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Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson [Paperback]

George Jackson , Jean Genet , Jonathan Jackson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; New edition edition (1 Jan 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556522304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556522307
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The power of George Jackson's personal story remains painfully relevant to our nation today, with its persistent racism, its hellish prisons, its unjust judicial system, and the poles of wealth and poverty that are at the root of all that. I hope the younger generation, black and white, will read "Soledad Brother"." - Howard Zinn, author of "A People's History of the United States".

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars soledad brother 19 May 2011
By roz
read the oriniginal a few years back and was delighted to have been able to buy this version with johnaton jackson junior, so glad that its back in print everyone should read it a very real and moveing account and easy to read.
it was so much more than advertised
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard-hitting and still completely relevant 29 Mar 1998
By A Customer
George L. Jackson's oeuvre is a honest, brutal appraisal of the amerikan prison system that victimized and eventually murdered him in 1971. As stated in the introduction by the author's nephew, Jonathan Jackson, Jr. his words are still, unfortunately, relevant today vis-a-vis Mumia Abu-Jamal, the privatization of the prison system, etc. Worthy of a careful reading along with the Angela Davis Autobiography. Truly revolutionary words that survived his death and will presage his revindication.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Tristan Martin VINE VOICE
Soledad Brother is a moving and eloquent testimony to a powerful voice, lost within the brutal confines of the United States prison system. George Jackson was poorly advised by his lawyer to plead guilty to being the getaway driver for a robbery and was duly sentenced to an indefinite one year to life term; he subsequently died in prison. This book is a damning and moving self-penned eulogy to one man's hopes and dreams.

Whilst in prison, Jackson became self-educated and socially conscious. George Jackson became ideologically aligned with the Black Panther Party for Self Defence, a revolutionary movement of the 1960s that did such dangerous and radical activities as organising food drives and providing milk for children. However, being a black anti-authoritarian left-wing group put them diametrically opposed to systems of entrenched (and indeed, racist) power withing the US, specifically J. Edgar Hoover's counter-intelligence program (COINTELL).

As a critque of the prison system itself, a total-system that is designed to break down unity and focus external rage inwardly, this book is scathing, yet this book is no dry sociological tract but a very impassioned and human plea for a more enlightened means of social behaviour. Neither is this a historical document: as the prison system is shaped to make a profit from the incarcerated individual - the more fellons there are in the system, the greater the profits for the corporations who run them - an obscene set-up that encourages harsher laws for non-violent offenders; this book is a look at what it is like to live, or perhaps more accurately, survive, within that situation. An impassioned plea echoing out from within the bowels of a barbaric system.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sole Dad Brother 6 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is actually an extremely important book, although it was written within the 1960s-1970s.George Jackson was kept within prison after being initially wrongly accused it seems, according to Jackson's letters and others. Once in there, he was not released due to his political statements and aims. Of relevance he writes of entrepreneurs dictating the lives of the majority which does not only apply to people of a different colour or race. He also speaks of people being encouraged to turn against others which applies to people today considering the work ethic and lower classes for example.Even schools do not teach people the truth, writes Jackson, which especially concerns history. Jackson was alleged to have murdered a prison guard once in prison but this is disputed. Anybody outspoken today is either accused of something, locked away or blocked.Of note- the book is discouraged within certain prisons in the USA.
Do we ever get the truth?
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revisionism in extremis 13 Feb 2008
reviews for this book all seem to admit salient facts, and yet concentrate on others. Was Jackson railroaded into prison with an unduly harsh sentence ?, the answer is yes. Was the Prison system in the US a hellish place - undoubtedly and it still is. Jackson was, without doubt, an intelligent man, he was also without doubt subjected to racism and brutality. Yet does that excuse an intelligent reasoned man for the murder of a prison guard ?. Whilst it is said the murder was in retaliation for the murder of black prisoners by said guard - should that really be glossed over in some kind of politically correct revising of history. Jackson would himself later be killed whilst attempting to escape, or so it is claimed. The balance of probablities would suggest he was murdered, and the same probabilities would also suggest he was murdered in retaliation for the murder of the prison guards.

The cycle of violence came full circle for Jackson. I do not doubt nor question the power of this book, and the brutal honesty of it leaps from the pages and goes straight for the throat - it is a "must read".

Yet the revisionism on display by ommission of some of Jacksons actions in reviews are breathtakingly disingenuos, a man is made by his words and his deeds.

Jackson is an enigma to me, an man with genuine grievance, and an intelligent man, who resorted to stereotype and due to this enabled his own murder to be whitewashed - and so continued the cycle. The intelligent man and the fool are two sides of the same coin.

Taking the guards and murdering them meant Jackson became a murderer, with cold hard choice and precision - there is no justification for that.
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