Real Men Wear Beige is a fascinating look at a journey through the US criminal justice system that's truly unique in its perspective and delivery.
Like most people, before author Donato Alfredano gets caught up in the system, he's hardly given the issue of prison a thought. But his unanticipated arrest at JFK Airport on a charge of official misconduct was a reality check that would forever change his views on incarceration, and on a larger scale, life.
Donato's deeply expressive story chronicles his passage through the New York criminal justice system and on to a brief stint at the infamous Rikers Island, then to his local county jail to await his sentencing hearing, eventually landing in state prison on a five-year sentence.
One thing that stands out in this provocative narrative is the surprising diversity of personalities and experiences, which makes this book an invaluable resource for those interested in gaining a fuller view of the incarceration picture.
©2015 Donato Alfredano (P)2015 Donato Alfredano
I don’t often review a book, but Real Men Wear Beige was such an intriguing and insightful story that I wanted to share my enthusiasm. The author has a style of writing and explaining things that kept me wanting to hear more about his “jailhouse journey through the chaotic realm of concrete and steel.” I bought a copy of the Audiobook version and I can honestly say that his passionate narration was second to none - and the excerpts from the soundtrack of Alfredano’s “songs written behind prison walls” were poignant and cool. His expose’ of the prison system was not only illuminating, it was impassioned.
After reading Real Men Wear Beige, I purchased Alfredano’s first audio book, “Be Strong, Be Tough, Be Smart,” which was narrated by Roger Buehler and Natalya Bykov. Both were excellent. I strongly recommend that you listen to this audio book. For me, his first book validated what I’d already gathered from Real Men Wear Beige; that Alfredano is a considerate and compassionate individual who made a bad decision and paid dearly for it.
Yes, Real Men Wear Beige is a five star book and the Audiobook version is even better. As I mentioned, The author has a style of writing and explaining things that kept me wanting to hear more about his “jailhouse journey through the chaotic realm of concrete and steel.”
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I would highly recommend that everyone either listen to this audio book or read the book to get a glimpse into the Justice System.
You hear so much about the Justice System and how it’s unfair and biased. You hear the stories of people falsely imprisoned and those that do not get as much time as they deserve. Donato Alfredano addresses these issues and so much more in the audio book version of his book, Real Men Wear Beige.
From the start of the book, Mr. Alfredano gives a frank and honest description of his experience in the Justice System. He paints an incredibly vivid picture of what life is like from the moment his incarceration started until his eventual release years later. There were times during the narrative that I was both stunned and disgusted by the conditions in which Mr. Alfredano lived and the events he viewed before him. He told stories about how other inmates landed behind bars. The stories of people imprisoned and sentenced compared to those set free astounded me more than once. His colorful descriptions of different prison fights, people who took revenge out on other inmates because of things they had said and done, were eye-opening, to say the least. In the case of Mr. Alfredano’s own revenge on a fellow inmate, I laughed.
Throughout the entirety of the audio book, I found myself horrified, disgusted, enlightened, and even amused at some of the events that took place during Mr. Alfredano’s time in the Justice System. Mr. Alfredano showed me how, like all places in society, people earned respect, developed friendships, and depended on one another for survival. For someone new to incarceration, I was impressed with how Mr. Alfredano handled himself and interacted with his fellow detainees and inmates. After listening to the entire audio book, something I did in one day, I hoped that by sharing his experience with the world Mr. Alfredano might start a conversation that would lead to much needed changes to the Justice System.
I really enjoyed the fact that this story was truly a first person account.
There is much to be said about prison and those who find themselves behind those inescapable bars. Real Men Wear Beige provides a unique point of view and voice for those who are often unheard and ignored. Often these people feel abandoned because society, their friends, and even their family have turned away from them.
This phenomenal story does not give the listener the misconception that prison is cool. Instead, the listener becomes privy to information through experiences he or she could otherwise never fathom.
Through the audio, read by the author himself, the listener can pick up on the passion in his voice, but also so much more. I wanted to hear more. I couldn't stop.
I would absolutely recommend this story to anyone and everyone, with the small caveat that it isn't intended for young listeners. This book contains adult content which is not suitable for everyone.
Real Men Wear Beige chronicles Alfredano’s experiences with being convicted of a crime and time in prison, and how these experiences deeply changed his thoughts on the U.S.’s flawed justice system. Very early on, before you find out Alfredano’s crime, he describes a terrifying fight between inmates, where the violence erupts and lashes out in moments, and the physical damage to several inmates is enough to turn his stomach and make you wonder what vile crime Alfredano has committed to end up in such a terrible place. This is part of the point Alfredano is trying to make; those on the outside typically have a nebulous idea of prison and who is sent there. As his story continues, however, he shows that there are all kinds of people in jail and prison- awful, terrible people, yes, but also some of the nicest and smartest he has met. Some people who have done terrible things and thanks to the quirks of the system somehow have lighter sentences than those who have committed relatively minor crimes.
Alfredano’s story shows that those inmates in jail or prison are often lumped together as ‘deserving of their fate’ even though, as he details, there is maddeningly unequal sentencing and treatment. His well told story offers insight on just how much the justice system is flawed.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
What a great audio book! I've already shared this book with my husband and close friends as a "must read/listen to" book! I love that the author is also the narrator of the book! The authentic feel of this book is as real as you can get and I love that! This audio book was such an eye opener for me! I had no idea what incarceration looked or felt like before this book! Alfredano did such a good job of painting a picture of what jail time really looks likes! I found myself smirking and laughing about different encounters Alfredano had while incarcerated. One story I'll never forget is with one of the inmates that Alfredano encountered about "Farmer John Cheese" or what he really meant of Parmesan Cheese. I appreciate the utter truth that is told throughout this book! It's a must read (or listen too book)!
