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In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir…
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In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir (P.S.)

by Neil White (Author)

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3523331,026 (3.73)18
  1. 10
    Moloka'i by Alan Brennert (JGoto)
    JGoto: This is a carefully researched and beautifully written fictional account set in the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
  2. 00
    The Island by Victoria Hislop (jewelryladypam)
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From Booklist
*Starred Review* White was a successful magazine publisher in 1993 when he was convicted of fraud and check kiting and sentenced to prison in Carville, Louisiana. He knew he was facing 18 months without his wife and two young children; he knew his enormous ego and ambition had landed him in prison; he knew he had to figure out a way to save his marriage and somehow rebound financially. What he didn’t know was that the isolated 100-year-old facility at Carville was home to a leper colony of 130 patients. He learned that the patients (some severely disfigured and disabled) and the 250 inmates eyed each other suspiciously across the corridors and breezeway, each thinking the other was the scourge of the earth. Because his work detail brought him into frequent contact with the patients, White developed strong relationships with them. His favorite was Ella, a dignified and beatific elderly black woman, who had lived at Carville for more than 50 years. Among the inmates, White encountered counterfeiters and tax evaders along with drug traffickers and carjackers. When the Bureau of Prisons decided to evict the leprosy patients, tensions built on both sides. White, near the end of his sentence and struggling to come to grips with the consequences of his crime, is caught in the middle. He offers a memoir of personal transformation and a thoroughly engaging look at the social, economic, racial, and other barriers that separate individuals that harden, dissolve, and reconfigure themselves when people are involuntarily thrust together over long periods. --Vanessa Bush ( )
  WayCriminalJustice | Apr 4, 2016 |
White does a terrific job of blending a story of his own time in federal prison with that of the other prisoners he gets to know but most importantly with the victims of leprosy who have called them same facility for years--some of them almost their entire lives. White, a journalist, writes in a conversational way and mixes in generous amounts of humor with stories that are both heartbreaking and uplifting. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
White does a terrific job of blending a story of his own time in federal prison with that of the other prisoners he gets to know but most importantly with the victims of leprosy who have called them same facility for years--some of them almost their entire lives. White, a journalist, writes in a conversational way and mixes in generous amounts of humor with stories that are both heartbreaking and uplifting. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have to admit now that I have read In the Sanctuary of Outcasts I can officially say I am bummed I didn't receive this as an Early Review back in 2009. This would have been one of my favorites. Not just one of my favorites, but one of my all-time favorites, for sure.

Confessional: I sometimes skip the author's note. I'll admit it - I'm impatient to get to the heart of the story. afterwards. In this case, for some reason I read every word of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts. I started with the copyright page and I think that's what convinced me to spend time with every word White wanted to utter.

Leprosarium. Never heard the word before. Who know there was a place on the Mississippi River called Carville, a place under one roof for Hansen's disease patients and prison inmates? Neil White certainly hadn't when he entered the community of Carville on May 3rd, 1993 as a convicted felon. He left behind a wife and two small children to serve eighteen months for check kiting. There is humor to White's arrival. His initial observations of Carville are as touching as they are naive. But, the longer he stays within the walls of Carville the more he understands the people around him. They leave a lasting impression and dare I say, change his life. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Mar 15, 2016 |
It was ok, but not quite what I expected or wanted it to be. It's a memoir of the author's one year prison stint at Carville. Carville is the United States leprosarium which, because of dwindeling patient numbers, is also used as a prison. The book is mainly about the author's change in attitude to life, whereas I would have liked to hear more about the stories of the patients. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
His tale of self-discovery is neither engrossing nor revelatory, but he offers a rare glimpse into this world of “secret people,” men and women with hands “shaped like mittens” and “discolored faces” who have lived for decades in exile... Upon sentencing White, the judge said, “Neil, I hope you can make something good come out of this.” His book, however flawed, accomplishes that.
 
The writing becomes somewhat cursory as the narrative progresses. And though this is a story of redemption, you can't tell quite how deep White's personal changes go. Still, this book offers an important glimpse into a dark and receding corner of our medical and penal history, as well as a fascinating personal story
 
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Epigraph
He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper. -- 2 Chronicles
Dedication
To little Neil and Maggie.
First words
Daddy is going to camp.
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Book description
The author reflects on the years he spent incarcerated for bank fraud in a Louisiana prison that also doubled as a colony for leprosy patients and discusses events in his personal and professional life before and after his sentence.
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White tells his emotional, incredible true story of crime and redemption, vanity and spirituality, as he discovers happiness and fulfillment in an unlikely place--imprisonment in The Long Center, the last leper colony in the U.S. Includes P.S. insights, interviews & more...… (more)

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