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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neil White Narrator: Traber Burn Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Daddy is going to camp. That’s what I told my children. A child psychologist suggested it. “Words like prison and jail conjure up dangerous images for children,” she explained. But it wasn’t camp…

Neil White, a journalist and magazine publisher, wanted the best for those he loved—nice cars, beautiful homes, luxurious clothes. He loaned money to family and friends, gave generously to his church, and invested in his community—but his bank account couldn’t keep up. Soon White began moving money from one account to another to avoid bouncing checks. His world fell apart when the FBI discovered his scheme and a judge sentenced him to serve eighteen months in a federal prison.

But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy. Hidden away for decades, this small circle of outcasts had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. It is here, in a place rich with history, where the Mississippi River briefly runs north, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, that White’s strange and compelling journey begins. He finds a new best friend in Ella Bounds, an eighty-year-old African American double amputee who had contracted leprosy as a child. She and the other secret people, along with a wacky troop of inmates, help White rediscover the value of simplicity, friendship, and gratitude.

Funny and poignant, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is an uplifting memoir that reminds us all what matters most.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Offers a rare glimpse into this world of ‘secret people,’ men and women with hands ‘shaped like mittens’ and ‘discolored faces’ who have lived for decades in exile.”

    New York Times

  • “This book offers an important glimpse into a dark and receding corner of our medical and penal history, as well as a fascinating personal story.”

    Washington Post

  • “A surprisingly gentle, sometimes hilarious memoir.”

    USA Today

  • “A moving story of growth and transformation. Among the lost, [White] found humility, beauty, courage—and himself.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “This memoir represents an atonement persuasively made in an unlikely setting by an accomplished and engaging writer.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “Vibrant and readable.”


  • “[White’s] story is well worth reading.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “[A] fascinating memoir...White’s introspective memoir puts a magnifying glass to a flawed life, revealing that all of life is to be savored and respected.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A thoroughly engaging look at the social, economic, racial, and other barriers that separate individuals that harden, dissolve, and reconfigure themselves when people are involuntarily thrust together over long periods.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “White’s memoir...presents a witty, well-rendered narrative of redemption and enlightenment. Readers who enjoy clever, off-beat memoirs will devour this in one sitting.”

    Library Journal

  • “An earnest chronicle written with equal parts enlightenment and atonement.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Selected for the June 2009 Indie Next List
  • Winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
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About the Author

Neil White is the former publisher of New Orleans Magazine, Coast magazine, and Coast Business Journal. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he owns a small publishing company.