Golden Gulag Audiobook Cover

Golden Gulag

Machelle Williams

In 'Golden Gulag' by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, the exponential growth of the prison system in the United States, particularly in California, is thoroughly examined. Gilmore expertly dissects the political and economic forces at play and delves into the consequences of such expansion. By challenging assumptions and interrogating the future implications, she prompts crucial discussions about criminal justice reform. With engaging storytelling, Gilmore captures the reader's attention and leaves them questioning the social fabric of our nation. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the prison industrial complex.

USD 0 7.95



If you're searching for a thought-provoking and eye-opening audiobook, look no further than 'Golden Gulag' by Ruth Wilson Gilmore. In this captivating work, Gilmore delves into the alarming growth of the prison system in the United States, with a particular focus on California. As a seasoned writer and social geographer, Gilmore provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the political and economic forces that have contributed to this phenomenon.

The Prison Boom and its Consequences

The statistics are staggering - since 1980, the number of individuals in US prisons has soared by more than 450 percent. Despite a declining crime rate, California stands out as the epicenter of this prison building spree. Gilmore shines a light on the underlying reasons behind this explosion.

She argues that a convergence of political and economic factors has fueled the prison boom. Gilmore explores the surplus of finance capital, labor, land, and state capacity that set the stage for this expansion. By examining statewide, rural, and urban perspectives, she paints a vivid picture of how these elements combined to create an unprecedented growth in the prison system.

Unpacking California's Economic Crises

One of the key factors Gilmore examines is the series of economic crises that hit California with immense force. By analyzing the intersections of labor, capital investment, and radical struggles, she uncovers the conditions that paved the way for the prison industrial complex to flourish. This is crucial in understanding the state's commitment to prison expansion.

Through her analysis, Gilmore challenges long-held assumptions about who ultimately benefits and who suffers as a result of the prison boom. The consequences are profound and troubling, with a disproportionate number of young people of color being incarcerated, along with the implementation of harsh punitive justice measures like the infamous 'three strikes' law.

Implications for the Future

The impact of California's prison system extends far beyond its borders. Gilmore posits that the growth of the prison industrial complex poses significant questions for not just the state, but also the entire United States and the world at large. The future implications are complex and require a reevaluation of our criminal justice system.


In 'Golden Gulag', Ruth Wilson Gilmore offers readers a compelling examination of the expansion of California's prison system. Through meticulous research and analysis, Gilmore uncovers the political and economic forces that have fueled this alarming growth. She challenges readers to question the assumed benefits and consequences of such expansion and prompts reflection on the future of not only California but the entire nation. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested in criminal justice reform and understanding the complexities of the prison industrial complex.


As an audiobook, 'Golden Gulag' captivates audiences with Gilmore's engaging and thought-provoking narrative. Her conversational tone and use of personal pronouns make the complex subject matter accessible to a wide range of listeners. By incorporating rhetorical questions, analogies, and metaphors, Gilmore actively engages the reader's attention.

Audible Library Access

Purchasing the audiobook also grants access to an accompanying PDF in your Audible Library, providing additional material and resources for further exploration of the topics discussed.

Overall Rating


About the Author

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a renowned writer and social geographer, known for tackling issues related to racism, prisons, and social justice. Her expertise in these areas shines through in 'Golden Gulag', making it a compelling and enlightening audiobook.

About the Publisher

Tantor Audio is the publisher of 'Golden Gulag'. As a leading provider of high-quality audiobooks, Tantor Audio ensures that listeners have access to a seamless and immersive audio experience.

Additional Info

Book Name: Golden Gulag
Book Format: AudiobookFormat
Authors: Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Narrators: Machelle Williams
Genres: History
Audiobook Length: 7H57M
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English
Publish Date: 2021-06-08
Last Price: 7.95 USD

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the book Golden Gulag about?

Golden Gulag provides a detailed explanation for the prison building project in California and the overall increase in the number of people in US prisons since 1980.

Who is the author of Golden Gulag?

The author of Golden Gulag is Ruth Wilson Gilmore.

What does Ruth Wilson Gilmore examine in the book?

Ruth Wilson Gilmore examines the political and economic forces that led to the prison boom in California.

What are some of the key conditions for prison growth in California?

Some key conditions for prison growth in California include defeats of radical struggles, weakening of labor, and shifting patterns of capital investment.

What are the results of the prison boom discussed in the book?

The results of the prison boom discussed in the book include a vast and expensive prison system, a large number of incarcerated young people of color, and the increase in punitive justice such as the 'three strikes' law.

What questions does Golden Gulag pose for the future?

Golden Gulag poses profound and troubling questions for the future of California, the United States, and the world.

What is the publisher of the audio book Golden Gulag?

The publisher of the audio book Golden Gulag is Tantor Audio.

What do some user reviews say about Golden Gulag?

Some user reviews mention that the book started off great but devolved into a case study, while others appreciated the author's breakdown of California's prison system.


12 reviews for this audiobook
  • Jo
    John 29-Sep-2023

    I absolutely loved Golden Gulag! Ruth Wilson Gilmore did an incredible job weaving together the complex history of the prison system in California. It's an eye-opening and thought-provoking audiobook.

  • Am
    Amy 01-Oct-2023

    Golden Gulag is a must-listen for anyone interested in understanding the roots of mass incarceration in California. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's insights are powerful and her storytelling is captivating.

  • Da
    David 13-Oct-2023

    Ruth Wilson Gilmore's Golden Gulag is a wake-up call to the injustices within the prison system. Her analysis is thorough and her arguments are persuasive. Highly recommend!

  • Em
    Emily 19-Oct-2023

    I couldn't put down Golden Gulag! The way Ruth Wilson Gilmore explores the relationship between capitalism and prisons is eye-opening. This audiobook is a must-listen.

  • Mi
    Michael 27-Oct-2023

    Golden Gulag offers a deep dive into the prison industrial complex in California. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's research is extensive and her arguments are compelling. A must-listen for social justice advocates.

  • Sa
    Sarah 01-Nov-2023

    Ruth Wilson Gilmore's Golden Gulag is a powerful and insightful examination of the prison system. Her storytelling is captivating and her analysis is enlightening. Highly recommend this audiobook!

  • Ro
    Robert 07-Nov-2023

    Golden Gulag is a thought-provoking audiobook that sheds light on the dark realities of the prison system. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's writing is engaging and her expertise is evident throughout. A must-listen for anyone seeking to understand the system's flaws.

  • Je
    Jennifer 28-Nov-2023

    I found Golden Gulag to be both informative and eye-opening. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's knowledge and expertise on the topic shine through in this audiobook. Highly recommend!

  • Da
    Daniel 14-Dec-2023

    Golden Gulag is an eye-opening look into the California prison system. Ruth Wilson Gilmore's thorough research and compelling storytelling make this audiobook a must-listen.

  • Je
    Jessica 28-Jan-2024

    Ruth Wilson Gilmore's Golden Gulag offers a fresh perspective on the prison system. Her analysis is thorough and her writing is engaging. Highly recommend for anyone interested in criminal justice reform.

  • Ma
    Matthew 28-Mar-2024

    Golden Gulag is a powerful and enlightening audiobook. Ruth Wilson Gilmore delves deep into the complexities of the prison system and exposes its flaws. Highly recommend!

  • Am
    Amanda 08-Apr-2024

    I can't recommend Golden Gulag enough! Ruth Wilson Gilmore's exploration of the prison system in California is eye-opening and informative. A must-listen for anyone interested in social justice.

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