by Albert Woodfox

On Sale: 06/01/2021


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by Albert Woodfox

On Sale: 06/01/2021


American Book Award

New York Times Notable

Pulitzer Prize

Washington Post Best Book

National Book Award

About the Book

Named One of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2019
Named the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Publishers WeeklyBookBrowse, and Literary Hub
Winner of the BookBrowse Award for Best Debut of 2019
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement?in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana?all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the U.S. and around the world.

Arrested often as a teenager in New Orleans, inspired behind bars in his early twenties to join the Black Panther Party because of its social commitment and code of living, Albert was serving a 50-year sentence in Angola for armed robbery when on April 17, 1972, a white guard was killed. Albert and another member of the Panthers were accused of the crime and immediately put in solitary confinement by the warden. Without a shred of actual evidence against them, their trial was a sham of justice that gave them life sentences in solitary. Decades passed before Albert gained a lawyer of consequence; even so, sixteen more years and multiple appeals were needed before he was finally released in February 2016.

Remarkably self-aware that anger or bitterness would have destroyed him in solitary confinement, sustained by the shared solidarity of two fellow Panthers, Albert turned his anger into activism and resistance. The Angola 3, as they became known, resolved never to be broken by the grinding inhumanity and corruption that effectively held them for decades as political prisoners. He survived to give us Solitary, a chronicle of rare power and humanity that proves the better spirits of our nature can thrive against any odds.

Critical Praise

Solitary is evidence of Woodfox’s extraordinary mental resilience in the face of relentless state cruelty . . . An indictment of the U.S. criminal justice system that should be read for generations.” — The Globe and Mail

“Uncommonly powerful . . . profound.” — New York Times

“Devastating, superb . . . This breathtaking, brutal, and intelligent book will move and inspire readers.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Shocking . . . An astonishing true saga of incarceration that would have surely faced rejection if submitted as a novel on the grounds that it never could happen in real life.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Wrenching, sometimes numbing, sometimes almost physically painful to read. You want to turn away, put the book down: Enough, no more! But you can’t . . .  its moral power is so overwhelming.” — Washington Post

“Heart-rending . . . Woodfox is not a bitter man. He refuses to see himself as a victim. Ultimately, this allergy to self-pity allows him to grapple with the consequences and consolations of whatever agency—and dignity—can exist in even the most abhorrent and restricted circumstances.” — New York Times Book Review

“So many parts of this story are unforgettable and none more so than Woodfox’s internal struggle . . . Only one man in America has survived such an ordeal, with the scars and strength to prove it.” — New Orleans Advocate

“Albert Woodfox’s extraordinary life story is both an inspiring triumph of the human spirit and a powerful call for the necessity of prison reform.” — Van Jones, President of the Dream Corps and Host of CNN’s The Van Jones Show

“Sage, profound and deeply humane, Albert Woodfox has authored an American testament. Solitary is not simply an indictment of the cruelties, absurdities and hypocrisies of the criminal justice system, it is a call to conscience for all who have allowed these acts to be done in our name.” — Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope and staff writer at The New Yorker

“Stunningly personal and profoundly evocative, this haunting memoir takes Woodfox’s readers on a painful life journey. Despite all he endured, today he takes a leading role combating the legacies of slavery. Unforgettable.” — Karolyn Smardz Frost, author of I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad and Steal Away Home: One Woman’s Epic Flight to Freedom and Her Long Road Back to the South

Solitary is the stunning record of a hero’s journey. In it a giant, Albert Woodfox, carries us boldly and without apology through the powerful, incredibly painful yet astonishingly inspiring story of a life lived virtually in chains.” — Mike Farrell, author of Just Call Me Mike, activist, actor (B.J. Hunniccutt in M*A*S*H)

“A cautionary tale, a challenge to all we think we know about the justice system, and an inspiring testimony to the power of the human spirit.” — Reverend Leah Daughtry, co-author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443458375
  • ISBN 10: 1443458376
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 06/01/2021
  • Pages: 448
  • List Price:21.00 CAD
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black

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