Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!: A Brief History of the Prisoners' Digest International ( Voices from the Underground )

Regular price $ 39.95

by Joseph W. Grant, Edited by Ken Wachsberger

Michigan State University Press

8/1/2012, paperback

SKU: 9781611860610


The final book in the groundbreaking Voices from the Underground series, Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!, is the inspiring, frenetic, funny, sad, always-cash-starved story of Joe Grant, founder and publisher of Prisoners' Digest International, the most important prisoners' rights underground newspaper of the Vietnam era. From Grant's military days in pre-Revolutionary Cuba during the Korean War, to his time as publisher of a pro-union newspaper in Cedar Rapids and his eventual imprisonment in Leavenworth, Kansas, Grant's personal history is a testament to the power of courage under duress. One of the more notorious federal penitentiaries in the nation, Leavenworth inspired Grant to found PDI in an effort to bring hope to prisoners and their families nationwide.


"It would be sheer understatement for me to praise Joe Grant's prison bio as 'groundbreaking, ' 'moving, ' or 'eye-opening.' It is all these things, but certainly much more. . . . This is journalism, of a kind that never made it into the curriculum of J-School. This ain't your grandmama's New York Times. This is the real stuff. Grant gives us all a bird's-eye view of how prisons ran during the '60s and '70s, and gives us a glimpse of what might have been, before the prison reform movement fell into the black hole of the corrections industry, and the culture of mass fear emerged."--Mumia Abu-Jamal, award-winning journalist and former Black Panther Party member, written while living on death row in Pennsylvania prison

Starting in the late 1960s prisoners and ex-prisoners began to publish their own magazines and have their own voice, unmuzzled by the state, where they could talk about their dreams, their aspirations, and the brutal cesspools of criminality known as the American gulag. Prisoners' Digest International was . . . one of the first independent prison publications to give voice to current and former prisoners. Unlike the government-run prison publications, PDI and the free prison press were not the warden's press office and could, and did, tell it like it was. . . . PDI did not have a long life in terms of longevity or issues published. But it had a profound impact. --Paul Wright, editor and co-founder of Prison Legal News

About the Contributors:

Joseph W. Grant was the founder and publisher of Prisoners' Digest International.

Ken Wachsberger is a long-time writer, editor, and author, as well as an early member, a book contract adviser, and a former national officer in the National Writers Union.