In September 1971 the inmates of Attica prison revolted, took hostages, and forced the authorities into four days of desperate negotiation. At the outset the rebels demanded-and were granted-the presence of a group of observers to act as ufficial mediators. Tom Wicker, then the associate editor of The New York Times, was one of those summoned. In four crucial days, he learned more, saw more, and felt more than in most of the rest of his life. In the end, a police attack was launched, and as a result dozens of prisoners and employees were killed.
Tom Wicker, a former reporter, Washington bureau chief, and columnist for The New York Times, is the author of several books, including On the Record. He lives in Rochester, Vermont.