Tag Archive: Reviews

THE HOWS AND WHYS OF PRISON ESCAPES

swimming-to-freedomFrom Vice News

Over the course of his 50-year career, Donald E. Westlake wrote more than 100 books, the vast majority of them crime fiction—most often seen from the point of view of the criminals. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America gave him their highest honor, naming him Grand Master, largely on the strength of his two classic series: one featuring hard-boiled burglar Parker (played on screen by Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall, Mel Gibson, and Jason Statham, among others), the other portraying hapless heister John Dortmunder (who lucked out and got Robert Redford—go figure).

Along the way, Westlake wrote a fair amount of nonfiction, usually relating in some way to the crime genre. In October, the University of Chicago Press will publish a selection of that nonfiction in The Getaway Car: A Donald E. Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany. The piece below, an essay originally published in 1961 in the third issue of Ed McBain’s Mystery Book, is a selected history of the hows and whys of great prison breaks. As a writer, Westlake always enjoyed putting his characters into agonizingly difficult situations and seeing how they get out; that enthusiasm for an impossible puzzle animates this essay.  (more…)

What if the LGBTQ movement fought for prison abolition rather than same-sex marriage?

Ryan Conrad, co-founder of the Against Equality collective, with his new book, Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion.

Ryan Conrad, co-founder of the Against Equality collective, with his new book, Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion.

By Isabelle Nastasia

How did the movement get here? What if lesbians oppose war? What if gay men don’t want to expand the prison system? What if marriage doesn’t address poverty? These are some of the questions raised by the Against Equality collective in its new book Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion published this year by AK Press.

The Against Equality collective is an archival project created by five queer and trans activists and writers. First and foremost, their new book is an anthology of critiques of the issues that have come to define gay and lesbian politics over the past 20 years. But it also proposes alternative paths for the movement, putting forth both prison abolition and transformative justice as distinctly queer political projects.

Isabelle Nastasia recently sat down with Ryan Conrad, co-founder of the Against Equality collective, in the East Village to discuss the book and the politics behind his own work. (more…)