The Odd Collection of Books in the Guantanamo Prison Library

gitmo booksYou don’t hear much about Guantanamo these days, unless you keep an eye on the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie Savage. Last week, Savage reported on a hunger strike involving 93 prisoners that’s now in its third month. Ostensibly the protest is in response to prison guards handling the Koran in disrespectful ways. But the real cause comes down to this: “a growing sense among many prisoners, some of whom have been held without trial for more than 11 years, that they will never go home.”

As part of Savage’s reporting on Gitmo, he has also created a photo blog that gives us insight into the prison library and its odd collection of books. The library offers prisoners access to Captain America comics (that must go over well with enemy combatants); pulp romance books by Danielle Steele (another choice pick for Islamists); the complete Harry Potter series (I imagine the Prisoner of Azkaban volume hits home); some more serious works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Charles Dickens; an assortment of religious books; and the occasional self help book like The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.

According to news reports, the library currently has 3,500 volumes on pre-approved topics. Prisoners have to order books in advance. (They can’t just wonder through the stacks.) And the most popular books include Agatha Christie mysteries, the self-help manual Don’t Be Sad; the The Lord of the Rings; and, of course, Harry Potter. 

We know that other prisons have given their residents access to our collections of Free Audio Books and Free eBooks. But I doubt that will be happening at Gitmo any time soon.

You can follow Savage’s photoblog here.

via @themillions



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by | Permalink | Comments (4) |

  • bob

    I have the “Anxiety and Phobia Work book” It’s pretty good.

  • Evelyn Hiller

    That these people have been imprisoned without trial for ELEVEN YEARS is a shameful and shocking violation of the Fifth Amendment which states in part that ‘No person shall be …deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’

  • Hanoch

    Is there really any wonder why we don’t hear much about Guantanamo since our current President took office (especially after he campaigned to close it)? I hope nobody is that naive.

  • Kegan Mahon

    Wander through the stacks*n

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