Blood in the Water
- Author: H. Thompson
- Title: Blood in the Water
- Published: 2016
- Trivia: Pulitzer Prize for History 2017
- Trivia: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
- Trivia: #NonFicReads18
- List of Challenges 2018
- Monthly reading plan
- Awards and Honors Blood in the Water received:
- Pulitzer Prize in History 2017
- Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy 2017
- Ridenhour Book Prize 2017
- J. Willard Hurst Award in Socio-Legal History 2017
- Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist 2017
- Finalist Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts, Honorable Mention 2017
- New York City Bar Association Award 2016
- National Book Award Finalist 2016
- New York Times Most Notable Books of 2016
- Top Ten Best Books of 2016 Publishers Weekly
- Top Ten Best Works of Non-Fiction of 2016 Kirkus Reviews
- Top Ten Books of 2016 Newsweek
- A New York State special prosecutor’s investigation into the 1971
- Attica prison riot and killings (39 shot to death, including 10 hostages)
- failed to indict any police officers or prison guards
- …despite strong evidence that they acted with homicidal intent.
- Heather Ann Thompson is a professor of history at the University of Michigan.
- She draws on interviews with former inmates,
- …hostages, families of victims, law enforcement, lawyers, and state officials.
- An important source of information was found in the
- …archives of previously unreleased materials.
- Thompson’s well written reconstruction of the
- causes of the riot, reaction, murder and
- criminal negligence by the State Police.
- There had been incredible lying by others
- tampering with evidence by the Executive Office
- of the State of New York are important.
- She was able to review from multiple sources
- interviews and the facts leading
- …up to the horrible, unnecessary killings
- by the State Police.
- The epilogue….is upsetting.
- After all the struggles in Attica the US penal system
- …is STILL denying inmates rights.
- 2009: 1 sergeant and 3 correction officers attacked
- ….prisoner Williams in Attica.
- Result: broken collarbone – 2 broken legs and other injuries.
- 2015: these guards were charged with
- first degree gang assault + tampering with physical evidence.
- Result: light plea deal…no imprisonment….. a slap on the wrist.
- At times…so captivating that I could not put it down.
- Other times… I had to put it down.
- I was disgusted with the behaviour of high NY state officials.
- The entire investigation stank of politics.
- Who now believes the last lines of
- the Pledge of Allegiance: “…freedom and justice for all “?
- This should be enough to convince you
- …this book is a #MustRead or #MustListen.
Part III: Ch: Dreams and Nightmares:
- Tensions are running high, negotiations between
- prisoners and prision officials is ongoing…
- …but Gov Nelson Rockefeller….is not pleased, not at all.
- Gov Nelson Rockefeller would later order force to be used
- …to put the uprising….down.
Part IV: Ch: No Mercy
- State troopers quash the prision rebellion.
- After 8 hours of listening…I’ve reached the graphic part of the book.
- Listening to the descriptions is more powerful….than reading them.
- I have to take a break from this book….let it all sink in.
Part VII: Ch: Justice of Trial
- I can barely listen to the atrocities and abuse committed at Attica by the
- prison guards and even prison doctors
- …after more than 100 prisoners were wounded and dying.
- Just awful…but more shocking is …it really happened.
- State officials tried to suppress information about the uprising becoming public.
- Still many files have yet to be disclosed.
- There must be very damaging information
- …officials want kept secret!
Part VIII: Ch: Protecting the Police
- State troopers were blatantly guilty of killing the hostages.
- They were the only ones with guns!
- But there was an extensive cover-up.
- Ironically the NY State Police were appointed to head the ‘independant’
- investigation of criminal acts by prisoners.
- #Please tell me this is fiction!
- It is not.
Part IX: Ch: Elizabeth M. Fink (1945-2015)
- Elizabeth M. Fink Fink graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1973.
- Just a month after she had been admitted to the bar,
- …she went to work for the Attica Brothers Legal Defense Committee.
- She helped draft a civil suit against the New York state authorities.
- The case crawled through the courts for more than 27 years.
- Fink stuck with it.
- In 2000, as the lead counsel in the deferral civil rights case,
- she won an $8 million settlement from the state, plus $4 million in legal fees.
- #Justice….at last….closure.
- Trivia: Liz Fink helped Heather Thompson with her research.
- Unfortunately….Elizabeth Fink died 1 year before publication.