Marius Mason
Some Thoughts on Alexander Berkman’s Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist by an Imprisoned Anarchist

a review of

Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist by Alexander Berkman. Annotated and Introduction by Jessica Moran & Barry Pateman. AK Press, 2017, (Originally published: 1912), 550 pp. akpress.org

“Thick clouds of smoke over cast the sky, shrouding the morning with somber gray. The air is heavy with soot and cinders; the smell is nauseating. In the distance, giant furnaces vomit pillars of fire, the lurid flashes accentuating a line of frame structures, dilapidated and miserable...The sight fills me with hatred of the perverse social order that turns the needs of mankind into an Inferno of brutalizing toil (that) grinds flesh and blood into iron and steel, transmutes human lives into gold, gold, countless gold.”

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Marius Mason
Women Doing Time

a review of

Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time For Society’s Crimes by Ann Hansen. Between the Lines, 2018

When offered the chance to review Ann Hansen’s memoir about her time in the Canadian prison system, I was enthusiastic but doubtful that I would be permitted to receive such a book.

With my Communications Management status and participation in the Rehabilitation Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) while imprisoned at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Texas, it seemed unlikely that this courageous and intensely honest account of real life in all manner of jails, holding facilities, and prisons would be allowed in.

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Marius Mason
How Not To Defeat Ourselves

a review of

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation by adrienne maree brown. AK Press 2021

Holding Change is the kind of wise resource book I wish so very badly that I had when I was free and organizing. Way too often, I witnessed the depressing cycle of a hopeful and energetic coming together of a grassroots group break down into sad, burned-out individual activists.

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Marius Mason
How a Forest Really Grows

a review of

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. Alfred A. Knopf, 2021

I was hanging out in the dayroom of the Federal Correctional Institution at Danbury, Conn. late last year. It was noisy with the sound of the guys playing cards and Scrabble, when a friend brought a book with an intriguing cover to the table. It was Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree, and it jolted me back to another place and time in my life, when so much of my world was about saving the trees from destruction. Her book is full of the wisdom gleaned from decades of careful and loving observation.

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