The Diary of an Ordinary Man
By: Tom Barry
About the Book
The Diary of an Ordinary Man is an autobiography of a man who hailed from alcoholic parents in a distressed neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Tom Barry dropped out of high school and joined the U.S. Army, where he did tours in Korea and Germany. After his military service, he drifted from job to job before joining the New York City Department of Corrections as a new corrections officer. This book introduces the reader to some of the diverse characters employed in the department at that time and reviews some of the many aspects of working in a jail, including Tom’s perspective of the formative 1970 New York City jail riots and their aftermath.
During his twenty years with the agency, Tom worked his way through the ranks to become a warden and in the process he put himself through college (NYIT) and graduate school (St. John’s University in Queens, New York). One of the author’s many successes was preparing and managing the nation’s first municipal direct supervision facility for operation. Under his leadership, the facility became a model for the department and an example for the nation.
The Diary of an Ordinary Man was written from the perspective of a blue-collar worker. Within the book the reader will be entertained with some humorous and human-interest stories. The book covers a particularly volatile period in our nation’s history, wherein major societal changes occurred, which resulted in many challenges and innovative solutions, some of which may be relevant today. Tom’s many difficulties during the course of his career and his methods for overcoming them may inspire the reader in dealing with his or her own challenges, for no life is without its problems. Everyone must climb their own fences on their road to success.
About the Author
Tom Barry lives in San Antonio with his wife, Nancy. Together they enjoy hosting backyard barbeques, traveling, dancing to country music, salsa, oldies, and listening to blues. In his retirement he immerses himself in woodworking, chess, bowling with his wife and friends, and shooting skeet and targets. He is an amateur student of history, having read many texts on a wide variety of historical subjects. His reading tends to be nonfiction and an occasional novel. Additionally, he enjoys Southwestern art and the poetry of Robert Frost.
Prior to his retirement in the early 2000s, Tom was a jail auditor for the National Sheriff’s Association and the American Correctional Association. He served as president for the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents and the American Jail Association, and finally as a member of the Board of Directors for the International Correctional Arts Network (ICAN). He attends church regularly and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He also is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the American Legion.
(2023, paperback, 362 pages)
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