Book review: ‘Unity of the Forgotten’ by A.I. Marchron

‘Unity of the Forgotten’ was conceived, researched, authored, edited, illustrated, and published by a multiracial collaboration of actively detained Inmates. Photo: Amazon

‘Unity of the Forgotten: An Inmate Discussion on Race and Politics During a Pandemic’ is the first and only book in the 21st century to be conceived, researched, authored, edited, illustrated, and published in its entirety by a multiracial collaboration of actively detained Inmates, without any professional assistance. If you are interested in a discussion that is real, and that has the ability to make a true difference, then this pulse-pounding edge of your seat experience is a must read for you. (A.I. Marchron, 2023)

Read about the remarkably genuine, first-hand account from Inmates of Black, White, and Latino heritage, how they unified to survive difficult circumstances, and their unfiltered message about what it takes to endure while being imprisoned during a pandemic. Learn about the round table gathering where Inmates gifted each other the unusual privilege of tolerance, as they discussed racially sensitive issues such as inequality, immigration and the border, slurs, physical abuse, and gun control. This fascinating book resides in a category of its own. See book trailer for more information. 

‘Unity of the Forgotten’ – In the Prologue, A.I. Marchron, who has been designated the narrator, writes that the purpose of the book is to “help humanity to see us, and the conscientious side of our community, as what we are, people; people that have fallen, and that are trying to get back up.” The characters are real but their names have been changed to protect their identities because they are still detained. The original idea began with one person, then two, and ended up with sixteen inmates of different backgrounds, ages, economic status, and belief systems to achieve what most people would consider unfathomable: to write and publish a book while behind bars. The book is divided into four main sections: Black, White, Latino, and Unity and each has several subsections. Each of the first three sections (Black, White, Latino) has a specific ethnic historical background, and an interview with a member of this specific ethnic group which includes their personal story and point of view on current issues like politics, race, immigration, and gun control. The Unity section has a part where correction officers, one Baby Boomer, one Generation X, and one Millennial, give their thoughts on these same issues. In the Epilogue the discussion turns to environmental matters and their proposed solutions. The References section cites all sources used. 

As the narrator states, people who are in jail are often forgotten once they step into a correctional facility. While it is a sad but true statement, this does not mean that they cease to have a voice. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968, once said: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” In this case, a group of inmates went a step further and created their own table. They banded together to write and publish a book where they voice their opinions and concerns, and propose solutions to society’s ills. Narrated by A.I. Marchron, the language is easy to understand and the tone varies from formal to informal and is sprinkled with humor as comic relief “Napoleon was stripped of his title (and probably that nice hat from the pictures)…” The depth of the historical discussions is outstanding, given that he covers US history from the early settler days to the industrial revolution and politics, along with slavery, Europe, both World Wars, Mexico, South and Central America, and other interesting topics. Now more than ever we need a history lesson or two. One highlight is Part III Latino, section 11, Life In Left Latitudes, where he discusses Pre-Columbian history. The other is their proposed solutions to current issues like the climate crisis, immigration reform, police reform, and reparations for blacks, all of which include detailed plans of action. With the perfect balance of inmate profiles, history, and humor, ‘Unity of the Forgotten’ is an excellent insight into the inmate psyche. This fast paced, must read book is recommended for readers interested in memoirs from the perspective of an incarcerated person as well as history buffs who would appreciate a refresher course. 

“Our goal was to bring you where cameras can never come, and to show you a different side of possibility. We are proud of our final product; it tells our story, and provided a rare venue for us to express ourselves and thoughts to the world in an honorable manner; and most importantly, in our “own” way, with no media outlet to filter us.” – A.I. Marchron

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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