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In This Issue

June 2024
1min read


WINDSOR PRISON’S GRIM AND colorful story is dwarfed by the centuries-long history of the modern prison itself. Every facet of incarceration is covered in The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society , edited by Norval Morris and David J. Rothman (Oxford University Press, 489 pages, $39.95, CODE: OUP-14 )—from Roman underground prisons to French penal colonies, methods and philosophies of rehabilitation, the silent system, and England’s Surrey House of Correction, which employed a Hollywood Squares-like arrangement of stacked, boxed-in pews to keep adjacent prisoners from communicating. In its chapter “The Literature of Confinement,” the book covers well-known prisoners like the poet Paul Verlaine, who shot his fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud and wrote in confinement, “What have you done, o you there, / Who weep so endlessly, / Say, what have you done, o you there, / With your youth?”

Dan Rather’s condensation of Mark Sullivan’s masterpiece of American social history, Our Times: America at the Birth of the 20th Century , was recently published, with scores of the original period illustrations, by Scribner (731 pages, $40.00, CODE: SAS-17 ).

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