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Publisher's Summary

Alcatraz Screw is a firsthand account from a prison guard’s perspective of some of the most storied years at the infamous U.S. Penitentiary at Alcatraz. George Gregory began his career as a guard for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1940. He takes the listener along on a correctional officer’s tour of duty, showing what it was like to pull a lonely, tedious night of sentry duty in the Road Tower, or witness illicit transactions in the clothing room, or forcibly quell a riot in the cell blocks. Gregory provides an insider’s account of the tenures of all four of Alcatraz’s wardens and their sometimes contradictory approaches to administering the institution. He knew and regularly interacted with such legendary inmates as Robert Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz) and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Without glamorizing or demonizing either the staff or the convicts, Alcatraz Screw provides a candid portrayal of corruption, drug abuse, and sexual practices, as well as efforts at reform and unrecorded acts of kindness. Various incidents in the memoir convey the fear, hatred, frustration, boredom, and unavoidable tension of being incarcerated.

The book is published by University of Missouri Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

"George Gregory arrived at Alcatraz during a critical juncture in the institution's history...In short, he saw it all - and he remembered it all." (John W. Roberts, from the Introduction)

©2013 The Curators of the University of Missouri (P)2020 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Factual and disciplined, this is a valuable bit of history." (Publishers Weekly

"Will certainly appeal to readers interested in prison life and those who have a special interest in Alcatraz. (Library Journal)

What listeners say about Alcatraz Screw: My Years as a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison

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Great Book, Excellent Narration!


Alcatraz Screw is a fascinating account of life behind the walls of the
most notorious prison in America. The book takes the listener inside
the day to day activities of how the institution was operated. To
further enhance this excellent book is the narrator, Chaz Allen, who
brings this book right off the written page and delivers it in such a
way as to allow the listener to experience the the harshness and
realities of living at Alcatraz. Highly recommenced.

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Correctional Officer

As a Correctional Officer myself, I can relate go to inside humor and incidences that occur within the bars of a facility. Some of my Native American Hopi men were locked up there as being identified as a “hostile” for not sending their children to boarding schools. Thank you for your service and memoirs, great book.

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George Gregory

If George was anything like the narrative by Chaz Allen, I found Gregory to be arrogant, narcissistic, and all around braggart. I worked in a correctional facility when I started in corrections and although it was far from the discipline at Alcatraz I found that Mr. Gregory had a answer for everyone’s problems including the wardens. My Uncle was an inmate at Alcatraz for many years and although Gregory might have called him curly, my uncle did have curly hair and was easy going. This is a good read for being inside the prison. I think you will enjoy it.

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  • Dicko
  • 11-09-21

Great Expectations Let Down

I love this genre and have just about every book on Alcatraz but this one missed the mark for me. I'm sure George Gregory is a most interesting man with lots of stories to tell but his writing lacks a structure and never captured the intrigue about his job.. The narrator tried hard but there were a lot of times he stammered with the lines. Somewhat disappointed with this one.