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Prisons and Prisoners

Constance Lytton

Book Overview: 

Constance Lytton worked along Emmeline Pankhurst for the cause of women's suffrage in England. Upset that she was getting preferential treatment by the authorities, she assumed a pseudonym (Jane Wharton) so that her titled status wouldn't be obvious. This book chronicles her involvement in the suffrage movement, including her arrest and subsequent incarceration at Holloway Prison, a place notorious for the poor treatment of the women in their charge.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .My two stranger friends in the crowd, however, not being marked by badges were always returning to my help. The occasion most literally turned out to be one for “deeds, not words.” Being doubled up for want of breath, I could scarcely see where I was going, but my instinct led me to avoid the police in every way that I could. They were placed about in twos and threes in no apparent special formation, but now and then one came to a whole line of them, standing shoulder to shoulder. I was during most of the time physically incapable of speech. I only twice was able to express myself in words, on both occasions when I was lifted off my feet and relieved of the toil of dragging my own body. First when the crowd wedged me up against a policeman, I said to him: “I know you are only doing your duty and I am doing mine.” His only answer was to seize me with both his hands round the ribs, squeeze the remaining[46] breath out of my body and, lifting me . . . Read More

Community Reviews

3.5 stars - It was really interesting to hear her first-hand accounts of imprisonment and activism within the women's suffrage movement. However, most of it was pretty slow and hard to get through.