Neil Samworth

07 February 2019
304 pages


This Sunday Times bestseller is a shocking and at times darkly funny account of life as a prison officer in one of the country's most notorious jails.

Neil Samworth's Strangeways reveals the stark reality behind HMP Manchester's notorious prison walls with an astonishing blend of audacity, humour, and empathy. A seasoned prison officer, Samworth weaves a gripping tale of endurance, underscoring the finesse necessary to navigate a world awash with formidable criminals and the tragically misunderstood.

From tense face-offs with hardened gangsters and psychopaths to encounters with cell fires and rampant drug problems, Samworth opens a window into Britain's penal system. It's an intrepid journey that unearths the human stories behind the inmate numbers and uncovers the systemic cracks leading to escalating prison crises.

At its heart, Strangeways is Samworth's deeply personal narrative. He reveals his own mental battles while confronting the scars left by a grueling career on the frontlines of the prison system, and his ultimate struggle with PTSD. More than a memoir, this account is a testament to those braving one of society's harshest arenas, and a chilling expose of humanity's darker places.

Neil Samworth’s story is authentic, tough, horrifying in some places and hilarious in others. It captivates the reader because the author’s honesty and decency shine through as he tells it like it is on the daily roller coaster ride of prison life in Strangeways. An enthralling, exciting but disturbing book.
A fascinating insight into the workings of a prison and the effects that staffing cuts have had on those trying to maintain order . . . a frequently shocking read.