Strangeways: A Prison Officer’s Story by Neil Samworth

Strangeways: A Prison Officer’s Story by Neil Samworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I do love a bit of gritty British crime nonfiction and Strangeways by Mr Samworth ticked all the boxes.

His biography from a Prison Officer’s POV is as hard hitting and emotional as it is compelling, sickening and comical. Neil (Sam) calls a spade a spade. He’s a big, bold, brave Yorkshireman, who shares his life experiences and how it lead to working at the notorious Strangeways prison.

This book is brutally honest, at times I had to stop reading and properly digest certain aspects. This is no job for some namby pamby featherweight do-gooder. And neither is this book. It’s hardcore stuff this. To just about get through the harrowing shifts you need presence. You need big fists and a big attitude to match. But most of all, you need empathy and patience. And Neil has shed loads.

If you like your books eloquently written I suggest you try something else (like The Prison Doctor). Neil Samworths style felt like I was listening to him over a pint or ten at the local boozer. (I love that my phone suggests his name is actually Neil Samwise, because Sam, is indeed, just that!!).

Things I’ve learnt:

• what the word ‘mither’ means.
• never underestimate the lengths desperate people go to.
• being called ‘love’ by a Yorkshireman is standard practice.
• it really is ok to have a dark laugh, guilt free, when the going gets tough.
• it’s cool naming book chapters after popular songs of my era Neil. Cheers matey!!

Strangeways : A Prison Officers Story is a book I’d highly recommend. But it’s not for you soft lads, so move along the hall….



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