Solitary

Unbroken by four decades in solitary confinement. My story of transformation and hope.
Narrated by: JD Jackson
Length: 16 hrs and 12 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (315 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement - in a six-foot by nine-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana - all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit, and makes his book a clarion call to reform the inhumanity of solitary confinement in the US and around the world. 

Arrested often as a teenager in New Orleans, inspired behind bars in his early 20s to join the Black Panther Party because of its social commitment and code of living, Albert was serving a 50-year sentence in Angola for armed robbery when on April 17, 1972, a white guard was killed. Albert and another member of the Panthers were accused of the crime and immediately put in solitary confinement by the warden. Without a shred of actual evidence against them, their trial was a sham of justice that gave them life sentences in solitary. Decades passed before Albert gained a lawyer of consequence; even so, 16 more years and multiple appeals were needed before he was finally released in February 2016. 

Remarkably self-aware that anger or bitterness would have destroyed him in solitary confinement, sustained by the shared solidarity of two fellow Panthers, Albert turned his anger into activism and resistance. The Angola 3, as they became known, resolved never to be broken by the grinding inhumanity and corruption that effectively held them for decades as political prisoners. He survived to give us Solitary, a chronicle of rare power and humanity that proves the better spirits of our nature can thrive against any odds.

©2019 Albert Woodfox. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

Solitary is evidence of Woodfox’s extraordinary mental resilience in the face of relentless state cruelty.... An indictment of the US criminal justice system that should be read for generations.” (The Globe and Mail)

“Shocking... An astonishing true saga of incarceration that would have surely faced rejection if submitted as a novel on the grounds that it never could happen in real life.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Sage, profound and deeply humane, Albert Woodfox has authored an American testament. Solitary is not simply an indictment of the cruelties, absurdities and hypocrisies of the criminal justice system, it is a call to conscience for all who have allowed these acts to be done in our name.” (Jelani Cobb, author of The Substance of Hope and staff writer at The New Yorker)

What listeners say about Solitary

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An eye opener!

When I considered purchasing this book, I rightly guessed it would not be an enjoyable listen. I then thought, if this man was forced to spend his the prime years of his life in solitary, I can spare a few hours to listen to his story. I am really glad I did. Mr. Woodfox’s story needs to be heard. As a white person of a privileged background, I am continually shocked to learn how badly the criminal “justice” system fails some people. This story is interesting and not all grim. I recommend it highly.

6 people found this helpful

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Engrossing. Inspiring. Eye opening.

This is a story of profound moral courage and the power of friendship under unimaginable hardship and injustice.

6 people found this helpful

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Instant classic

I can't imagine anybody not giving this 5 stars. Gradebook plus outstanding narration! I just hope the author sells lots of books it makes a lot of money!

2 people found this helpful

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Solitary

This book must be tuned into a movie mini series. This cruelty & evil must never happen again. Those responsible for aiding the evil of this racist oppression should pay for it with their money & their lives. This is definitely a present day slave narrative. God speed to Albert Woodfox for his strength & perseverance to survive and get his message to the public.

1 person found this helpful

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Powerful story

It was a story of perseverance and strength. It made me want to do more.

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LOVE. ESSENTIAL. INSPIRING.

Incredible and brave work. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to hear Mr. Woodfox’s story.

1 person found this helpful

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Extraordinary

A remarkable book written by a remarkable man. I don’t know how he did it. I hope I get to shake his hand some day. Blessings to him for his courage and social activism. He has inspired me to do more.

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Life changing read!

An eye opening book that depicts the truth and reality of our modern day corrupted judicial, government, education, and prison systems.

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America Justice System

The worst thing in the world!! For profit prison system on the back of the people.

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Harrowing! Enlightening! Hard to listen to!

It was hard to believe the injustices experienced by the author and his comrades the Angola three. It was not easy to listen to the unsentimental account of the these injustices, 4o years of solitary confinement and multiple miscarriages of justices in Louisiana USA. But I am glad I did. If Albert Woodfox had to endure it, and maintained his sanity and humanity then I could listen to it. The book stands as a testament for change. The book offers irrefutable evidence of systematic racism and injustice within the very fabric of our system. I am grateful to Mr. Woodfox for his courage and endurance, his intelligence and lack of self pity. He is truly a man of steel! If you live on American soil under the American system then you need to listen to this book. Thank you Mr. Woodfox!