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Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate List

Looking for the best Alcatraz books? Browse our list to find excellent book recommendations on the subject.

1. History of Alcatraz Island, 1853-2008 (Images of America: California) (2008)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListAs one of America’s most notorious prisons, Alcatraz has been a significant part of California’s history for over 155 years. The small, lonely rock, known in sea charts by its Spanish name “Isla de los Alcatraces,” or “Island of Pelicans,” lay essentially dormant until the 1850s, when the military converted the island into a fortress to protect the booming San Francisco region. Alcatraz served as a pivotal military position until the early 20th century and in 1934 was converted into a federal penitentiary to house some of America’s most incorrigible prisoners. The penitentiary closed in 1963, and Alcatraz joined…
Author(s): Gregory L. Wellman

2. Escape from Alcatraz: The Mystery of the Three Men Who Escaped From The Rock (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories) (2017)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListWhat’s more exciting than a prison break? Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz in 1962 and have never been caught. Many authorities are certain they died crossing San Francisco Bay. Relatives claim they made it to Brazil. The theories of what happened to them are endless. Find out the facts from people who dealt with the men and the case first-hand. This is one mystery you’ll definitely want to solve….
Author(s): Eric Mark Braun

3. Alcatraz: The Surprising History of America’s Most Notorious Prison (2016)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListThe federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California’s San Francisco Bay housed some of America’s most difficult and dangerous prisoners during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. Among those who served time at the maximum-security facility were the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947) and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud (1890-1963). When prisoners boarded the boat for Alcatraz, they knew that they had reached the end of the line. Not only was this the toughest of all Federal penitentiaries, but it was also said to be virtually escape-proof. The…
Author(s): Patrick Auerbach

4. Alcatraz: A History of the Penitentiary Years (2016)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListAlcatraz – A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years is a comprehensive reference with hundreds of pages of historic photographs, documents, and information that breaks away from traditional tourist style books. This book is the result of years of intensive research, and navigates the Island’s history through rarely seen documents, interviews, and historic photographs. Historian Michael Esslinger thoroughly details the prominent events, inmates, and life inside the most infamous prison in American History. His research included hundreds of hours examining actual Alcatraz inmate files (including rare original documents from Al Capone,…
Author(s): Michael Esslinger

5. Alcatraz-1259 (2013)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListThis is a true account of life in Alcatraz prison written by William G. Baker 1259AZ, a former prisoner of Alcatraz. This is how we lived, what we thought and said and did, the good and the bad. This is the true story of Alcatraz….
Author(s): William G. Baker

6. Where Is Alcatraz? (2016)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListThe island of Alcatraz has always been a place that’s fascinated visitors, from the Native American tribes who believed it was home to evil spirits to the Spanish explorers who discovered the island. In modern times, it was a federal prison for only 29 years, but now draws over a million visitors each year. Learn the history of America’s most famous prison, from its initial construction as a fort in the 1800s, to its most famous residents such as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. Where Is Alcatraz? also chronicles some of the most exciting escape attempts—even one that involved…
Author(s): Nico Medina , Who HQ, et al.

7. Escape from Alcatraz: The True Crime Classic (2005)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListIn 1963, just weeks before the original publication of this book, the last prisoner was escorted off Devil’s Island and Alcatraz ceased to be a prison. Author J. Campbell Bruce chronicles in spellbinding detail the Rock’s transition from a Spanish fort to the maximum-security penitentiary that housed such infamous inmates as Robert Stroud, aka the Birdman of Alcatraz, and mobster Al “Scarface” Capone. The chapters describing the daring escape attempts by Frank Morris and two accomplices from this “inescapable”…
Author(s): Campbell Bruce, J.

8. Inside Alcatraz: My Time on the Rock (2016)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListEach day we saw the outside world in all its splendour, and each day that view served as a reminder that we had wasted and ruined our lives. Jim Quillen, AZ586—a runaway, problem child, and petty thief—was jailed several times before his 20th birthday. In August 1942, after escaping from San Quentin, he was arrested on the run and sentenced to 45 years in prison, and later transferred to Alcatraz. This is the true story of life inside America's most notorious prison—from terrifying times in solitary confinement to daily encounters with "the Birdman," and what really happened…
Author(s): Jim Quillen

9. ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ: True Stories of Jail Breaks and Great Escapes (2017)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListDespite their place in popular culture, jail breaks are an incredibly daring prospect for any criminal to undertake. In most countries, escaping from jail is a very serious offence and will certainly result in a harsher punishment once the subject has been re-captured. Depending on the severity of the crime for which the offender was originally imprisoned, an attempted jail break can result in a significantly longer sentence.The cases covered in this volume are a combination of those prisoners who went to extreme lengths in order to free themselves from the confines of jail, those who…
Author(s): Roger Harrington

10. Escaping Alcatraz: The Untold Story of the Greatest Prison Break in American History (2017)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListNOTE: This book contains graphic depictions of extreme crime and violence. Its content may not be suitable for all readers.** Escaping Alcatraz was the winning title of the 2018 International Book Awards in the True Crime category. **Under the cover of night on June 11, 1962, using only crude homemade tools, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin tunneled their way out of Alcatraz, America's most secure maximum security prison. Enacting a complex escape plan, the trio broke free from the cellblock, made it undetected past patrolling guards, inflated homemade life…
Author(s): Michael Esslinger , David Widner , et al.

11. Alcatraz: The Gangster Years (2009)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListAl Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Alvin Karpis, “Dock” Barker―these were just a few of the legendary “public enemies” for whom America’s first supermax prison was created. In Alcatraz: The Gangster Years, David Ward brings their stories to life, along with vivid accounts of the lives of other infamous criminals who passed through the penitentiary from 1934 to 1948. Ward, who enjoyed unprecedented access to FBI, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Federal Parole records, conducted interviews with one hundred former Alcatraz convicts, guards, and…
Author(s): David A. Ward, Gene Kassebaum

12. THE INMATES: Stories based on Long Lost Memoirs from Alcatraz (2019)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListWhat really took place in Alcatraz prison during the 1940’s? Was the “Battle for Alcatraz” an escape attempt or an uprising? The truth is in this book. The first-hand accounts of the inmate’s stories in this book have never before been told. These are voices from the grave, finally being heard after seventy years. Every soul has a song. Every person has a story. They were shackled to chains, and their voices dampened. Their whispers went unheard; Until now. Ever wonder what happens to an inmate’s possessions when they don’t have any family? Well, sometimes, they end up in your very own…
Author(s): LEE OLSON

13. Alcatraz (I, Q) (2014)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListWith the nation reeling from the recent terrorist attacks, Q and Angela leave Chicago and arrive in San Francisco. Their parents are determined to continue the Match tour but for safety’s sake, they have decided to send Q and Angela to boarding school. Not happy at the thought of being taken off the trail of the ghost cell, Q and Angela race against time with Boone and the SOS team to find Number One, the leader of the world’s most feared terrorist organization. It’s the final showdown….
Author(s): Michael P. Spradlin, Roland Smith

14. Ghosts of Alcatraz (2008)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListAlcatraz Island has a chilling history. Surrounded by icy waters, enshrouded by thick fog, and wrapped in whistling wind, it is no surprise to find that it is haunted. In fact, there is so much sadness, desperation, torture, and death in its past, it’s almost impossible to believe that there aren’t spirits there. Learn about famous prisoners who haunt the island and of those unnamed folks who continue to linger there. Hear Al Capone’s mournful banjo and Robert “Birdman” Stroud’s shriek in the wind. Find Smitty, the amazing escape artist, and Rufe McCain, who was murdered by a monster. Visit with…
Author(s): Kathryn Vercillo

15. The Alcatraz Escape (The Book Scavenger series) (2019)

 Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate ListLegendary literary game-maker Garrison Griswold is back in action―this time with “Unlock the Rock.” For his latest game, Griswold has partnered with the famous―and famously reclusive―mystery writer Errol Roy to plan an epic escape room challenge on Alcatraz Island. Emily and James are eager to participate, but the wave of fame they are riding from their recent book-hunting adventures makes them a target. Threatening notes, missing items, and an accident that might not have been an accident have the duo worried that someone is trying to get them out of the game at…
Author(s): Chambliss Bertman, Jennifer, Sarah Watts

Best Alcatraz Books: The Ultimate List

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some alcatraz books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Alcatraz: The True End of the Line

Author(s): Darwin E Coon
ID: 2906275, Publisher: , Year: 2019, Size: 119 Kb, Format: epub

Hard Time: The Life of an Incorrigible on Alcatraz

Author(s): Charles Hopkins; Don DeNevi
ID: 2906284, Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers, LLC, Year: 2019, Size: 807 Kb, Format: epub

A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement

Author(s): Kent Blansett
ID: 2381848, Publisher: Yale University Press, Year: 2018, Size: 4 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are truly hot items according to Chicago Tribune, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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