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One has to admire Warren Fellow's for coming forwards and writing this book, it certainly cannot have been easy. He is quite clear that he does not seek sympathy or forgiveness through this book rather it should be taken as a warning or deterrent. That is not to say that the book doesn't grip you and make you sympathise with his demise and certainly that of his accomplice, Paul Hayward.
Graphic details of the appalling conditions in Bangkwang prison (Bangkok, Thailand), and the daily physical and mental torment faced provides a truly intriguing insight into his experience of a foreign prison life, which makes the extraordinary into normality. Resultantly, this eye-opening account is captivating throughout, making it almost impossible to put down. Whilst it is far from a piece of literary genius it does grip the reader from the outset with uncensored brutality and straight-talking realities of the author's situation.
The plight of Warren Fellows is a must read and I would implore anyone visiting the region to pick up a copy of this book, as I did whilst travelling. Equally, to anyone who is considering entering the drug trafficking world, this may (and should) change your mind.
Wow, what an amazing read. Heroin smuggler Warren Fellows graphically describes his horrific experiences in a Bangkok prison. Death, disease, corruption, cockroaches the size of your hand, rats the size of cats, the most appalling living conditions you can imagine. The prison guards in this book are some of the most wicked humans I have ever known of.
I don't want to go into to much detail as I don't want to spoil the story for everyone.
After a horrific prologue which gets you hooked the story starts off a bit slow for my taste. It tells of how Warren became a drug smuggler and there is also a bit of a love story in there as well. But once Warren gets arrested and sent to jail the book really starts to gain momentum. Warren Fellows witnesses and suffers the most evil torture you can imagine.
Smuggling heroin is a terrible, terrible crime but I really felt sorry for Warren Fellows. I found myself trying to finish the book as quickly as possible, I thought to myself ''the sooner I finish the book, the sooner Warrens hell will be over''
If you think that sounds crazy try reading the book.
If you've ever seen the excellent movie called Midnight Express you'll be half way to understanding how graphic and hard hitting this true story actually is. This book will actually make you feel sorry for a guy who does not pretend to deny his guilt and the fact that he was drug trafficking to make fast easy money. It really is why we have a thing called human rights even for criminals because don't matter how guilty a person is, no one deserved to suffer the way this person did. The book does not hold back and is both shocking and disturbing and gives you a real insight into the poor conditions of a third world prison. If you read this before visiting Thailand I guarantee you won't do anything illegal because you would not want to spend a day in one of their jails. This is one of those books that will make you read sections out to your friends because it is horrific you just can't believe it actually happened.
The Damage Done is the real life story of a young Australian guy called Warren Fellows who gets convicted of heroin trafficking between Thailand and Australia in 1978 at the age of 25 and goes on to spend the next 12 years of his life in the most horrendous of Bangkok prisons.
The story is written and told by Warren Fellows himself who from the very beginning makes no excuses for his actions which led him to his conviction and makes very clear from the start that he is not writing the book out of self-pity and seeking sympathy. He knew that what he had done was wrong and regretted it but he just wanted to tell his story, explaining in full details the horrifying ordeal of life in a Thai prison with the hope that anyone even considering doing what he did will think twice before doing it!
I was recommended the book at was told it was about some guy who gets arrested with drugs on him going back to Thailand from Australia so before reading the book I assumed it was about an innocent guy who ended up in prison after having drugs planted on him. I didn't properly read the description on the back of the book either before starting it so I was slightly surprised when I started it to learn that Warren Fellows had fallen into this life of drug trafficking and kind of thought at the start that if that's what he got himself into then it serves him right! It also made me question why am I bothering to read this? Why should I really care what happened to some drug trafficker who was lured into it for the money and was unlucky enough to get caught and why am I through buying this book also now helping this one time drug trafficker become wealthy again?! (even though it wasn't actually me who bought the book!)
