Over the weekend, I picked up a new memoir by Bernie Kerik, the disgraced former corrections and police commissioner of New York City, who is now trying to reinvent himself as a prison reform advocate. There’s no way to explain how awful the new Kerik book is without first comparing it to its opposite cousin in the annals of cop-turned-inmate autobiographies: Will, the amazing rise-and-fall-and-rise memoir of crypto-fascist Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy. When I was in my early teens, some mischievous adult gave me Liddy’s book, and it changed my life. I couldn’t stand Liddy’s politics – not many sane people can – but his life story was powerfully written, weirdly touching, inspirational. And the ending featured the kind of fantastical plot twist that only real life can provide. Liddy, a lifelong law enforcement goon, spent his whole early adulthood crafting a tough guy persona to match his loony rightist-paranoia ethos, only to be tossed in post-middle age in federal prison, where all his paranoid fantasies suddenly become reality. And he loved it there. If you believe the book, Liddy flourished as an inmate, finding himself as a person and hilariously leading prison revolts, executing Watergate-style break-ins into prison… Read full this story
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