Inside GTMO's library

Charlie Savage writes in the New York Times of the books on offer to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, which include a set of Indiana Jones novelizations, some Star Trek: TNG novels, Ender's Game, Arabic editions of Danielle Steele, and some Captain America graphic novels. Some of the prisoners arrived in Gitmo able to read English, other have learned during their 10-year incarceration. One lawyer brought in copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four for his client, Shaker Aamer, who said, "it perfectly captured the psychological reality of being at Gitmo."

The library has about 18,000 books — roughly 9,000 titles — the bulk of which are in Arabic, along with a smaller selection of periodicals, DVDs and video games. Religious books are the most popular, Milton said, but there is also a well-thumbed collection of Western fare — from Arabic translations of books like “News of a Kidnapping,” by Gabriel García Márquez, and “The Kiss,” by Danielle Steel, to a sizable English-language room, which boasts familiar titles like the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” series, “Watership Down” and the “Odyssey.” Some detainees arrived knowing English, while a few others have learned over time. Most have now been held without trial for over a decade.

You can see photos of the books at the Gitmo Books Tumblr, which was started by Charlie Savage lawyers for some of the prisoners.

Invisible Men [Charlie Savage/NYT] (via Hacker News)


  1. So… lock ’em up without trial for a decade or three, let ’em read Kafka and Orwell, and then intubate them when they stop eating.  Is there any part of this that is not just pure sadism?

    1.  Well sometimes it’s comforting to read about people in the same situation as yourself, right? The Captain America novels, now there’s the real trolling.

Comments are closed.