• Our Class

  • Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison
  • By: Chris Hedges
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $17.00

Buy for $17.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A powerfully moving book that “could make graspable why today’s prisons are contemporary slave plantations” (Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple), giving voice to the poorest among us and laying bare the cruelty of a penal system that too often defines their lives.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has taught courses in drama, literature, philosophy, and history since 2013 in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University at East Jersey State Prison and other New Jersey prisons. In his first class at East Jersey State Prison, where students read and discussed plays by Amiri Baraka and August Wilson, among others, his class set out to write a play of their own. In writing the play, Caged, which would run for a month in 2018 to sold-out audiences at the Passage Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, and later be published, students gave words to the grief and suffering they and their families have endured, as well as to their hopes and dreams. The class’ artistic and personal discovery, as well as transformation, is chronicled in heartbreaking detail in Our Class.

This “magnificent” (Cornel West, author of Race Matters) book gives a human face and a voice to those our society too often demonizes and abandons. It exposes the terrible crucible and injustice of America’s penal system and the struggle by those trapped within its embrace to live lives of dignity, meaning, and purpose.

©2021 Summit Study, Inc. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Our Class

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    59
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Riveting Story and Reality

I have come to know the great skills Hesges has and this is no exception. I think this book was more about his experience and his development as a human being while teaching in prison than the reality of prison in America. The story was good but it lacked structure at times. I found myself lost in the chapter and had to come back to figure out where I left off.

Narrator was excellent and I am hoping to hear from more him.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hedges’ Best Work Yet

Great Narrator, amazing story. A lot of the book is told from Hedges’ perspective, which was very interesting. IMHO, his best book yet.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Harrowing account of the prison system in the US

This is a dark subject but required reading in this country as it depicts the doom of prisoners

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing.

I’ve listened to dozens of Chris’s talks and most of his books. Life changing is all I can say.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A very important book

Among the many, many challenges that plague America, the massive and deeply unfair imprisonment of such large parts of the population, in particular black men, may be one of the saddest, most racist.

In this book, I learned about the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It became big business to imprison people, especially black men of course, which is part of the reason so many of them are in jail today. A history of racism, violence and demonisation of them as violent criminals even though they're in jail more minor crimes or are innocent.

Second, I learned that only a small percentage of prisoners have been convicted in a trial. Most are there with plea deals. This includes many many innocent people who have been told they'll have no chance in a trial. In addition, many innocent people refuse plea deals, assuming they'll go free, because they're innocent, but then get harsher sentences than the plea deal. This scares others into taking deals.

Third, I learned prisoners (at least in the Jersey jail in this book) get 15 minutes to visit a dying relative or see a deseased relative in a funeral home, with no other family present. They are accompanied by a guard, of course, and have to pay the overtime of that guard, which can be hundreds of dollars. I learned a lot more than that of course.

Please read. Also, please look up other works by Chris Hedges, in books, online newspapers, on YouTube and his podcast.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Listening Worthy

Per usual Chris Hedges' book envelopes the listener. Challenges personal perspectives and gives insight to the state of the prison system in this country. This book is a good joiner to Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-30-21

Slow & Boring

Chris Hedges can and has done far better than this.

Dissapointed.

1 star, only because I cant give it 0.