Blood in the Water

The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

THE PULITZER PRIZE IN HISTORY, 2017 · BANCROFT PRIZE IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND DIPLOMACY, 2017 · RIDENHOUR BOOK PRIZE, 2017 · NEW YORK CITY BAR ASSOCIATION AWARD, 2016 · MEDIA for a JUST SOCIETY BOOK AWARD, 2017 · LAW and LITERATURE BOOK AWARD, 2017 · J. WILLARD HURST AWARD IN SOCIO-LEGAL HISTORY, 2017 · SILVER GAVEL AWARD FOR MEDIA AND THE ARTS (Honorable Mention May, 2017) · NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 2016 · LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST 2017 · CUNDILL BOOK PRIZE LONGLIST, 2017 · NEW YORK TIMES, PAPERBACK ROW, 2017 · SEATTLE TIMES, TOP TEN NON-FICTION, 2017 · NEW YORK TIMES MOST NOTABLE BOOKS  of 2016 · TOP TEN BEST BOOKS of 2016 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY · TOP TEN BEST WORKS OF NON FICTION of 2016 KIRKUS REVIEWS · TOP TEN BOOKS of 2016 NEWSWEEK · BEST HUMAN RIGHTS BOOKS of 2016 · BEST HISTORY BOOKS of 2016 BLOOMBERG · BEST BOOKS of 2016 BOSTON GLOBE · BEST NONFICTION BOOKS 2016 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR · FAVORITE BOOKS 2016 BUFFALO NEWS · TOP TEN NON-LOCAL BOOKS of 2016 BALTIMORE CITY PAPER · BEST BOOKS 2016 THE UNDEFEATED · BEST CRIMINAL JUSTICE BOOKS 2016 THE MARSHALL PROJECT · BEST NONFICTION BOOKS 2016 BOOK SCROLLING · CURATOR PICK BEST of 2016, THE SMITHSONIAN · BEST BOOKS of 2016, TROPICS OF META · AMAZON, #1 BESTSELLER LAW ENFORCEMENT · STARRED REVIEWS: KIRKUS REVIEW, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, LIBRARY JOURNAL · VARIOUS “STAFF PICKS” AT LOCAL BOOKSTORES INCLUDING BARNES AND NOBLE UNION SQUARE, MAINE BOOK SHOP AND CAFE, NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE, ETC.

blood in the water, pulitzer prize, heather ann thompson, attica, book

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THE FIRST DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF THE INFAMOUS 1971 ATTICA PRISON UPRISING, THE STATE’S VIOLENT RESPONSE, AND THE VICTIMS’ DECADES-LONG QUEST FOR JUSTICE.
 
On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. 

On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men—hostages as well as prisoners—and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed.
 
Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

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Blood in the Water is extraordinary—a true gift to the written history of civil rights and racial justice struggles in America.” — Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

“Remarkable. . . . Blood in the Water is a historical tour de force. It sheds new light on these most important historical events, events that in part triggered the wave of exponential prison growth today. For those of us who have been tracing the rise of mass incarceration in this country, Heather Ann Thompson’s book is a must read.” — Bernard E. Harcourt, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia University
 
“Heather Ann Thompson wields the powers of the historian with mesmerizing force. Forty-five years after the Attica uprising, Blood in the Water offers the most complete history to date on that tragic episode and does so with unflinching purpose: a clearer view of the consequences for human life, both past and present.” — Glenn E. Martin, Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA

Blood in the Water tells of warning signs in 1971 that still exist more than forty years later. Heather Ann Thompson’s prophetic analysis is a sobering reminder that we must all care about what is happening to human beings behind prison walls.” — Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of New York


 

Attica Movie

Film Rights for Blood in the Water have been optioned. Read more here.

Studio: TriStar Pictures

Producers: Amy Pascal and Rachel O’Conner

Screenwriters: Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

 

Book Trailer

 
 

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