Listed below are books received for review over the last two months. Entries include publishing information as well as a description of the book. Unless otherwise stated, the book description is taken from the publisher’s website or the book jacket. Selected titles from this list will be chosen for a full review in forthcoming issues of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books. Previous books received are available from the links below.
|Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility, by Alex Zamalin. Boston: Beacon Press, 2021.
“The idea and practice of civility has always been wielded to silence dissent, repress political participation, and justify violence upon people of color. Although many progressives today are told that we need to be more polite and thoughtful, less rancorous and angry, when we talk about race in America, civility maintains rather than disrupts racial injustice.
Spanning two hundred years, Zamalin’s accessible blend of intellectual history, political biography, and contemporary political criticism shows that civility has never been neutral in its political uses and impacts. The best way to tackle racial inequality is through “civic radicalism,” an alternative to civility found in the actions of Black radical leaders including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Audre Lorde. Civic radicals shock and provoke people. They name injustice and who is responsible for it. They protest, march, strike, boycott, and mobilize collectively rather than form alliances with those who fundamentally oppose them.
In Against Civility, citizens who care deeply about racial and socioeconomic equality will see that they need to abandon this concept of discreet politeness when it comes to racial justice and instead more fully support disruptive actions and calls for liberation, which have already begun with movements like #MeToo, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, and Black Lives Matter.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces that Changed a Nation, by Steven P. Brown. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2020.
“Unknown to many, Alabama has played a remarkable role in a number of Supreme Court rulings that continue to touch the lives of every American. In Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation, Steven P. Brown has identified eight landmark cases that deal with religion, voting rights, libel, gender discrimination, and other issues, all originating from legal disputes in Alabama.
Written in a concise and accessible manner, each case law chapter begins with the circumstances that created the dispute. Brown then provides historical and constitutional background for the issue followed by a review of the path of litigation. Excerpts from the Court’s ruling in the case are also presented, along with a brief account of the aftermath and significance of the decision. The First Amendment (New York Times v. Sullivan), racial redistricting (Gomillion v. Lightfoot), the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Frontiero v. Richardson), and prayer in public schools (Wallace v. Jaffree) are among the pivotal issues stamped indelibly by disputes with their origins in Alabama legal, political, and cultural landscapes. By examining such landmark twentieth-century milestones and eras such as the Scottsboro Boys trial, the Civil Rights movement, and the fight for women’s rights through a legal lens, Brown sheds new and unexpected light on the ways that events in Alabama have shaped the nation.
In addition to his analysis of cases, Brown discusses the three associate Supreme Court justices from Alabama to the Supreme Court: John McKinley, John Archibald Campbell, and Hugo Black. Their cumulative influence on constitutional interpretation, the institution of the Court, and the day-to-day rights and liberties enjoyed by every American is impossible to measure. A closing chapter examines the careers and contributions of these three Alabamians.” From Publisher’s Website.
|America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States, by Erika Lee. New York: Basic Books, 2020.
“The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their “strange and foreign ways.” Americans’ anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported.
Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called browning of America. Forcing us to confront this history, Lee explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America. Now updated with an afterword reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged xenophobia, America for Americans is an urgent spur to action for any concerned citizen.” From Publisher’s Website.
|American Serial Killers: The Epidemic Years 1950-2000, by Peter Vronsky. New York: Berkley Books, 2021.
“With books like Serial Killers, Female Serial Killers and Sons of Cain, Peter Vronsky has established himself as the foremost expert on the history of serial killers. In this first definitive history of the “Golden Age” of American serial murder, when the number and body count of serial killers exploded, Vronsky tells the stories of the most unusual and prominent serial killings from the 1950s to the early twenty-first century. From Ted Bundy to the Golden State Killer, our fascination with these classic serial killers seems to grow by the day. American Serial Killers gives true crime junkies what they crave, with both perennial favorites (Ed Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer) and lesser-known cases (Melvin Rees, Harvey Glatman).” From Publisher’s Website.
|Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher, by Charlotte Bismuth. New York: Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2021.
“In 2010, a brave whistleblower alerted the police to Dr. Stan Li’s corrupt pain management clinic in Queens, New York. Li spent years supplying more than seventy patients a day with oxycodone and Xanax, trading prescriptions for cash. Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, and desperate family members warned him that his patients were at risk of death but he would not stop.
In Bad Medicine, former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth meticulously recounts the jaw dropping details of this criminal case that would span four years, culminating in a landmark trial. As a new assistant district attorney and single mother, Bismuth worked tirelessly with her team to bring Dr. Li to justice. Bad Medicine is a chilling story of corruption and greed and an important look at the role individual doctors play in America’s opioid epidemic.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Ballad of Robert Charles: Searching for the New Orleans Riot of 1900, by K. Stephen Prince. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2021.
