jail Journal going by posting stories mailed to him by his prison friends.

In July 2008, he won a Koestler award for a short story, which he read to an audience at the Royal Festival Hall.

Shaun presently lives near London, and talks to audiences of young people across the UK and Europe about his experiences and the consequences of getting involved in drugs and crime.

Shaun's life story is the English Shaun Trilogy: Party Time, Hard Time and Prison Time. In 2014, Hard Time was rewritten, greatly expanded and published as a second edition. Shaun's fourth book is a self-help called Lessons.

Shaun is available for interviews and Skype discussions with book clubs.


Product Description

Review

Hard Time makes Shawshank look like a holiday camp -- News of the World September 26, 2010

A searing indictment of the controversial penal tactics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who revels in the title of 'America's Toughest Sheriff' -- BBC News August 22, 2010

A tale of brutality and a lesson in behind-bars etiquette -- Manchester Evening News August 3, 2010

A gripping account of Attwood's time among lethal gangsters -- City AM July 22, 2010

Attwood's hair-raising and oddly hilarious account of his two years in the county jail is a reminder of the conditions that caused the deaths of numerous prisoners -- Phoenix New Times, August 26, 2010

Book Description

The extraordinary account of how a well-educated young Englishman survived 26 months in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's harsh US jail system

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Harrison on 6 April 2011
Format: Paperback
I met Shaun Attwood at a signing in Crawley Waterstone's and his story really made me prick my ears up. I bought the book and once I'd started reading I could not stop. He sucks you in from the very first line. It is at times a very very uncomfortable read when he describes the conditions and the other inmates and especially the food!!!

It is also at times very very funny and at others terribly sad. Attwood never whinges or whines and not once does he say 'why me?'At all times he is aware that he has done wrong and there is never a part where you think that he feels exempt from punishment. It is the CONDITIONS that he takes issue with and rightly so!!!

I loved this book & I would recommend it to anyone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Stephen Bettridge on 21 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read the blog over many years ordering this book was a natural. Needless to say it delivered everything that the Jail Journal promised and more. It is at once harrowing, sad, jaw dropping and funny....not in the laugh out loud way, but in the absurdity of it all way. My son was lucky enough to meet Shaun at one of his school talks and he was shaken by the experience that Shaun has lived through and it really gave him a perspective that no amount of parental lecturing could. He is now reading my copy and whilst this may be a very adult story, the brutal honesty and refreshing way that Shaun relates his story will do more to help keep my son (and me, not that i need it) on the straight and narrow than i could have ever hoped for. Should be required reading for every young man about to confront the challenges and temptations that life has to offer.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H Mitchell on 22 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
Shaun captured the ambience of the jail perfectly, the sights, sounds, smells, the emotional rollercoaster and the monotony of day to day living and trying to stay occupied. To say I enjoyed reading this book is probably not the right choice of words. It is not a particularly pleasant book to read but I suppose that was the effect he was going for. Hard Time captivated me and sucked me in from the start. I found the cellys fascinating, some of them made me laugh and some made me cry, they are an intriuging insight into human behavior.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C10rny on 8 Feb 2011
Format: Paperback
Hi Shaun,
Just finished reading your book and I have to say, it is one amazing story! I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of your amazing journey.

Keep up the good work!

P.S. You have been the topic of many a conversation since coming into Stoke Newington School, and I know that your coming in has had a positive impact on a lot of our children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ma2med0z on 20 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
I was really moved by Shaun's moral story. I've been to many UK prisons and I know how hard it is for inmates to survive the regime; many can't and go under. Shaun's experiences in Arizona were in another league, but his humour, advanced social skills and resourcefulness brought him through - not forgetting support from friends and his loyal and patient family - and writing it all down! This is definitely one of the liveliest and most vivid prison books out there.
Ma2med0z
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By stephenwduck on 19 Jan 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Fantastic read! I received this book for Christmas and was almost complete on Boxing Day. Shocking and worrying - this book will change the way you view the prison system. Shaun Attwood doesn't hold anything back with his cell-mate experiences.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jean on 9 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
I met Shaun when he was promoting this book and he was signing copies of his book. I decided to buy a copy. I was so intrigued I had to carry on reading. It was upsetting to see how Shaun and the other inmates were treated. The bits i found scary was when one of the inmates had got bitten by a spider and no one would help him. Also the infestation of cockroaches was awful.
I have a lot of respect for Shaun because of what he went through.
This book is well worth buying.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Viking05 on 8 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
I knew Shaun 25 years ago when we were at our ordinary Widnes school together. Coming from such a similar background I shuddered to think what might have been when I first heard of his plight. Now that I have devoured his first book and become a late arrival to his blogspot jonsjailjournal I can only say well done Shaun.
He never flinches from acceptance that the crimes he committed deserved to be punished and is using his bewildering experiences at the hands of the Arizona penal system as a force for good, talking to students on the potential damage awaiting those involved in the "glamorous" drug party scene.
This book spans a 26 month period of detention pre-sentencing that provides a single strand of what could be an amazing autobiography. The conditions encountered and the attitudes of those in charge bring shame on both the U.S. legal system and any claims to be a civilised nation. Throughout the book Shaun remains painfully honest, free from hyperbole, and exceptional at eliciting the stories of those around him. It is a brilliantly constructed work with a rollercoaster of emotion enhanced by the inclusion of letters to his fiancee and family. As a personal tale of lessons learned and the spirit of adaptation this is a great read but as an insight and expose of the horrendous regime of Sheriff Joe Arpaio it is unsurpassed.
Please write more Shaun, I urge everyone to read this gritty tale.
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