The Don is an impeccably researched, detailed account of the history of Toronto's infamous jail and its inhabitants - some of whom orchestrated the most famous escapes in Canadian history. Lorna Poplak has given us an immensely readable, engaging and entertaining look at a significant piece of Toronto's past. The book comes alive as it describes the good intentions that surrounded the building of the jail, such as the rehabilitation and redemption of the inmates, through to, and including, a candid description of the reality of its often inhumane, fetid and over-crowded conditions. This is a must read for those interested in Toronto's criminal justice history.
Sandra Kingston, former crown attorney
The Don is a breezily written book recommended for anyone interested in Toronto history, penology or criminology and a thoroughly well researched account of a jail which, in various states of repair and disrepair, housed tens of thousands of criminals and ne'er-do-wells in the Toronto area during its more than 150 years of existence. A must read for all true crime buffs!
James Dubro, author of Mob Rule and Dragons of Crime
Lorna Poplak has written a fascinating history about Toronto's most notorious jail. The Don is recommended reading for anyone interested in true-crime or the dark-side of Toronto history.
Nate Hendley, author of The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto
Lorna Poplak tells three stories in The Don: the history of Toronto's most famous/infamous prison; the evolving theories of incarceration and punishment through the jail's century-and-a-half life; and the shifting shape of the building and surrounding city. All well-told stories, populated by the extraordinary characters of jailors and jailed, hangmen and hanged, all confined within the long, grim history of the Don. A great read.
Joe Berridge, author of Perfect City
This book documents the history of the Don, but also the history of the city of Toronto and thinking around incarceration. An informative read.
Jennifer Hollett, Executive Director, The Walrus
Canadian history buffs will savor the arcane criminal lore gathered here.
Poplak is right to dwell on the many indictments of jail conditions throughout this book.