Education of a Felon A Memoir

Edward Bunker

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year
Winner of the McCallan Golden Dagger Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book

Edward Bunker's experiences in California's toughest prisons, on the mean streets of Los Angeles, and in Hollywood's seamy underworld have enabled him to write some of the grittiest, most affecting prison novels of our time. Quentin Tarantino called Bunker's Little Boy Blue "the best first-person crime novel I've ever read," while The New York Times said of his novel Dog Eat Dog, "Mr. Bunker has written a raw, unromantic, naturalistic crime drama more lurid than anything the noiresque Chandlers or Hammetts ever dreamed up."

Here, Bunker, who was sent to San Quentin (for the first time) at the age of seventeen, reveals the true stories of his life. Whether smoking a joint in a gas chamber chair, leaving fingerprints on a knife connected with a serial killer, or swimming in the Neptune Pool at San Simeon, Bunker delivers the goods. This is the real life and times a writer who has spent half his days living the harsh life—both inside and outside of prison—and the other half writing about it.


Praise for Education of a Felon

"Education of a Felon is a masterful summation of the hard and brutal life of crime and prison from which Edward Bunker chiseled the vigorous prose that marks him as America's foremost chronicler of prison life."—Los Angeles Times

"Bunker writes in straight-ahead, unadorned prose and, refreshingly, he refrains from excessive psychologizing and sentimentalizing . . . A rough-hewn memoir by a rough-hewn man."—The New York Times Book Review

"In this picaresque, harrowing, humorous, yet deeply sad excursion through his dark-starred youth, Bunker—arguably the most renowned convict writer in America—serves as both participant and witness to the mid-century carnival of L.A. crime immortalized by James Ellroy . . . A thought-provoking and richly re-created tale of a career criminal."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Edward Bunker

  • Edward Bunker's novels No Beast So Fierce and The Animal Factory were made into the movies Straight Time (with Dustin Hoffman) and Animal Factory (with Edward Furlong). Bunker played Mr. Blue in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and was a co-writer of the screenplay for Runaway Train. Education of a Felon is Bunker's first nonfiction book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.