I read on anyway as I was interested to find out what happened and to see if my original opinion was justified or to see if it would be changed by the end. Once I started reading I could hardly put it down and finished the book within two days. It is only 210 pages long and broken into 14 chapters all of which are broken into short segments which make it very quick to read. There is a prologue which sets out a pretty disturbing scene from when he is in prison later on in the story which gives an idea of just how graphically descriptive, shocking and disturbing the rest of the book is going to be.
The story is pretty much self explanatory but I don't want to give too many details away. It starts with an explanation of how Warren fell into the lifestyle that he ended up in by the age of 25 and the people he met which led him down that road. Some of these people he can hardly bring himself to talk about anymore. The bulk of the book describes in harrowing detail his twelve years in several Bangkok prisons. It was once the book reached the prison stage that I began to have a bit more compassion for Warren Fellows. Some of the scenes he describes are horrendous and unimaginable. He does a very good job of describing these events and experiences on paper - the physcial and mental torture, the cramped, filthy conditions, the cockroaches, rats etc and the slow passing of time. No matter how he describes all of this though he says himself that it is hard for anyone else to imagine. Even trying to get across the passage of time to the reader he says is difficult. He refers in the book to one incident in particular and says to the reader that the only way they would be able to identify with the amount of time he had to endure a certain situation would be to go back and read the previous paragraph which had only taken about a minute to read over an over again for every minute of every day for a whole month without going mad.
I think this book is good as it is definitely a real eye opener and actually shocked me a lot more than I thought it would. I don't have sympathy for drug traffickers/dealers but I do believe that he certainly paid for what he did and he ruined his life for ever. It's quite a sad book in a way as he really did ruin his whole life over being stupidly lured by the money drug trafficking brought him. He spent the best part of his life in one of the most horrendous prisons and the conditions and things he experienced are things that he is likely to never be able to get over or forget as long as he lives and his life will never be the same again. If anything good came out of it at least I suppose by writing his book he has the chance to put other naive young people off making similar mistakes!
Definitely worth reading - though maybe not on holiday in Thailand!!
I want to thank Warren Fellow for his story, i read his, and many other books with peoble who has been in Bang Kwan. I have been on holiday many times in Bangkok, and the last time i was there i went to see Bang Kwan. I am going back soon to visit a man who is half danish and half vietnames, he is serving a sentence of 30 years for drugs. i got in contact with him through the embasy of Denmark in Bangkok. I am totaly against drugs, but i still think that peoble should not be treated worse than animals when there in prison. i used to do drugs when i was young, you know dum and naive, but lucky that i never startet dealing it. if i were, maybe my story would have turned out the wrong way as Warrens did. i think i visit peoble there because it could have been me, who would have taking the wrong turn in a young age, but i think the love of my family always was there in the back of my head, so i never took the last step to the dealing world, lucky fore me. i have been out of drugs now fore 6 years, and it has been a long way for me back to normal again. i just want to do something fore other peoble who are not as lucky as me, and this book and many others learned me that no matter what you do in the drug world you only do it because your naive no matter your age. all you peoble who read these nightmares story,s. if you go to Bangkok, then swing by the Bang Kwan or Chonburi prison for 5 minutes of you holiday and see how these peoble suffer, there are no human rights there sad to say. and remember that you are lucky that its not you who are born with that body and mind as them.
Once again thank you Warren fore a book that will make many young peoble stop dealing and doing drugs, they will learn of your story..
The Damage Done certainly isn't the type of book I would have usually read, however I fancied a change and after reading a few reviews I was intrigued.
This book is written by Warren Fellows who was caught drug trafficking, and was sent to Bang Kwang which was at the time, the worst prison in the world.
At the start of reading this book, I just kept thinking, 'well, you shouldn't have smuggled heroin then." However Fellows does not ask for people's forgiveness for what he did, he admits he was wrong, but just wants to tell his story from his life in this awful prison.
As his story goes on you realise no one should have to go through what this guy did, and you actually start to feel sorry for him. The torture and pain that he (and other prisoners!) experiences as the book unfolds is horrific. I just can't imagine anyone having to go through that. He says so himself that he is lucky to come out alive, I'm really surprised he has. It's just sickening.
