Solitary NPR coverage of Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope by Albert Woodfox and Leslie George. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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Solitary

Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope

by Albert Woodfox and Leslie George

Hardcover, 433 pages, Pgw, List Price: $26 |

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Title
Solitary
Subtitle
Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope
Author
Albert Woodfox and Leslie George

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Book Summary

Chronicles the author's achievements as an activist during and after spending forty years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit, describing how he has committed his post-exoneration life to prison reform.

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Excerpt: Solitary

February 19, 2016.

I woke in the dark. Everything I owned fit into two plastic garbage bags in the corner of my cell. "When are these folks gonna let you out," my mom used to ask me. Today, mom, I thought. The first thing I'd do is go to her grave. For years I lived with the burden of not saying goodbye to her. That was a heavy weight I'd been carrying.

I rose and made my bed, swept and mopped the floor. I took off my sweatpants and folded them, placing them in one of the bags. I put on an orange prison jumpsuit required for my court appearance that morning. A friend had given me street clothes to wear, for later. I laid them out on my bed.

Many people wrote me in prison over the years, asking me how I survived four decades in a single cell, locked down 23 hours a day. I turned my cell into a university, I wrote them, a hall of debate, a law school. By taking a stand and not backing down, I told them. I believed in humanity, I said. I loved myself. The hopelessness, the claustrophobia, the brutality, the fear, I didn't say. I looked out the window. A news van was parked down the road outside the jail, headlights still on, though it was getting light now. I'll be able to go anywhere. To see the night sky. I sat back on my bunk and waited.