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 Neither is this a historical document: as the prison system is shaped to make a profit from the incarcerated individual - the more fellons there are in the system, the greater the profits for the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.