Life in Strangeways by Alan Lord.
Published by John Blake Publishing Ltd (23 April 2015)
Genres: Biography, Crime, True Stories
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Based on Britain’s most notorious prison riots sparked by 4 ring leaders during April 1990. Lasting just days under a month, making it the longest prison riot in penal history, Alan Lord provides a personal insight into the real events that took place away from the media spotlight. The prison riot and rooftop protest took place in Manchester, England, lasting 25 staggering days, ending with 5 final prisoners, one death of a prisoner, 147 injured police officers and 47 prisoners. The damaged caused by the inmates left the government with a heavy £90 million repairs cost.
I took interest in this after watching the documentary and it resonated with me. I will be studying social policy and criminology at university so it’s within my list for entertainment and thus I really enjoyed reading it.
Alan Lord always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was almost drawn to trouble in his teenage years. After spending his early childhood moving in and out of children’s home, he didn’t have a traditional start to life – being as young as 18 months during his first move. During his late teens, after the night of a robbery, Lord found himself being sentenced to prison for the murder of the man he and his friends intended to rob. He served thirty-two years in various different prisons throughout the United Kingdom.
This book gives an incredibly engaging insight into the ordeal that Lord faced during his time in prison – reflecting on the level of inhumane treatment and brutality that he had to endure by both officers and inmates. Due to his confrontation, he often spent time within the segregation unit. It encouraged him to stand up for human rights, something he says was the driving force behind his participation in the riots.
The book powerfully captures the manner in which prisoners were treated on a daily basis, Life in Strangeways is a gripping book; changing the media perception of Alan lord: convicted murderer and riot ring leader. I recommend reading the book as it gives a different insight into the events that unfolded from the 1st of April; different from that which was shown within the press.
(I rate this book a strong 4/5)
More book reviews coming soon. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and writing back about it was great to share. I hope it inspires you to pick up a book and read.