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Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison
Table of Contents
About The Book
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Chris Hedges has taught courses in drama, literature, philosophy, and history since 2013 in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University at East Jersey State Prison and other New Jersey prisons. In his first class at East Jersey State Prison, where students read and discussed plays by Amiri Baraka and August Wilson, among others, his class set out to write a play of their own. In writing the play, Caged, which would run for a month in 2018 to sold-out audiences at The Passage Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, and later be published, students gave words to the grief and suffering they and their families have endured, as well as to their hopes and dreams. The class’s artistic and personal discovery, as well as transformation, is chronicled in heartbreaking detail in Our Class.
This “magnificent” (Cornel West, author of Race Matters) book gives a human face and a voice to those our society too often demonizes and abandons. It exposes the terrible crucible and injustice of America’s penal system and the struggle by those trapped within its embrace to live lives of dignity, meaning, and purpose.
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 19, 2021)
- Length: 272 pages
- ISBN13: 9781982154455
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Raves and Reviews
‘’Chris Hedges is the greatest radical writer and journalist of our generation! His courage and consistency are legendary! I shall never forget our teaching together at Rahway prison or our meetings with the greats Mumia Abu-Jamal and James Cone at Mahanoy prison. This magnificent book confirms his grand stature!’’
– Cornel West, author of Race Matters
"This book could change everything. It could change our minds. It could buttress our hearts. It could make graspable why today’s prisons are contemporary slave plantations. I couldn’t put it down and I tried."
– Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
"Raw and intimate. . . . Combining searing, well-informed critiques of the U.S. criminal justice system with sympathetic character profiles and inspirational accounts of intellectual and emotional breakthroughs, this is a powerful look at how creative expression can provide 'a taste of freedom.'"
– Publishers Weekly
"Chris Hedges opens the door for the long-buried talents of the incarcerated. In turn, they open the door to a new and valuable perspective for us all."
– Tom Fontana, Emmy Award-winning creator of "Oz"
"Activist and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Hedges recounts his time teaching in a New Jersey prison. . . . Hedges is unsparingly critical of a carceral state that exists, it seems, only to warehouse those who have fallen afoul of it. . . . An affecting book in which every page urges more humane treatment of prisoners."
– Kirkus Reviews
Resources and Downloads
High Resolution Images
- Book Cover Image (jpg): Our Class eBook 9781982154455
- Author Photo (jpg): Chris Hedges Photograph by Thomas Hedges(0.1 MB)
Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit
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