Nvoyé au bagne pour avoir vandalisé des parcmètres, Luke Jackson s'y lie d'amitié avec un autre détenu, Dragline, et devient très populaire grâce à son flegme et sa joie de vivre contagieuse, mais aussi parce que c'est un homme insoumis. Son personnage, symbole de la cool attitude et emblématique de son époque, finit par incarner une sorte de mythe anticonformiste. Un mythe que les forces de l'ordre ne toléreront pas très longtemps... Porté à l'écran par Stuart Rosenberg, avec Paul Newman (1967).
Out of his experiences working on a chain gang, Donn Pearce created Cool Hand Luke, war hero turned "pretty evil feller," whose refusal to "git his mind right" becomes part of his fellow convicts' mythology of survival.
Written using Donn Pearce's own experiences of working on a Florida chain gang, Cool Hand Luke is the classic tale of a quiet hero who refused to conform. Forced into a chain gang after a controversial career in the army, Lucas Jackson's outsized feats range from bizarre acts of gluttony and gambling - betting a fellow inmate he can eat 50 eggs - to harrowing escape attempts. Luke's acts of defiance and his refusal to 'git his mind right' soon make him a legend among his fellow convicts - a symbol of hope in a cruel regime designed to break a man's body and spirit. The original rebel, Luke's anti-hero personality makes him one of the seminal non-conformists - born to lose, but full of dignity. Cool Hand Luke was turned into a film in 1967, the year after its initial publication, starring Paul Newman. The screenplay, scripted by Donn Pearce himself, was nominated for an Academy Award.