From confinement rooms to mutiny... this book is certainly not for the light heartened. Despite this, I was glued and I read this book in a couple of days, despite it making me a bit queasy in places! It's not a very long book either, and it could have been much longer, but I suppose it's quite hard for Fellows to write about these obviously painful memories.
For fans of Prison Break I think you'll quite enjoy this book!
If you like this I would also recommend the recent Zone 22 by Tig Hague.
I've just returned from my holiday in Rhodes, which by the way was lovely and hot, and I had taken this book with me to read. It was my first time flying, and my first time abroad, so I had no idea what to expect from the flight, and with it being 4 hours long, this book kept me company for the whole flight and ended up only having one chapter left after 4 hours!
This story is written by Australian Warren Fellows who was caught drug trafficking between Thailand and Australia in 1978. He has decided to write this book to put into words his time in (at the time) the worst prison in the world, Bang Kwang, also known as the Bangkok Hilton. He was sentenced to life.
I must stress, and so does Warren, that this book is not his plea for sympathy or forgiveness for the crime he commited, it is simply his story about what went on in the awful prison and how he and others survived the torture, killings, beatings and abuse for so long.
Just to clarify, I am not going to spoil this story at all, so I won't be writing too much about the story itself as it really needs to be discovered and read by you.
The book opens up with Warren Fellows telling us about what we are about to read. He stresses that he does not want sympathy and that he is not saying he is an innocent man and should not have been there. He is simply telling us his story of his time in one of the worst prisons in the world. He warns you that you are about to read can be quite uncomfortable.
After this brief introduction, we then follow him for what I think is about half of the book, into how he got involved in drugs, who he met along the way and how much money was involved in his drug trafficking. What he does is very dangerous as the people he becomes involved with are powerful, ruthless human beings who would no doubt shoot you if you did the job wrong. Eventually, him and a friend get caught with alot of heroin and this is how he begins his terrible life in the prisons in Thailand. He ends up being transferred to afew prisons before eventually reaching Bang Kwang, known locally as 'The Big Tiger'.
His time spent in the prison is absolutely horrific. He details what happens to him and what he sees and hears happen to fellow prisoners. I will just tell you of one thing that happened to somebody he knew in the prison that seemed to just stick in my mind. A guy he knew was tortured by one of the guards by having the guard repeatidly tap him in the shin with his boot, not hard, but just repetitively for hours and hours and hours, and when it came to the prisoner standing up, his muscle in his calf gave in and he collapsed on the floor in pain. The guards in the prison just laugh at anything and don't even help when somebody needs a doctor or when somebody has a disease or is badly infected with something. They just simply shrug it off or torture them to make it worse.
Yes a prison is a place where people go as punishment for something they have done, and alot of people say that prisons, especially in England, are too soft. But let me tell you that after reading this book about a prison in Thailand, it will make you sick to the stomach of what goes on and it begs the question, has Bang Kwang improved nearly 30 years on? Are you given proper food and not just a handful of rice? Are you given clean water or told to drink out of the mucky river?
Of course you start to feel sorry for Warren Fellows, especially when the guards tease him and tell him he is free to go, only to find they just want to have a little fun, and he is by no means free yet. It just makes you put yourself in his position and I suppose hearing the words "you're a free man" would make your heart skip a beat, then to find it was all a joke, is just a kick in the teeth. But I suppose you can never really put yourself in what was his position.
Sat on the plane to Rhodes, I was gripped by this book. I could not put it down, and before I knew it, we were coming in to land, the seatbelt sign pops on and I then concentrated on that wonderful (or not) feeling in your stomach when you make your descent. I suddenly realised I had only one chapter left of the book - I had read nearly a whole book in 4 hours! Okay, so the book is only 192 pages, but still, thats pretty good considering I don't read alot of books.
Sat on the beach, it was now time for me to finish to book. The last few chapters describe how and when he was released and how to this day he feels. Obviously, he sees things in a completely different light and I don't think he could ever get over the kind of stuff he witnessed whilst in prision, or the way he was treated. For him, too many years of his life were spent in that prison, and he does regret what he did to put him in there.