This is such an eye opening story and it comes from the authors mouth. You get to hear about the atrocities that he had to live through and not miss any inflection of the text. He certainly knows how to draw you into his journey through his prison sentence. Although he sounds level headed through the chapters I can't imagine he was able to carry that demeanor through out his sentence. It really opens your eyes to his experiences. The behavior of the Correctional Officers, lack of repair of the prison, and the lifestyle one must adopt while behind the bars. I haven't heard a book quite like this and I am excited to hear it again.
I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
I would simply just to hear the author's voice and how he describes things again. It was an insightful look at the system as a whole, and while the topic isn't an easy one that you can talk about lightheartedly the author does wonders with how he adds in enlightening information while also throwing in a few jokes here and there.
I haven't had a whole lot of experience reading books on the criminal justice system. I remember reading Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers a few years back, but I think really the only similarity to this book would be that they included insight on the criminal justice system and how people are prosecuted. If memory serves Lockdown is about a teen, not an adult, and the tones of both books are completely different.
It was moreso a part that impacted me the most and made me think more than anything. In the beginning the author offers two different stories about inmates; one who is a child molester and the other who was being prosecuting for theft. The former gets off easier than the latter, and the question posed was "Which one would you want sitting in a room with your 10-year-old daughter?" Wow, did that hit hard and make me think about how someone as sick as a child molester can just go in and out like it's nothing.
Nothing really moved me as much as there were scenes that really made me think. It definitely changed my perception of prison, jail, and the prosecuting system.
In the introduction the author mentioned that the book could either reinforce what you’ve read about in newspapers, or that the book could shock and surprise you. The author is a great storyteller, and he doesn’t make things overly complicated. However, he doesn’t surgarcoat it either, and the way he gives you information definitely gets you thinking.
I was interested in this book because of its description of prison life that it advertises in the summary. Luckily it’s not just prison life either; Donato Alfredano spells out everything bit by bit, including details of how he ended up in prison, the booking process, and going to court. This is helpful because it gives us major details that, as said in the introduction, we would usually miss. I also took interest in this book because my mother and father have both worked in the criminal justice system, and I thought it would be interesting to get another perspective on a long and very complicated process. This book definitely gives that different perspective I was looking for; detailed and raw, it provides that insight into the process without sparing any detail, which I found fascinating. Another reason I enjoyed the attention to detail is that, as a teacher, I now have a student who is interested in going to the criminal justice field, and this gives me information to pass on to him that could be helpful to him in the future. I may pass this audiobook onto him, as I think it would be something he’d enjoy. As an added bonus to me, he’s not the biggest fan of reading, and if I can get him a hard copy it might it might be enough to interest him into sitting down and cracking open a good book.
Finally, I wanted to address the tone, as this is an audio book and tone is just as important as the words on the page. The tone of the book is professional and at the same time pretty relaxed. Alfredano explains things in a way that is easy to understand; occasionally he throws in prison jargon, but he always goes into further detail so that someone who is not familiar with prison or the criminal justice system would be able to follow along quite easily. It is evident from the beginning how the book is going to go down, as the way the author describes Zack is funny yet descriptive enough that we all know what kind of person he’s talking about. It was refreshing, and kept me listening even
If there was something I didn’t like it was how he broke it down into a math equation. Not that it was bad, and it doesn’t really affect my rating, but I’m not a fan of math, so when he started into that small tangent I groaned. Interesting, just not in a format I enjoyed. And it only lasted for a minute or so.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is an autobiography about an experience that most of us don’t see . . . that of being behind bars in a prison. The author committed a white-collar financial crime and turns himself in. The book then, deals with his experiences behind bars. We get to know his routine, the fellow prisoners he encounters and befriends, and the criminal justice workers who treated him badly. We get a lot of detail and rough language to go along with it, so this is definitely a book for mature audiences! The most enjoyable parts are the descriptions of the actual imprisonment.
Part of the interest in the story is not just the “being in jail” part but the details of the way he feels he was mistreated that call into question a lot of what we assume about the criminal justice system. He doesn’t claim to be innocent of his crime but even though this was his first brush with being a criminal he did receive a harsh sentence, and experienced a lot of things along the way that seem very unfair.
His book takes us all the way from just before jail to his re-entry as a free person. It would be nice if there were more back story to help us get to know him a little before the crime, but that part is fairly thin. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The narration does a good job of providing depth and interest. The author narrates so he’s reading his own material and adding the right vocal tones. He’s got a good, easy to listen to voice that I enjoyed.
What I liked about this book is that it is a real story of someone who had first hand experience in the prison system. The author tells his personal story and experience from the time something went wrong, his journey to turn himself in and his entire walk through in the court and prison system. Knowing what people go through in the judicial system is important. I like how everything is spelled out for you. Its a great read for someone who has been in the system or someone who want to make a difference in it. I watch a lot of stories on tv about prison and one always wonders how true these stories are. I like this story from the authors point of view. What I also like is that he was able to turn some of his experiences into songs. He is correct in saying that the entire system is corrupt.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review
Insightful, genuine, graphic.
Julian was my favorite character. Although not a main character, Donato Alrfedano really captured and expressed the human element in an institutionalized environment. His character personified the adage of, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." He came off initially as a hardened individual, but upon deeper inspection was revealed as the most emotionally effected by experience of being imprisoned.
His tone was easy to listen to, and was very comprehensible.
I did not have an extreme reaction, however, it did promote a lot of thought regarding the justice system by exposing some pitfalls in protocol.
It was a great listen, I would definitely recommend this to my peers.
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