A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Alcatraz. As a young girl, I was fascinated and intrigued by this awful place that I had only heard about. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I'd visit and tour the facility someday. I was so fascinated by my visit that I made a second trip and hope to return again.
The ferry ride across took a few minutes and the anticipation grew as I got closer and got a better glimpse of what this famous prison looked like. It was intimidating before I ever got inside the doors.
The tour itself is totally fascinating. If you have any interest in this and have the opportunity, you should visit this place. The last I knew, it was run by the National Park Service. You can walk through on your own or do the tour.
This book was written by Frank Heaney, the youngest guard who ever worked at Alcatraz. He wrote it in 1987 along with co-author, Gay Machado. Heaney grew up in the San Francisco area and began work at Alcatraz after serving in the military.
The book is broken down into categories such as the history of the prison, details of the prison and a description of it, including solitary confinement. He gives details of the daily life of the prisoners, which in a place like Alcatraz was not always routine. There are stories of the exercise yard we've seen in the movies and things that happened there. He also tells of what it was like to be a prison guard at this famous penitentiary. He describes nicknames of prisoners, disciplinary measures and the towers, just to name a few categories.
Alacatraz is known for having held some of the most famous and dangeous prisoners. From Machine Gun Kelly to Al Capone and the Bird Man of Alcatraz, he tells stories of each one. No one could know these men better than the brave men who guarded them. Frank Heaney was one of those men.
Heaney describes attempted escapes and what life was like for those non-prisoners who lived on the island.
The book is filled with stories, newspaper articles and lots of pictures of the prison and some of its famous inhabitants. This book is a fantastic read for anyone who is interested in Alcatraz from someone who was there to see it in person. The book has only been sold at the prison gift shop, but copies can be found online through ebay and other sites.