Reading this book really opens your eyes and I was disgusted by alot of things and shocked by others. The story is very well written with Warren describing things graphically yet beautifully. One thing I will say that is a disadvantage for me is that I feel he probably could've written more about his time in the prison, I feel more time was spent talking about his life before prison than it did while he was in there. The book is also a little short, but that doesn't bother me too much, I just wish Warren could've written more about his time in prison and described more of his experiences. However I completely understand that what he has written already was probably very uncomfortable to write and brought it all back, and he probably had nightmares again.
All in all, this book was an excellent read. A little sad and not a typical beach/holiday read, but prisons interest me, and I find myself watching or reading anything to do with experiences in prisons, such as Prison Break and The Great Escape. If you are a fan of prison dramas or real life crime stories, then this book is a must read, however I do recommend this to anyone as it is a compelling read from start to finish.
This book is available to buy from all good book retailers.
Amazon.co.uk: Hardcover £5.99 + delivery
Play.com: Paperback £5.99 delivered
Warren Fellows is a courageous and determined man, as otherwise, he could not have survived the ordeal. The book is must read for all school children as an educational material against drug trafficking and its dire consequences. Warren Fellows or any human should have not been subjected to this inconciveable treatment, and although he deserves a punishment for his deed, what he has suffered if beyond human explanation and understanding. Warren Fellows is a brave man to live through this.
Dear Mr Fellows, Are you able to integrate into the society now? However, i would think your punishment did not end there!!!!!!!!!!!!. It's for the lifetime.
From the very moment i opened this book i knew it was going to be gripping.
This book is a sensational true story about how Warren Fellows survived life inside a Bangok prison, it tells you in graphic detail of how he ended up going from law abiding to trafficing heroin into Australia.
I myself am against drug abuse and dealing and thought that i would be pleased that Warren was put in prison, instead i felt for him, the torture both physically and mentally was almost too much for me to read about.
It is a harrowing book but yet one that is so interesting and factual that i couldn't put it down and would recommend to as many people as possible to read this.
This book shone out at me from the moment I picked it up, I have seen some dark things in my life, but not for twelve years straight, and to skim over warrens experience of twelve years of sheer hell, leaves you thinking about it for days, weeks and even months later, the endurance and will power to survive such an nightmare is both disturbing and intriguing and not to be taken lightly, yet it goes beyond that, this book invites you into his memories, memories that have been drudged up and re-lived, and by no means has a happy ending, only one of truth in all its simplicity.
When I bought this book I didn't really know how I would feel about Warren Fellows. As a person who is strongly against illegal drugs, I didn't know why I would want to read the story of a drug trafficker. Yet I was really interested, and wanted to know more. This book gives such a well-written insight into Thai prisons, and I soon realised that what Warren Fellows experienced during his 12 years, was something many people would not live to see the end of. It is hard to describe this book. The only word I can think of is harrowing. It is not a book to read for pleasure. Yet it is hard to put down, from reading more and more, it is hard to believe that one man could suffer such brutality, and come out alive. After completing the book, I felt I had utter respect for Fellows. Yes he had committed a serious crime, yet no one should have been treated the way that he, and his fellow inmates were. All I can simply say is, read this book! Fantastic.
