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Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!

A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International

Joseph W. Grant

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: Michigan State University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. xi-xii

Joseph W. Grant (or, the man formerly known as prisoner #84219, FCI Leavenworth) has completed a work of history, first-person, of the days when the imprisoned were known as “prisoners,” not “inmates.” Notably, the latter term rarely enters his narrative. He writes...

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Editor’s Preface

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pp. xiii-xix

If you believe in predestination, and there are definitely times when I do—although at other times I call it vibes, karma, luck, a major coincidence, going with the flow, and the Yiddish b’shert (It was meant to be)—I’m the guy about whom God said...

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pp. xxi-xxiv

The courage that the four-volume Voices from the Underground Series celebrates is ancient. That it details the times of our lives is happenstance. The writers included in this series fought the Vietnam-era war machine with an assault of words and...

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Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!: A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International

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pp. 1-200

Penal Digest International. The PDI. A newspaper with two purposes: to provide prisoners with a voice that prison authorities could not silence, and to establish lines of communication between prisoners and people in the free world. At one point the staff chose to change...

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Into the Future: Rambling Thoughts as I Bring This Story Up to Date

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pp. 201-211

It didn’t take long to learn about job openings. Bob Beecroft, with Mutual Radio in D.C., called me with a description of a job with an organization called Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) in Charlottesville, Virginia. They flew me to D.C. to meet the board of directors. They...

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pp. 213-215

The United States has had prison publications almost as long as it has had prisons. There are two types of prison publications: the “in-house” prison press, which is published and supported by the state while prisoners are the nominal writers and...

About the Authors

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pp. 217-218


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pp. 219-233

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173463
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860610

Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 811400637
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!

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Subject Headings

  • Grant, Joseph W.
  • Prisoners' digest international.
  • Prisoners -- United States -- Biography.
  • Prison periodicals -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Prison journalism -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Prisoners -- United States -- Periodicals -- History -- 20th century.
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