Jerry’s Riot is a nonfiction account of Montana’s notorious 1959 prison riot. It is the only accurate and comprehensive book written about the disturbance because journalist Kevin S. Giles interviewed nearly 100 people who witnessed it.
The book captures the conflict that ensued between career convict Jerry Myles, who had done time at Alcatraz Island and other federal and state prisons, and Warden Floyd Powell. Both men were new to Deer Lodge, Montana. Myles wanted to run the prison. Powell wanted to reform it. Guards and prisoners were caught in the middle.
True crime reviewer Laura James said Giles, a Montana author, joined a national echelon of writers who have written convincing and haunting works in the true crime genre.
James wrote in her review: “The sheer depth of Giles’ research is impressive. The way the story is structured is also glue on the reader’s hands. There is a slow, detailed, agonizing buildup to the fatal events, and Giles never tips his cards before he starts playing trump.
“But what really held me fast to the book was the enormous quality of the prose. (Giles has several years of newspaper writing and editing experience.) I read several paragraphs two or three times in appreciation of it. When a writer spends a full decade not only conducting hundreds of interviews but reflecting on what he’s writing, when the narrative offers genuine insight into the events, when the story is more than just a story to the author, it quite plainly shows.”
James also wrote: “You can read (or watch) Shawshank Redemption forty times and learn less of real prison life in the era than in a chapter of this book.”
Jerry’s Riot is for sale at booklocker.com and major online book retailers.