After my public tour of the island from Pier 39 and back, I read "Alcatraz - The True End of the Line" by former inmate Darwin E. Coon.  Coon was incarcerated at Alcatraz from 1959 to 1963, among the last prisoners to leave the island when the penitentiary closed in 1963.  My daughter and I were fortunate to meet Mr. Coon at one of his book signings.  Besides the riveting experience of visiting the prison, the book as well as "Alcatraz '46 - The Anatomy of a Classic Prison Tragedy" by Bernard Paul Coy, provided me an inside experience of the myth and legends of this notorious American prison.

 -Pygoya, August 2004



Alcatraz - The True End of the Line, Darwin Coon, New Desmas Press, Sacremento, CA, USA, 2002

Alcatraz '46 - The Anatomy of a Classic Prison Tragedy, Don DeNevi and Philip Bergen, Leswing Press, San Rafael, CA, USA, 1974

Movie: "Escape from the Rock," starring Clint Eastwood, 1979

Movie: "The Birdman of Alcatraz," starring Burt Lancaster, 1962

Bird Man of Alcaltraz web site


Alcatraz is sometimes likened to the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy. Both locations offered the condemned a view of a city just out of reach, too beautiful to believe. Alcatraz tours have been a favorite for out-of-town visitors for years though many, many San Franciscans confess they've never visited the former federal prison known as The Rock. That's too bad because the ferry ride over is relaxing, the audio tour recorded by former guards and inmates is extremely interesting, and views from the wind-swept island are indeed stunning. In addition, the self guided walking tour, which is sometimes said to be strenuous, is actually not. Tickets to Alcatraz are often sold out several days in advance during high season. -