Warren Fellows had a good family background, his father won the Melbourne Cup (horse racing) in 1949. Up to the age of 21 he had lived a fairly typical life in Australia. At that point he got involved with a group of people who would introduce him into the fraught filled world of drug trafficking. Fellows proved to be a dab hand at acting cool under pressure which inevitably led him to be put in contact with a bigger drug lord named Neddy Smith. Smith had major trafficking operations set up in Thailand where the procurement of cheap heroin proved to be a somewhat facile task. By smuggling the drug to Australia there were astronomical profits to be made. Warren Fellows was the perfect candidate to carry out such actions. For 4 years despite some incredibly close scrapes Fellows and his co-conspirators, the Old Man and Noi, avoided detection. At this point however the net was beginning to close in on them. The last mission had thrown up signs that something was awry. Noi, the Thai contact for the operation, showed unease to the point that he failed to turn up to drive his 2 unwitting accomplices back to the airport to fly home with the goods. As Fellows rested in his hotel room ready to leave a police raid turned his world upside down. The resultant interrogation by the appropriately titled 'Mad Dog' was graphic in its violence. Here was a man designed to get the truth without any thought for the welfare of the custodians. The case against Fellows and his partner Paul Hayward was conclusive so the outcome of their trials a few months later was no surprise. Fellows was given life while the pitiful Hayward (a football star who had the bad luck to marry Neddy Smith's daughter, the ill-fated trip to Thailand was his first) a decade of imprisonment. On his first night in custody Fellows tried to sleep in his cell. He didn't have any bad dreams, but as he states quite clearly he didn't need them because his
was living the worst possible nightmare imaginable. At this juncture the book loses its shape a little. Where the efforts of Fellows to avoid detection were intriguing, the potential that barbaric imprisonment throws up to the reader is not fully realised. Fellows writing becomes scattered and shoddy while still managing to portray the hopelessness of his situation. The incredible savagery of the guards use of the bamboo cane is matched only by the insanity of being locked up for months on end in a darkened room with little or no food. When giant rats and rice fattened cockroaches become a delicacy you can sense that quality of life has dropped a few levels below what could be deemed comfortable human existence. The Damage Done is written in scrappy tabloid style, often resembling an immature adolescents attempt at gross exaggeration to ram the point home. The fact that many of the horrible events outlined in the book probably took place is somehow clouded by the fact that Fellows became a heroin addict almost from day one in Bang Kwang. The irony of this situation is not lost on him or the reader. At times the stream of memories that pop into the authors head are haphazardly thrown together. Perhaps this is an effort to mirror the confusion associated with incarceration but for us it dulls what would otherwise be an intoxicating tale. The Damage Done paints a similar picture of prison brutality to that of Midnight Express. The prison guards who are mentioned are almost uniformly wicked, thriving on inflicting pain on the prisoners and are motivated to show kindness through bribes alone. Luckily, Fellows draws some comfort from the tenacity and friendship he gleans from his fellow inmates. He constantly marvels at the undiminished hope of his collaborator Paul Hayward and makes friends with other doomed prisoners who would one by one either fall foul to their own drug addiction or the cruel adm
inistration within the prison. There is a certain uneasiness attached with liking Warren Fellows. Apart from the stupidity of his crimes he often adopts a cloying descent into self pity. He acknowledges the terrible consequences of his actions but you sometimes feel he believes his own little boy lost routine that so often saved him before his eventual comeuppance. The last chapter is particularly grating. While those around him struggle to come to terms with his return he finds it easier to place a shield of indifference around himself rather than reach out for help. His mother takes the brunt of this action. Warren Fellows twelve years of imprisonment has acutely shaped the person he is today. He seems to lack the inner strength to break free from the torture of his past and instead of looking forward to the future laments on the losing of his youth. The Damage Done will never win any literary awards but the subject matter will always be interesting. Despite the often poor delivery it is a thought provoking read that could act as a useful deterrent to would be drug traffickers. As Fellows so often points out, the easy monetary rewards that go with the territory are no match for the calamitous loss of the freedom of living.
In 1978 Warren Fellows was convicted of heroin trafficking between Thailand and Australia. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the notorious Bang Kwang prison - better known as the Bangkok Hilton. It was the beginning of 12 years of hell in a place where sewer rats and cockroaches are the only nutritious food, where prison guards laugh as they deliver pulverising blows and where the worst punishment is the khun deo - solitary confinement, Thai style. The Damage Done is one man's story of an unthinkable nightmare. It is not Warren Fellows' plea for forgiveness nor his denial of guilt, but a story of endurance and survival and the abuse of human rights during the decade of a life wasted in leg irons.