...there’s nothing partisan or argumentative about Blood in the Water. The power of this superb work of history comes from its methodical mastery of interviews, transcripts, police reports and other documents ... it’s Ms. Thompson’s achievement, in this remarkable book, to make us understand why this one group of prisoners did, and how many others shared the cost.
...a masterly account ... This is not an easy book to read — the countless episodes of inhumanity on these pages are heartbreaking. But it is an essential one ... Blood in the Water restores their struggle to its rightful place in our collective memory.
[Thompson's] tells the story of the riot and its aftermath with precision and momentum ... Ms. Thompson dispatches with the riot and the retaking in 219 pages. Had she stopped there, one could recommend Blood in the Water as a brisk, dramatic retelling. But she is far more interested in the legal fights that ensued, which take up the book’s remaining 352 pages ... Blood in the Water is a good work of history but leaves one wondering whether it is as balanced as it might have been.