Nancy King King itibaren Nong Ruea, Non Sang District, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Tayland
I'm only just over halfway through, but it is a slog. I'm not sure why I don't like this one. I think part of it is that none of the characters are likable or even sympathetic. Very disappointing. Update: Yeah, that pretty much summed it up through the end. Oh well.
Yes, it was a reading assignment for my new job, but it was nonetheless very interesting. The book was published for an exhibit in 1994 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, called "Eastern State Penitentiary at Fairmount: Crucible of Good Intentions." The book is a brief yet detailed history of the Eastern State Penitentiary, from the concept of a "penitentiary" in the late 1700s, the opening in 1829, until its closing as a prison in 1971. There are descriptions of the physical area, as well as details about the lives of the inmates, wardens, and a discussion of whether or not the original philosophy was relevant then and now. Eastern State was influential not just for its philosophy of reform and rehabilitation, but for its physical design as well. At this point, there are approximately 300 prisons worldwide who have adopted the radial design as an efficient method of tracking the behavior of prisoners. If you have an interest in historical architecture, social history, criminal justice, or Philadelphia history, I would recommend this book. I think it provides an excellent overview of the place itself, but also how it was a reflection of the times throughout its existence.