Way Worse than Attica

The shocking story of one of the most violent prison riots in American history began simply enough. Plagued by various personal and civic rights infringements, inmates of the Penitentiary of New Mexico turned to litigation to force change. But all this produced were two consent decrees with mandated reforms that were totally ignored by the authorities. Frustrated by the failure of the prison’s administration to follow through with the agreements, the inmates resolved to take the prison, attract media attention and create public awareness about their deplorable living conditions. What followed was a bloodbath. Designed to be one of the most comprehensive and accurate accounts of the 1980 riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, Dirk Cameron Gibson’s Way Worse than Attica employs a scholarly and methodical approach in detailing the real-life event.

Dirk Cameron Gibson writes for two main reasons: to ensure an event of such magnitude is well documented and to present lessons from the 30-year-old fiasco that are still relevant today. What’s impressive is the combination of sources deployed to give a detailed account. It reflects the kind of rigor, attention to detail, expansiveness, and precision you’d expect from an academic, especially an Emeritus professor. It also inspires confidence in the accuracy of his work.

I also like how it’s not just a historical account but a detailed and nuanced analysis of the riot, the surrounding events, and their implications. It’s not just about what happened but also why it happened and why it’s worth paying attention to decades after. The prose is easy to get through, and the storytelling is gripping. In terms of structure, Gibson also wins as he presents a cohesive material despite the many parts he has to account for.

Way Worse than Attica is a well-written and meticulously researched account of the 1980 penitentiary riot. Focusing on not just the “what” but the “why” and the after impacts of the inmates, their families, and the correctional officers, this is a well rounded look at the entire event. Readers that enjoy history and prison documentaries will find this a fascinating book.

Pages: 468 | ISBN: 1665533498

Buy Now From B&N.com

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 6, 2023, in Book Reviews, Five Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: