Games Prisoners Play: The Tragicomic Worlds of Polish Prison

Marek M. Kaminski, Author Princeton University Press $46 (215p) ISBN 978-0-691-11721-8
Strict social hierarchy, intricate hidden tests and an elaborate verbal code are the stuff of everyday life for prisoners in the Polish prison that Kaminski profiles. Arrested as a political prisoner while studying at Warsaw University, Kaminski spent his time in prison secretly researching and cataloguing the prison culture. The result is an eloquent and powerful account of the quick strategizing and decision-making required for prisoners just to get by, as Kaminski maps out situations both personal and theoretical using game theory. Kaminski probes prison life as he eloquently narrates the minute and often surprising details: from the initial screening test for""fag-making"" to the rules about when to fart and how to do so. The text shocks, rivets, horrifies and intrigues, so that even when venturing into detailed game theory, the non-mathematically inclined won't be put off. Although his research is limited to his own personal prison experience, Kaminiski fascinates the reader, as he draws universal analysis from anecdote.
Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-691-14932-5
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