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An ex-con struggles to adjust to life outside prison walls

After eight years spent locked up, Max has gotten very good at being a prisoner. He knows the guards, the inmates, and how to survive. But the parole board has decided that he has sufficiently reformed, and it’s time for him to say goodbye. When Max reaches the outside world, he finds that freedom doesn’t make anything easier.

Based on his own experiences in prison, Edward Bunker first drafted No Beast So Fierce in the 1950s, while incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison. He spent the next two decades in and out of jail, writing essays for various magazines and working on the novel, which was finally published in 1973. Eighteen months later, the book was used as evidence that he was fit to leave jail. He received parole, and spent the rest of his life a free man.

ABOUT Edward Bunker

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Edward Bunker (1933–2005) spent many years in prison before he found success as a novelist. Born in Los Angeles, he accumulated enough terms in juvenile hall that he was finally jailed, becoming at seventeen the youngest-ever inmate at San Quentin State Prison. He began writing during that period, inspired by his fellow inmate, the famous death-row author Caryl Chessman. Bunker was still in jail when his first book, No Beast So Fierece, was published in 1973. 

    Paroled eighteen months later, Bunker gave up crime permanently and spent the rest of his life writing novels, many of which drew on his experiences in prison. He also appeared in films; his best-known role was Mr. Blue, one of the bank robbers in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.