I am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang! (Paperback)
This classic book tells the harrowing and inspirational story of Robert Elliott Burns' imprisonment on a chain gang in Georgia in the 1920s, his subsequent escape from the chain gang (twice, no less ), and the public furor that developed across the nation. The book was immediately turned into a famous movie and sparked outrage about prison conditions and involuntary servitude that led to major reforms. This memoir is also simply a very interesting read.
Originally issued in 1931 as a six-part serial in the pages of True Detective Mysteries magazine, and printed by the Vanguard Press the following year, this is an autobiographical account - written while in hiding, probably somewhere on the East Coast - of the author's painful adventures in the Georgia penal system, beginning with his arrest for stealing $5.80 from an Atlanta grocer in 1922. Burns' candid intent was to expose the brutality and corruption of the chain gang system, and he succeeded: the book created an instant furor upon publication and became a bestseller for its publisher. It served as the basis for the Mervyn LeRoy film released later in 1932, starring Paul Muni in the role of Robert Elliott Burns. The film heralded a new genre - the prison drama - and won three Oscars including a Best Actor Award for Muni. The book is an enduring classic of its time and remains a compelling and timeless memoir.
Published by the progressive Vanguard Press in 1932, while the author was still a fugitive from Georgia justice, the book is finally available in a modern print edition (as well as an accompanying ebook version), featuring the original cover from the first edition. Part of the Journeys & Memoirs Series from Quid Pro Books.
About the Author
Robert Elliott Burns (1892-1955) was a former inmate in the Georgia prison system who escaped and wrote about the abusive treatment in that system. He was a veteran of World War I before his incarceration, suffering from shell shock (PTSD) as many of that "lost generation" had. After his escape from the Georgia road-gang, Burns founded and edited a successful magazine in Chicago.