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Ted Conover

Teoksen Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing tekijä

11+ teosta 1,682 jäsentä 33 arvostelua 3 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Ted Conover is a journalist and associate professor of journalism at New York University. His book Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Conover is also the author of Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's näytä lisää Hoboes; Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America's Mexican Migrants; Whiteout: Lost in Aspen; and The Routes of Man: Travels in the Paved World. He regularly writes for the New York Times, Harper's, the Atlantic, and many other publications. näytä vähemmän

Includes the name: Ted Conover

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

The Moth (2013) — Avustaja — 294 kappaletta
Bad Trips (1991) — Avustaja — 233 kappaletta
The Best American Essays 1994 (1994) — Avustaja — 180 kappaletta
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us (2021) — Avustaja — 62 kappaletta
Travelers' Tales MEXICO : True Stories (1994) — Avustaja — 61 kappaletta
True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism (2008) — Esipuhe, eräät painokset14 kappaletta

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I live a hundred miles north of Conover's story. He nailed the diverse group of characters living off the grid in remote areas of Colorado. Great story!
 
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Cam_Torrens | 1 muu arvostelu | Mar 17, 2023 |
And so I came, saw, and left, came, saw, and left, over and over again. I built a fence because it felt right, and because I plan to stay a while longer.

from Cheap Land Colorado by Ted Conover
When Ted Conover was eleven he visited the San Luis Valley on a family car trip. The land looked timeless, its long history of human settlement seeming to have little impact. Indigenous people left their rock carvings, Hispanic people created the first town. Pioneers came for the free land. Now, with some of the cheapest land on the continental United States, the valley still attracts people, the poor who dream of owning a plot of land, people who are drawn to the wide open skies, those who are escaping from the city and mainstream life or their past.

Ted Conover was hired to write a story about South Park and he shared what he had seen with his sister. She had visited the San Luis Valley and told him about a rural outreach group there. Conover visited to learn more. “I had not known that this kind of place existed,” Conover wrote about the off-the grid world he encountered.

Conover lived and taught in New York city but he arranged to work part time with the outreach group. He found a trailer and a place to park it. Every few months, he returned, traveling across the valley, seeking those in need, and learning about the people and their stories. He became a part of the community. He fell in love with this land, and bought land and developed a second home there.

Cheap Land Colorado is a wonderful portrait of this rural, impoverished valley and the people who call it home. With great humanity and acceptance, we come to understand people whose values and choices we don’t agree with or support. We see their dignity, their drive for self-sufficiency and freedom.

Conover himself is at the heart of the story, his growing attachment to the valley, the friends he made, the stories people told him. He sees first hand illegal guns, the impact of meth and opioids, mental health issues, and downright poverty. During the Trump years and Covid, he records their embracing of Facebook ‘truths’, too many becoming ill and dying because of pandemic denial.

“At a time when more and more people seem to believe that almost anything can be true, I wanted a book that could be fact-checked, populated by people who are indisputably real,” Conover concludes.

Thanks to A.A. Knopf for a free book.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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nancyadair | 1 muu arvostelu | Dec 3, 2022 |
"These were the guys, the source of my pain, the source of their own pain, the source of their victims' and of their families' pain. My first few days, they had seemed like one big green-clad undifferentiated mass. Now, of course, they all had faces to me."

Conover entered my radar with his reading of the epilogue of Newjack on The Moth. I went into the book thinking that it would be like that: these bizarre, dramatic prison-life stories, chapters of gang crime and corruption and all the other nonsense that coupled those New Years' fires. And while it was peppered with scenes like this - staff abusing inmates, hearsay of guard/inmate relationships, and the mystery of that 16-inch shank (sword???) - it thrived instead in its nuance and the everyday stresses (and amusements) of Conover's term as CO.

The introduction sets up him going into the job to try and see the cracks in the foundation of the prison system, but (as cheesy as it sounds) it ends up being a complete search for the truth on every detail. Instead of making an excuse for all prison guards or a sob story for the abuse of the inmates, Newjack exposes every last dark corner of Sing Sing, every dangerous or heartfelt or darkly funny anecdote, and leaves the sentencing up to the reader.

Granted, his intentions are repeated at the end of the book, but it never sounds authoritative or as if there's only one side to every issue.

I also appreciated how honest Conover is. He talks just as much about when he was kind & skilled as when he was unfair & incompetent.
Instead of just someone looking in, he becomes a character all his own: he presents all his flaws, the instances where he humiliated himself, and how he began to struggle as a "free man" during his own term at Sing Sing. While humanizing him, his reflection that came from being outside Sing Sing while writing made him even judge his past self - he acknowledges the stress that was put on him, but never presents it as justification for the behavior of guards.

It definitely didn't rely on dramatics or violence or tragic inmate stories, but instead through little bits of events and quotes from inmates/guards with a whole spectrum of attitudes and outlooks, built something completely immersive and honest. Right, there weren't gallery fires every few chapters, but for all the seemingly mundane details about locking in hundreds of inmates, there were many small but incredibly powerful moments, both from his own musings and the lives of inmates that he glimpsed into.

tl;dr: a book has never given me such secondhand stress as this one did and I love it all the more for it
… (lisätietoja)
 
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Chyvalrys | 18 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 5, 2020 |
Highly detailed and mostly engaging, "Newjack" is a solid read. If you're interested in how the prison system works and what life inside looks like, read this book.

It drags at times when Conover gets too detailed in his day-to-day labours, but at its best when he describes the history of the electric chair or characters like Larson, who I could only picture as Snoop Dogg. He gives guards and inmates a fair shake.
 
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Cail_Judy | 18 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 21, 2020 |

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1,682
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