Last Train to Alcatraz by Leon (Whitey) Thompson was a book about a man s struggle to change his whole life and basically turn right side up. Leon started out as a poor kid living in a small city. The only way he could survive was to steal food from stores. As he grew up this stealing attitude kind of grew on him as he started out robbing candy stores and stealing the money. As he got older though he started moving into bigger things like banks. After he robbed many banks all over the United States, he got caught.
He was convicted of all his bank robbers and was sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years. He started out at minimum-security prison in Washington State, but he acted up so much that he was sent to Alcatraz, a maximum-security prison in San Francisco, California. There he learned how to be a better guy and to treat people the way they need to be treated. After he served his time in prison he was let back out into the real world. There he had to face many more problems. The world was different and he did not know how to live in it.
He got a job and lived in San Francisco for many more years. Now he still lives in San Francisco with his wife, and now he volunteers at local schools and tells younger kids not to take the path that he took when he was young. Leon (Whitey) Thompson had to face many conflicts while he was growing up and while he was a grown man. First he had to deal with his poverty-struck family and how he could survive. The only way he figured to do that was just to steal food and things from local stores. When he did grow up, the only thing he knew how to do was steal, so it was just destined that Leon would become a bank robber.
When Leon got caught and was thrown into jail, he had no idea how to act, so he just acted like his normal self, mean and ruthless. His horrible attitude landed him a new home in the worst prison ever known to man, Alcatraz. What really changed Whitey was the trai ride over to Alcatraz. He described it as the worst trip he had ever taken. He was beaten by the guards and fed minimal amounts of food. This is where Whitey decided that his attitude of mean and ruthless did not work for him, so his needed to change, and that is what he did.
Leon and changed and lived the rest of he sentence out in Alcatraz and was released. Then he had to deal with the conflict of the real world. At first he wanted to do back to prison, so he came up with a plan to just rob another bank and then he would be sent back to Alcatraz, but he knew that he did not want to go back there. So he took a different route for the first time in his life.
He got a job and married and actually is doing something good in the world today. The main theme in this book was basically that people could change their whole life around like Leon ended up doing. The only reason Leon wrote this autobiography on himself was to show people, especially kids, that it is never too late to turn your whole life around. It took him 20 years, but it should not take kids that long. He basically wanted to reach kids before bad ideas got into their heads. That is why I liked this book so much.
I visited Alcatraz and actually meet Leon Thompson, and the book just interested me on how he changed his whole life around. If all the prisoners and ex-convicts could do what Leon has done, there would be hardly any crime out in the United States today.