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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How stupid can a government get?
I read all three of the Prison Diary series from J.Archer whilst in hospital recovering from an operation. Whilst I cannot condone what the courts decided he was guilty of I do feel he was hard done by and recent revelations regarding our MP's liberal claiming of expenses would see quite a few of them incarcerated if dealt with in the same way as J.A.
Having read...
Published on 20 Nov 2009 by Charles Thompson

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More settled and more "Archer"
The first volume of this series was fascinating because it addressed a question which most of us had when we first learned of Archer's sentencing; "how is a guy like that going to deal with being in prison?" I can highly recommend the first volume of the prison diaries because you get a real sense of Archer's total shock at everything he is experiencing in the prison...
Published on 30 Nov 2003 by Chris


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More settled and more "Archer", 30 Nov 2003
By 
Chris (Scottsdale, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
The first volume of this series was fascinating because it addressed a question which most of us had when we first learned of Archer's sentencing; "how is a guy like that going to deal with being in prison?" I can highly recommend the first volume of the prison diaries because you get a real sense of Archer's total shock at everything he is experiencing in the prison system.
For volume two he is moved to a somewhat less severe prison and allowed many more freedoms and comforts than previously. Overall I found this volume to be less engaging than the first. The real problem is that, in spite of a few unpleasant circumstances, Archer is comfortable enough to start getting smug again. While the prison system itself seems determined to not show any preferential treatment for fear of negative press, Archer manages to surround himself with a crew of eager inmate-servants who are happy to to accept payment for their services by having money transferred to their outside accounts by Archer's secretary, publisher, family members and others. By the end of the the book he's lamenting a narrowly missed opportunity to buy an oil painting for only $500,000 while successfully managing to purchase a $10,000 emerald (which may sell for twice that in London), by convinvcing a Columbian inmate to have his brother risk his life negotiating with gem trading bandits "on the mountain". Any sympathy I had for Archer in volume one was completely eradicated by the end of volume two.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of the same, 4 Aug 2003
Wayland continues where Belmarsh left off. Again, it is not a literary work of art – short sentences, simple plots. It is a diary, with wit, sarcasm, insight and social commentary.
On the negative side, the style is too matter of fact. The real disgust and fear which Lord Archer must have experienced does not come across. Yes, he tells how he recoiled at having to wash underwear and dishes in the same filthy sink, his anguish at running out of Evian, and some dicey encounters with prison yobs and bullies, but there is little passion in his writing. It’s rather glib. His “messages for the Home Secretary” regarding needed reforms in the prison system were quite a feature of the previous diary. These are are now indirect and muted. He is most obsessed with getting D-category status – i.e. transfer to an open prison – and who can blame him.

On the positive side he shows what he has to do to retain his sanity – staying connected with the outside world of cricket, reading the classics while others are playing rap music, refusing to be contaminated by his environment. His accounts of the numerous and ingenious schemes the inmates have for acquiring privileges and banned luxuries (e.g. an extra shaving mirror) are highly entertaining. Since there seems to be so much of it going on, one has to assume the authorities generally turn a blind eye to much of it to keep the peace.
The book is compelling. While it is popular to criticize Lord Archer you have to wonder how well we ourselves would hold up in prison.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How stupid can a government get?, 20 Nov 2009
By 
Charles Thompson (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read all three of the Prison Diary series from J.Archer whilst in hospital recovering from an operation. Whilst I cannot condone what the courts decided he was guilty of I do feel he was hard done by and recent revelations regarding our MP's liberal claiming of expenses would see quite a few of them incarcerated if dealt with in the same way as J.A.
Having read these three books, which J.A. has made into an easy and interesting read, I am convinced that whoever is in charge of our prison services has not one shred of common sense and probably makes it up as he goes along. If we could vote someone into the position my tick would be firmly in J.A's box because you cannot get better experience than being on the wrong side of the fence.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book by Archer!!!, 10 April 2004
By 
A J Taylor (Cambridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I will admit I am a fairly slow reader but I read this book in no time at all, the experiences are fascinating the detail is extraordinary and the people are better than any novel. Jeffrey Archer continues his most successful work yet in this the second volume of his prison diaries. With a new prison environment and new rules to obey, Archer details for us everything he observes about this harsh reality he has found himself in. I am certainly looking forward to a third volume and would request a fourth in the series as well.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charmed life?, 13 Nov 2005
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
As compelling a read as Volume I. He is now in Category C Wayl
and prison, which, though still full of any number of restraints, is far more relaxed than Belmarsh. But to this reader it seems clear that the charmed (if uncomfortable) life Archer led in prison might have been less charmed had he not b
een so famous. On the other hand, his own basic charm and good nature (as theyappear in these diaries) probably also helped with both inmates and warders.(See also my reviews of Vols.I and III)
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purgatory, 1 July 2004
The second installment in Archers prison diary is as gripping as the first. his use of language and descriptive prose, as well as the excellent sketches produced by another of the inmates give you a sense of being in the cell with Archer during the bleak days he spends in Waylands.
The script is written to favour neither guards nor inmates, simply as is.
Most surprising is the respect he gets from the majority of the inmates in the prison, and how ready his friends are to "deal" with those that threaten him, if only he would point them out.
Once again, a very candid bio, pulling no punches, I look forward to reading the third.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prison Diary 2, 16 Jan 2013
By 
M. Watkins "cbxmel" (North Wales.UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I never read any of this authors novels so took the plunge and bought the three Prison diarys. I was not disappointed and thoroughly enjoyed reading them. In fact very difficult to put down once I started. I say should be read by all Home office staff and the Home secretary. An excellent read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Presumption of guilt, 30 April 2007
By 
G. J. Weeks (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In his second volume Archer is transferred from high security to a lower category prison, Wayland in Norfolk for 77 days . He should have been in an open prison but he was accused by Emma Nicholson, a fellow peer, of not properly using funds he had collected for Kurdish relief. There was no substance to the accusation but the investigation dragged on and because of it Archer suffered a tougher prison than was his desert. Archer is resilient and resourceful disciplining himself to continue writing just as he would do when free. His is a frank portrayal of the realities of prison life with its idiosyncratic rules. Among his fellow inmates, a Colombian manages to get him a bargain emerald for his wife's Christmas present but he fails to supply a sought after piece of modern art. Archer keeps busy in the gym and with his writing. The extent of drug abuse appalls him.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prisoner F8282, 4 Aug 2003
Having just finished reading Archers account of his time in the high security prison 'Helmarsh', i was looking forward to continuing the prison diaries and have not been dissapointed. This is the first time I have read any of his work and do not believe it will be the last.
The descriptive nature of the diaries make you picture each scene in your mind down to the detail of the colour of the clothing and the smell and colour of the food from the 'hotplate'. Prison life is well documented but it is rare that you feel you can understand the experience fully without having to endure the horror of the reality.
I look forward to the Third volume.
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4.0 out of 5 stars like most books, 4 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Prison Diary 2: Wayland: Purgatory: Wayland - Purgatory (The Prison Diaries) (Kindle Edition)
After reading the first "Prison Diary", I thought I'd read the second as I found the first interesting. I've since read the 3rd so really it's a case of these Diaries were interesting as far as I was concerned but I'm quite sure they'd be the last books on quite a number of people's bucket list. Again, like most books, one man's meat......
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