List of memoirs of political prisoners

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A memoir is an autobiographical writing normally dealing with a particular subject from the author's life. The following is a list of writers who have described their experiences of being political prisoners. Those included in the list are individuals who were imprisoned for activities ranging from peaceful dissent to violent revolutionary activity. Some were citizens of the countries whose regimes imprisoned them and others were foreign nationals. What connects them is that they have written about their experience of having been imprisoned because of their political opposition or political identity.

Note, too, that the list omits many autobiographies which deal, only in part, with a period of political imprisonment; and includes some in which imprisonment forms a major part of the book.

  • Francois Bizot, author of The Gate. 2003. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-375-41293-X (themes: criticism of the ignorance of Western decision-makers and intellectuals about Cambodia, complex character of Khmer Rouge leader Duch, bravery and betrayal)
  • Brendan Behan, author of Borstal Boy. 2000 (originally 1958). David R. Godine. (theme: resistance to British imperialism) Note that Borstal Boy is one of comparatively few memoirs written by a juvenile political prisoner.
  • Stuart Christie, author of Granny Made Me An Anarchist: General Franco, The Angry Brigade and Me. 2004. London: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-5918-1 (theme: denunciations of sectarian hatred in Scotland and of statist authoritarianism, including British imperialism, American imperialism, Francoism, Stalinism and Trotskyism)
  • Lena Constante. 1995. The Silent Escape: Three Thousand Days in Romanian Prisons. Trans: Franklin Philip. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08209-5 }(theme: denunciation of Ceaucescu's National Communism)
  • Clare Hanrahan. 2005. Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir. 2005. Asheville: Celtic WordCraft. ISBN 0-9758846-1-1 (theme: Chronicles the peaceful protest actions resulting in author's imprisonment, and provides inside view of Alderson Federal Prison for Women.)
  • Murat Kunaz, author of Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo, 2008.
  • Jacobo Timmerman, author of Preso Sin Nombre, Celda Sin Numero/Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. 1985. Buenos Aires: El Cid. (themes: denunciations of Argentine rightist authoritarianism and anti-semitism)
  • Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. 2000. New York: Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093138-8 (themes: denunciations of Khmer Rouge brutality and racism)
  • Mordechai Vanunu, author of Letters from Solitary, a book of letters from Vanunu to Rev. David B. Smith of Sydney, Australia. Vanunu is a political activist who exposed Israel's possession of nuclear weapons, was kidnapped by Mossad, tried in secret, and sentenced to eighteen years in prison. Available as PDFs: Light version - Full version with reproductions of each letter.
  • Teo Soh Lung, author of Beyond the Blue Gate - Recollections of a Political Prisoner, a book on her imprisonment under the Internal Security Act in Singapore. 2011. Function 8 Limited. ISBN 978-981-08-8215-0 (pbk).