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Neil White serves a year in a minimum security prison for a white-collar crime. This prison not only houses others like him, but is also the home for those inflicted with Hansen Disease, commonly known as leprosy. He leaves behind a wife and two young kids who are at first told that Daddy went to camp. White in his everyday interaction with inmates of both kind, comes to understand the worth of a person is not in material gain, but in being secure in one’s self. Probably the largest influence on his life is Ella who has lost both her legs to this disfiguring and crippling disease. She has lived nearly her whole life of 80 years in the institution and yet is not defined in her own mind by the disease. As White comes to know her, he realizes he is in the company of a very unique human being. What I liked the best about White is that he is a very amazing and loving father.I did like the story, however, I would at times search myself losing interest and so skimmed some of it. I’d love to read a story about nice Boeve, author of Crossed Trails
This book was a amazing read and very well written. I gained knowledge of Hansen's Disease(Leprosy). When I attended college I was taught that Leprosy was not contagious(1966). The stories were heartbreaking of the colony located at this prison. Yet, the residents were able to create a comfortable life in it's confines. The book was written by a prisoner who just happened to be sentenced to the same facility. His ability to learn and admit his past mistakes from befriending the residents was fulfilling to me. I would recommend this well written and simple to read story.
I was fascinated by Carville and it's history as a child. I read books about it and knew quite a bit of its history. This was in the 50s when it was still an active hospital. So finding this book was like revisiting a childhood place. To once again search Carville, this time through the eyes of a prisoner,was interesting and quite moving. Neil White has written about all the residents of a special place. His own coming of age in prison is a effect of his incarceration and I search myself admiring and liking him very much. The trip to the sanctuary of outcasts was worth a book in itself. But how much it is enriched by the addition of the environment of courage that Carville fosters in him.
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts follows the story of Neil White, the author, as he retells his experience while in prison for one year. Neil was a wealthy magazine publisher with a attractive wife, two kids, and everything in life that he thought he needed. Imprisoned for kiting checks for his business, Neil has to face the harsh reality of living in confinement among not only other convicts, but also with the greatest of the outcasts: lepers. Neil keeps to himself while in the prison at first because of his fear of his fresh neighbors, but as time passes, he forms relationships with lepers and convicts alike that he would have never dreamed of. His relationships with the people in the prison change Neil, his overall outlook on life, as well as the other prisoners and lepers alike. This book exemplifies what it means to be part of a community in Catholic Social Teaching, whether in prison or in ordinary life. In the beginning Neil does everything the opposite of being in a community- not acknowledging people, judging people on their appearances, and other flaws shown by Neil. As Neil starts to talk with patients and prisoners and actually befriends them, he learns that they really aren’t that various from himself. He starts to change small by small in his view of the people who once seemed so various from himself, and he realizes that appearances don’t change a person, but it’s their attitude that create people who they are. When he accepts others’ differences, Neil accepts his own differences and starts to live life and treat other people the method people should do in a community, as described in the Catholic Social Teaching.I would absolutely recommend this book for everyone to read because of its amazing notice of loving your neighbor and becoming an active part of your community to better yourself and those around you.
This was a thought-provoking book and also simple and pleasurable to read. The writer is sent to prison for check fraud. While there he meets an interesting cast of characters, including both inmates and patients (the prison shares zone with a collection of Hansen's Disease patients). All are portrayed with warmth and humor but never in a patronizing manner. Over time, the author gains perspective on the superficial life he led outside and how his need to please others and appear excellent led to his downfall and disgrace. This realization contrasts with the leprosy patients, most of whom have always been "imperfect" and have never had to worry about putting on a present for others or keeping up with the Joneses. White learns a lot of lessons and comes out a better man.
I loved this book. I have always been curious about Carville and the author did give a amazing bit of history of the place. It was, however, mostly about Neil White himself and his journey of self-discovery - a subject I also enjoy. As a reader, we are able to follow his journey and see his transformation and the understanding he gains of himself and what is necessary to him through his depiction of his life and interaction with those who have Henson's disease and who live where inmates are also incarcerated. I was fascinated and touched by the stories he told of people who had been brought to Carville a lot of years ago.
