I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang! is the amazing true story of one man's search for meaning, fall from grace, and eventual victory over injustice.
In 1921, Robert E. Burns was a shell-shocked and penniless veteran who found himself at the mercy of Georgia's barbaric penal system when he fell in with a gang of petty thieves. Sentenced to six to ten years' hard labor for his part in a robbery that netted less than $6.00, Burns was shackled to a county chain gang. After four months of backbreaking work, he made a daring escape, dodging shotgun blasts, racing through swamps, and eluding bloodhounds on his way north.
For seven years Burns lived as a free man. He married and became a prosperous Chicago businessman and publisher. When he fell in love with another woman, however, his jealous wife turned him in to the police, who arrested him as a fugitive from justice. Although he was promised lenient treatment and a quick pardon, he was back on a chain gang within a month. Undaunted, Burns did the impossible and escaped a second time, this time to New Jersey. He was still a hunted man living in hiding when this book was first published in 1932.
The book and its movie version, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1933, shocked the world by exposing Georgia's brutal treatment of prisoners. I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang! is a daring and heartbreaking book, an odyssey of misfortune, love, betrayal, adventure, and, above all, the unshakable courage and inner strength of the fugitive himself.
About the Author
ROBERT E. BURNS (1891-1955) was a native of Brooklyn, New York. After his sentence was commuted by the state of Georgia in 1945, he worked as a toy store owner, tax consultant, and veterans' affairs archivist.