ALAN POGUE systemic relief to the TDC prisoners,” according to the authors. The trial came to a close in September of 1979, after 161 trial days and 349 witnesses. More than a year later, Justice issued his famous opinion, finding the prisoli system to be unconstitutional. He ordered an end to overcrowding and to the “unlawfully maintained building tender system,” arid mandated an increase in civilian guards and better health care and access to the courts. For more than a year afterward, the authors say, Justice’s order was met with “outright defiance” and “utter contempt” by prison officials. W. J. Estelle said the opinion “read like a cheap dimestore novel.” And Attorney General Mark White’s office immediately filed with the Fifth Circuit to have Justice’s orders stayed. Next, White and the state prison board decided to hire outside lawyers to prepare the state’s appeal. For a while, Pike Powers, White’s close political buddy and the head of Fulbright and Jaworski’s Austin office, led the appeal effort. Over a three-year period the state racked up $2 million in fees to lawyers in this foredoomed effort. This went on while White was the attorney general, while White and Bill Clements faced each other in the 1982 governor’s race \(arguing about who would as governor. Estelle finally resigned in 1983, after 12 years as TDC director, and more and more information continued to seep out that damaged the state’s argument that the prisons did not need sweeping changes. Texas Prisons takes us up to the present, but what one remembers at the closing is Mark White still sniping at Judge Justice and complaining about “country club prisons,” not realizing apparently, even at the end, that he and the state of Texas had always been on the wrong side of history when it came to reforming a deeply troubled prison system. THERE ARE SOME peculiar things about this book. One cannot blame book publishers for packaging and marketing a book in an attractive way, but a strictly honest title would have been something like “Texas Prison Litigation: A Detailed Chronology.” For it never really takes us inside Texas prisons, it takes us inside the courtroom and into the legal documents. This is certainly a reflection of Martin’s hand in the project. \(Martin is the times the legalese becomes almost unbearable. You’ve got your consent orders and your protective orders, your claims and counterclaims, your per curiam decisions and your writs of cert. Try this passage for the flavor: ” . . . the Supreme Court granted Jalet’s petition for writ of certiorari. Judgement in the case was vacated, and the case remanded to the circuit for further consideration in light of Haines v. Kerner. On October 18, 1972, the circuit vacated the district court’s judgement and remanded William Bennett Turner represents TDC the case for an evidentiary hearing. . . .” It’s not all this bad, but it is sometimes enough that even the most dedicated of civil libertarians might question why the Consti tution gave lawyers the right to write books. Some attention has been paid in the press to Martin’s unusual role in the book. As is stated clearly in the introduction, Martin worked as a prison guard in Texas in 1972 and then returned to work as a lawyer for TDC in 1981. In his four years helping to defend the prison system, Martin of course had access to privileged information. His resolution of the attorney-client privilege problem was to rely “wherever possible” on publicly available information. “In those instances where information was deemed critical, but was privileged,” he writes, “we secured the information from sources other than myself.” That may be acceptable, but Martin’s role as a participant in the story makes for some odd twists in the writing. Toward the end of the telling, the boolc lapses into writing about the co-author in the third person. “Martin was a thirtytwo-year-old recent law school graduate . . .” we are told. And “Martin had seen firsthand the prominent Inmates role [building tenders] played in daily prison operations . . .” Of course the problem with a writer writing about himself in the third person is that it affects an objectivity that does not exist. A historian who played no role in the events surrounding TDC might have cast Martin in a different light, or he might not have put Martin in the story at all. The authors have not claimed Texas Prisons is a work of literature. It is indeed a definitive work on the procedural history of prison litigation in Texas. It is an accomplishment of thoroughness. But what a book there is yet to be written on Texas prisons! By bringing the people to life, on the inside and the outside, by giving the reader an idea of what being locked away in a Texas prison cell really feels like, by facing head-on the sheer human complexity of a system accommodating in a decent and dignified way people who have been inhumane and destructive, and by capturing the drama of the remarkable lawsuit that changed the face of the nation’s second largest prison system, then we would have a story that could be called “Texas Prisons.” It needs to be written.