Neil gives us a intimate view of his incarceration that info his loss, his reflection, recovery and renewal. Along the method the author learns about himself as he meets the inmates and patients of the Federal Medical Center in Carville, La. There is humor, pathos and honesty in Neil's story. I especially appreciated the author's candid self assessment realizing that he hadn't changed and that life would be an ongoing struggle given his personality. I also appreciated the window that Neil gives us into the disease of leprosy, a disease often feared and less understood. Highly recommended.
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In remembrance of my mom's passing in 2011, I began this year by rereading "Little Women," a book that I originally read when I was about 10 years old (more than a few years ago). The book was a favorite of my mother's when she was little. I became interested in learning more about Louisa and ran across John Matteson's book at Amazon. I wasn't sure I would have fun it, but wanted to learn more, so I began what turned out to be a most pleasurable journey. I learned so much about Louisa that I feel as though she has become a friend. John Matteson's book is well written and filled with interesting and meaningful information. I see that he has written an annotated ver of "Little Women," so I'll be planning yet another reading of this story. I also see that he has written a book about Margaret Fuller; I'm ordering that today as well. While I wait for those books to arrive, I'll be busy reading everything else I can search by Louisa May Alcott, and also reading Emerson's poetry and rereading Hawthorne and Thoreau. The list goes on. "Eden's Outcasts" was a very unique book.
Transcendentalist junkies will love this book! The author, John Matteson, obviously pored over thousands of pages to cull and organize material about the rich, complex minds and lives of Bronson and Louisa May Alcott (to whom I am distantly related) in a clear, readable and thoughtful way. His insights are keen, and the wise conclusions he draws about the Alcotts are presented with a cautious delicacy, which I especially appreciate since, in so a lot of biographies, the writer imposes burdensome and sometimes arrogant interpretations of his/her topics onto readers.I am in awe of Matteson's writing. As I read "Eden's Outcasts," there were a number of times when I would linger on a sentence and reread it just for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the delicious method the author puts his words together. Matteson's mastery of language is exquisite!This book, like its subjects, has depth. Someone who is not enthusiastic about the Alcotts or who is looking for a Hollywood type of story with lots of action and soundbites probably should not read "Eden's Outcasts." As for me, I hated to come to the end of the book. My only consolation is how much I am looking forward to John Matteson's biography of Margaret Fuller.
This has everything you need to know about the Alcotts. Anything more would be superfluous e real characters themselves are overwhelming and draining, and unfathomable--as much of a taxation to know as anyone you might encounter. The author is thorough in place, time, and backgrounds. Awesome and distressing story.
The author manages to do justice to both his subjects, Louisa May Alcott and her father. He also creates an perfect picture of the time and explains the transcendtalist movement. Besides L.M. Alcott and B. Alcott one learns a lot about Emerson, Thoreau, Elizabeth Peabody and other luminaries of the time. The book is fact driven, there are often long quotations from original material and it is very well written. A most enlightening book, bringing its topics and their surroundings to life. I originally bought this book becasue of my interst in L.M. Alcott but by the end I found her father at least as interesting.I read this book like a thriller, finishing it in three days.
The book came on time and its condition was like new. I was dumfounded to learn that Louisa had the run of Emerson's private library and was also a amazing mate of Thoreau as was her father who was somewhat strange. He didn't believe in working for wages but he would allow others pay his debts who had worked for wages. The book attempts to unwind the meshing of the entire family. The writing had to be rather complicated to do this, I thought, but the knowledge I received from the book was fascinating.
This book taught me a lot about Transcendentalism and all the myriad connections among authors whom I might otherwise not have considered as part of a community. The narrative flows smoothly between Bronson Alcott and his more popular daughter, Louisa. Both support to illuminate the other. In the end one gets a very thorough portrait of a distinct time in Fresh England history. I especially learned a lot about Louisa's role as a nurse in the Civil Battle and now intend to read her "Hospital Sketches."I can and do recommend this book.