An AMERICAN RADICAL: Political Prisoner in My Own Country to be published March 1, 2011

It didn’t take me long to get to know Susan.  We could do the convict’s shorthand considering we both spent our most formative years in a cage, and we know that each word the other speaks has a book of wisdom buried within it.  I am eagerly awaiting my copy and will give a review, from an entirely different sort of prisoner who had different circumstances and motives that led us to the same place: prison.  Dostoevsky once said, “If you want to understand the humanity of a culture, go to its prisons.”  I have no doubt Susan Rosenberg will take you there and beyond.

— Bruce Reilly, Activist and author of NewJack’s Guide to the Big House.

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“Articulate and clear-eyed, Rosenberg’s memoir memorably records the struggles of a woman determined to be the agent of her own life.”
– Kirkus Review

“Rosenberg takes us on an astonishing journey–from a tiny underground revolutionary cell into the vast underground of the American penal system…an impassioned memoir.”
– Bell Gale Chevigny, editor of Doing Time

“Deeply moving, lyrically written…Everyone who cares about justice and our future will want to read and share this heartening book.”
– Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt

“Compelling…will rouse readers to forge ahead with their own commitments to genuine patriotism through opposition to oppression.”
– Don Hazen, Executive Editor,

“Gripping…a harrowing story that is painfully personal and an important part of American history.”
– Christian Parenti, author of Lockdown America


In 1982, long-time radical activist Susan Rosenberg was placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list with orders of “shoot to kill.” In 1984, she and Timothy Blunk were unloading a U-Haul filled with 740 pounds of explosives at a storage facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, when the FBI arrived. Rosenberg was sentenced to 58 years in federal prison and spent the next 16 horrific years in some of the worst maximum security woman’s prisons in the country.

Rosenberg served time in six different federal institutions and endured the first ten years in varying degrees of seclusion, including stints in the first experimental high security unit (HSU) for women and in the first maximum-security prison for women in the United States. At HSU she was regularly stripsearched, heavily chained, and subjected to intense psychological torture such as complete isolation, sleep deprivation, twenty-four hour lighting, and constant surveillance. Susan and others in conjunction with the ACLU prison project, and the support of Amnesty International fought and won the closing of this experiment. Rosenberg went on to other prisons, later working in general population as an HIV peer educator and teacher until she was granted executive clemency by President Bill Clinton, in January

Candid and eloquent, Susan Rosenberg’s powerful memoir is a profound indictment of the U.S. prison system, as she recounts her journey from the impassioned idealism of the 1960s to life as a political prisoner in her own country–and reflects America’s turbulent coming-of-age over the past half century.

Susan RosenbergSUSAN ROSENBERG has been a speaker, educator, and lecturer to those concerned with the issues of women in prison, political prisoners, prison reform, and social justice activism. Since 2004, Rosenberg, has served as the director of communications at a faith-based human-rights organization working to alleviate poverty, hunger, and disease in the developing world. Rosenberg received a BA in American history from the City University of New York and an MA in writing from Antioch University. She lives in New York City.

Please visit for more information.

About Bruce Reilly

Bruce Reilly is the Deputy Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender in New Orleans, LA. He is a graduate of Tulane Law School and author of NewJack's Guide to the Big House. Much of his writing can be found on
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