This book is an honest account of life in Leavenworth Prison, Kansas based on interviews with notorious inmates and numerous other individuals. The book begins with introducing inmates such as Carl Bowles, Dallas Scott and William Post and offers insight information on the cultural aspect inside the prison itself. Once the basics are known to the reader, the author Pete Earley, develops the character of the prisoners and thus of the penitentiary as a whole.
Earley also discusses some of the important figures and official representatives of Leavenworth, including Warden Matthews, Eddie Geouge and Lieutenant Bill Slack to provide a different perspective of the prison. He explores prison dynamics between inmates, and between inmates and guards to discover the forces at work inside the Leavenworth walls. The stories of the guards are just as interesting as the stories of the inmates, but they paint a completely different image of the prison and the people inside it.
Earley digs into the past of these incarcerated men in order to not only inform the reader, but to humanize the individuals. Yes, these prisoners have committed horrific crimes and acts of violence, but they are also people who come from somewhere; everyone has a story.
There are also subplots within the book focusing on certain groups in Leavenworth, primarily the Cubans. They come up again and again throughout the course of the novel. The subplot includes how the prisoners were transferred to Leavenworth, their riots and the interactions of the guards with the Cubans versus interactions with other American inmates. Most important parts of the book:
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Hot House was the relationship between Carl Bowles and Thomas Little. Both are inmates, however, Bowles is a career criminal and Little comes off as a guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bowles is identified as a sexual predator by the Federal Bureau...