Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy | Heather Ann Thompson
752 pages | Vintage Books
The Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the infamous 1971 Attica prison uprising, the state's violent response, and the victims' decades-long quest for justice--including information that had been withheld from the public for forty years.
On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. They took thirty-eight hostages and over the next several days negotiated with officials for improved conditions in the prison.
On September 13, the state abruptly ended discussions and 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 days that followed troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. In the aftermath, 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.