Cover image for Battle at Alcatraz : a desperate attempt to escape the Rock
Battle at Alcatraz : a desperate attempt to escape the Rock
Lageson, Ernest B., 1932-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Omaha, Neb. : Addicus Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 284 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV9474.A4 L34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



One of the bloddiest battles in the history of American prisons occurred at Alcatraz in May 1946, when prisoners staged a breakout, obtaining guns from the gun gallery and taking nine guards hostage. The escape attempt was the cumination of months of methodical planning. But, when a last-minute glitch foiled their escape, inmates shot the hostages in effort to leave no witnesses. Before order was restored, thousands of rounds were fired by federal prison personnel and a detachment of the U.S. Marines. Among the guards who survived the shooting was Ernie Lageson, Sr. the author's father. Now in Battle at Alcatrz, author Ernie Lageson Jr. passes on his father's story. Meticulously researched, this compelling story offers an insider's perspective on both the notorious riot and life inside the most infamous prison in America. Eight pages of photos.

Author Notes

Ernie B. Lageson is a retired attorney, nationally recognized for is his work in civil-jury and non jury cases.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

After months of planning, six inmates attempted to escape from the infamous Alcatraz prison in May 1946. Although their plan was thoroughly thought out, it failed because the key needed for escape from the cell block was missing. Instead, a battle ensued between the inmates and the prison authorities. The author is the son of one of the guards taken hostage that day. When the plan failed, the guards were shot so that there would be no witnesses. Miraculously, though, the hostages were only wounded and kept still, pretending to be dead. In the meantime, the inmates fought to the bitter end: three died in the battle, and the other three eventually stood trial. Lageson thoroughly researched this tragedy, giving the reader a real feeling of what happened that day. Although he does give the readers an update of the principal characters involved, he fails to follow up on the aftermath of the incident. Nevertheless, libraries with an interest in prison history will probably want this for their collections.ÄMichael Sawyer, Northwestern Regional Lib., Elkin, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.