George Jackson wrote this book while he was locked up. He sent out these letters to people and then the next day tried to escape prison and was shot and killed in the process. He was in prison for allegedly stealing $70 from a gas station, facing 1 year to life. There, he also got another charge for maybe being involved in beating a CO to death. It was during his 11 years in prison (from age 18 to 29) that he read ferociously and learned about history, capitalism, and the Black Panthers. The letters in this book reflect his reading life.
I would have liked more about him and his day to day life, but one of my favorite things is when he brings up his younger brother, who recently died. Johnathan Jackson was shot and killed during an attempt to free incarcerated people in court. Seeing George Jackson celebrate him and quote him was really sweet. And Blood in My Eye amps you up about taking physical action like that. He doesn’t just want stuff to be better. He wants to bring America to its knees and to start living communally–now.
Best line: There have never been any spontaneous revolutions. There were all staged, manufactured, by people who went to the head of the masses and directed them. -George Jackson
Best line from his brother: I’m not carrying this extra weight around my belt for nothing. It has a 13-round clip, I keep one in the barrel, 14 shots. Save me a cell on murderer’s row there, I could have 14 murder charges any day now. -Johnathan Jackson
My bookstore: Ten Dollar Books