A Prison Diary

Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
4 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On July 19, 2001, Jeffrey Archer - international best selling author - is sentenced to four years in prison for perjury. He becomes Prisoner FF8282 and spends the first three weeks of his sentence in a high-security prison that houses some of Britain's most violent criminals. During those twenty-two days, Archer contemplates suicide; he is allowed out and followed by 100 reporters on the day of his mother's funeral; he's moved to the Lifer's wing because of the security it provides; he becomes a trusted confidant for fellow convicts; and his cellmate sells a story about him to the British tabloids. A Prison Diary is Archer's account of these events.
©2003 Jeffrey Archer (P)2003 New Millennium Audio, All Rights Reserved

Critic Reviews

"Gruesome, touching, sharply written." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Strong narrative and good writing make this memoir an intriguing and engaging version of the often-trite prison journal." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about A Prison Diary

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Worthwhile Listen

As an American who doesn't really follow British politics, I have to admit general ignorance about the details of Jeffrey Archer's case when I saw this book listed on Audible.com's site. A little internet research turned up his story, and the fact that he had just recently been released from prison. Sounded interesting, and so I ordered it. First off, the narrative is outstanding, and brings to life Archer's story. As to the content, it was very good. Not outstanding, but very good. Archer has a very readable (or listenable in this case) style, which gives one a feel of what it was like for a man used to rubbing elbows with England's aristocracy to end up among murderers, drug dealers, and rapists. Writing in diary format is not alway easy, but Archer pulls it off. And again, Martin Jarvis's narrative, down to the voices he used to imitate the other prisoners, added to the story. On the downside, Archer clearly had a political axe to grind, directing comments on his perceived atrocities of the British penal system to "Mr. Home Secretary." That notwithstanding, much lucid insight into what it means to go without something many of us take for granted - our personal freedom.
Recommended.

39 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A trip to jail

I have read a number of Jeffrey Archer books over the years and also knew he was a member of the House of Lords and a politician but was unaware he was sent to prison. Like many of the other readers I looked up to learn about his crimes. This book is book one of a series of four books in the Prison Diary series. I found it interesting and was surprised at his treatment by the other prisoners and staff. The day to day life of prison was enlightening as well as how many were there because of drugs. I could understand Archers point when he would write attention Mr. Home Secretary even though it could be considered self serving. I also noted how many of the prisoners said they would just take their punishment and get on with life. I am impressed that on his release that Archer is busy campaigning for prison reform. Martin Jarvis did a great job reading this book. Enjoyed the book and learned a lot.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A tale of culture shock

This book gives a very detailed account of the first few weeks of a privileged Englishman?s incarceration in a common British prison. It?s not exactly exciting, but it does paint a comprehensive picture. I am no fan of the British upper classes, so I listened out of sheer curiosity to see how he would survive.

Jeffrey Archer suffered a very sudden and dramatic culture shock, and bore up extremely well. By his own account he accepted his new life, made the best of it, learned from it, contributed to it, was starting to become very interested in prison reform, and I'd have to call him "a good sport". I ended up respecting his ability to adapt and avoid self-pity.

I checked on the Internet and Jeffrey Archer is out of prison now. He has become an extremely controversial figure, facing constant public censure from upper and lower classes alike. I am now quite curious to see how he will survive his disgrace, and whether he will manage to continue his efforts for prison reform.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Incomplete

This book is mildly interesting for its insight into prison life but ends quite suddenly in what seems to be the middle of the story. If you read it merely to understand what life as a prisoner may feel like you will be served; however, if you want to know how the plot ends you may have to try wikipedia.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

If only it was longer

Regardless of Mr. Archer's guilt or innocence, I found this book fascinating and completly engaging. My only complaint was it's length. I would have much preferred to continue on the journey through the British penal system. Read this book, it's one you'll find unable to put down!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good book

This is my first Jeffrey Archer book and I enjoyed it very much. It is very interesting to see the differences in British prisons and American prisons.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book and Narrator

I purchased this book during the $4.99 promotional and it was worth every penny and more! I was not familiar with the case of Jeffery Archer, but being familiar with his case is of little importance in “reading” this book. Archer gives an excellent portrayal of the British prison system, which contrasts markedly to ours in the U.S.! The book was well written and extremely well narrated! The narrator really brought the characters to life and he made the story a listening pleasure. I would highly recommend this book and only wish that the U.S. prison systems would/could take note.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Stellar Writing & Narration

I've never read anything by Archer before, and am not generally a fan of glossy fiction....however, I really was blown away by the quality of his writing on this supposedly non-fiction account and of the narration of Martin Jarvis. The combination is highly entertaining and informative.

Archer is obviously a pompous SOB, and his innocence dubious, but his talent as a writer and storyteller is undeniable. However, I think that any American listener will hardly find his account of Belmarsh Prison in England "Hell" when compared to high-security prisons on this side of the Atlantic.

Despite a few misgivings, this is by far the best audiobook I have yet listened to.

6 people found this helpful

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SELF INDULGENT WHINING BY HUGE EGO

I love Jeffrey Archer's novels. No doubt about it. But if you are a fan of his writing, I would still advise you to stay clear of this book, and stick with his novels.
Ughh.
Jeffrey Archer writes on and on ad nauseum about how he was wrongly convicted. He takes absolutely no responsibility for anything, but loves to name drop famous people who of course supported him, (as well as ALL the general public)
Dull, boring, a snooze. Don't bother.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting but not a must-listen

If you could sum up A Prison Diary in three words, what would they be?

unique interesting sad

Who was your favorite character and why?

I suppose it must be Archer himself, as the diary is focused on him and written by him

What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He narrates very well, with all the different accents and nuances of different speekers

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A look behind the bars...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cromwell
  • 05-01-15

Not the full story

This book only deals with Bellmarsh so I felt a little short changed. I was anxious to learn about the authors full spell inside.

6 people found this helpful

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  • me
  • 03-21-17

astounding

I wasn't a Jeffrey archer fan until, now misunderstood, but very understanding. I will definitely be reading more title's from him.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lucy Holden
  • 08-24-16

Fabulous

A most gripping and well written piece of what seems a real life tale of injustice and survival.
I would like part 2 but am unable to acquire it on audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 03-21-17

First Archer book and surprisingly good!

I keep having to remind myself that he was found guilty! It's actually a very good prison diary. I wouldn't mind hearing a follow up interview.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JACQUI
  • 01-20-17

my opinion

loved it. would have liked to listen to how it continues. recommend to all. enjoy.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • martin egbuawa
  • 08-07-16

Captivating

Very good read and couldn't let go. Big fan and about to read the rest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SnapWriter
  • 04-06-16

Incredible Listening

A must download. Couldn't stop listening, couldn't wait to listen to it.

Please can we have volumes two and three, Audible?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Julian Williams
  • 04-02-16

Fascinating

I'm new to audio books, preferring radio drama. This, however, is riveting stuff and, even though having a book read too me feels at the outset a little childish, this is very grown up and compellingly insightful. Top marks.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mandy
  • 06-06-15

A+++++

brilliant book I've read the book before but enjoy it just wish they have the full set on here as it makes it easier to understands jeff's life in prison well worth a read

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-09-20

A Prison Diary

This is another J Archer brilliant work by a much talented author .I think young would be law breakers be made to read and digest what prison sentence would be like also also MPs .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-19

Well done archer.

A great read of how Posh writer spends some time in a hard prison. Written with truth and a cunning wit. A pleasure to read.