“For a brief moment in the summer of 1900, Robert Charles was arguably the most infamous black man in the United States. After an altercation with police on a New Orleans street, Charles killed two police officers and fled. During a manhunt that extended for days, violent white mobs roamed the city, assaulting African Americans and killing at least half a dozen. When authorities located Charles, he held off a crowd of thousands for hours before being shot to death. The notorious episode was reported nationwide; years later, fabled jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton recalled memorializing Charles in song. Yet today, Charles is almost entirely invisible in the traditional historical record. So who was Robert Charles, really? An outlaw? A black freedom fighter? And how can we reconstruct his story?
In this fascinating work, K. Stephen Prince sheds fresh light on both the history of the Robert Charles riots and the practice of history-writing itself. He reveals evidence of intentional erasures, both in the ways the riot and its aftermath were chronicled and in the ways stories were silenced or purposefully obscured. But Prince also excavates long-hidden facts from the narratives passed down by white and black New Orleanians over more than a century. In so doing, he probes the possibilities and limitations of the historical imagination.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line, by Michael Kagan. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2020.
“The national debate over American immigration policy has obsessed politicians and disrupted the lives of millions of people for decades. The Battle to Stay in America focuses on Las Vegas, Nevada–a city where more than one in five residents was born in a foreign country, and where the community is struggling to defend itself against the federal government’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Told through the eyes of an immigration lawyer on the front lines of that battle, this book offers an accessible, intensely personal introduction to a broken legal system. It is also a raw, honest story of exhaustion, perseverance, and solidarity. Michael Kagan describes how current immigration law affects real people’s lives and introduces us to some remarkable individuals—immigrants and activists—who grapple with its complications every day. He explains how American immigration law often gives good people no recourse. He shows how under President Trump the complex bureaucracies that administer immigration law have been re-engineered to carry out a relentless but often invisible attack against people and families who are integral to American communities.
Kagan tells the stories of people desperate to escape unspeakable violence in their homeland, children separated from their families and trapped in a tangle of administrative regulations, and hardworking long-time residents suddenly ripped from their productive lives when they fall unwittingly into the clutches of the immigration enforcement system. He considers how the crackdown on immigrants negatively impacts the national economy and offers a deeply considered assessment of the future of immigration policy in the United States. Kagan also captures the psychological costs exacted by fear of deportation and by increasingly overt expressions of hatred against immigrants.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Big Apple Gangsters: The Rise and Decline of the Mob in New York, by Jeffrey Sussman. Lanham, MD: Roman and Littlefield, 2020.
“The great founding figures of organized crime in the 20th century were born and bred in New York City, and the city was the basis of their operations. Beginning with Prohibition and going on through many illegal activities the mob became a major force and its tentacles reached into virtually every enterprise, whether legal or illegal: gambling, boxing, labor racketeering, stock fraud, illegal unions, prostitution, food service, garment manufacturing, construction, loan sharking, hijacking, extortion, trucking, drug dealing – you name it the mob controlled it.
The men who organized crime in America were the sons of poor immigrants. They were hungry for success and would use whatever means available to achieve their goals. They were not interested in religious identity and ethnic identity. Their syndicate of criminals was made up, primarily of Italians and Jews, but also Irish and black gangsters who could further their ambitions. Their sole objective was always the same – money. It began with Arnold Rothstein, who not only helped to fix the 1919 World Series, but who also mentored and financed the individuals who would control organized crime for decades. Individuals such as Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Joe Adonis, and Meyer Lansky, who would then follow suit setting up other criminal organizations. They established rules of governance, making millions of dollars for themselves and their cohorts. All the organized crime bosses and their cohorts had the same modus operandi: they were far-seeing opportunists who took advantage of every illegal opportunity that came their way for making money.
Big Apple Gangsters: The Rise and Decline of the Mob in New York reveals just how influential the mob in New York City was during the 20th century. Jeffrey Sussman entertainingly digs into the origins of organized crime in the 20th century by looking at the corporate activity that dominated this one city and how these entrepreneurial bosses supported successful criminal enterprises in other cities. He also profiles many of the colorful gangsters who followed in the footsteps of gangland’s original founders. Throughout the book Sussman provides fascinating portraits of a who’s who of gangland. His narrative moves excitingly and entertainingly through the pivotal events and history of organized crime, explaining the birth, growth, maturation, and decline of various illegal enterprises in New York. He also profiles those who prosecuted the mob and won significant verdicts that ended many careers, responsible for bringing many organized crime figures to their knees and then delivering a series of coups de grace – such as Burton Turkus, Thomas Dewey, Robert Kennedy, and Rudolph Giuliani.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Black Market Business: Selling Sex in Northern Vietnam, 1920-1945, by Christina Elizabeth Firpo. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.
“Black Market Business is a grassroots social history of the clandestine market for sex in colonial Tonkin. Lively and well told, it explores the ways in which sex workers, managers, and clients evaded the colonial regulation system in the turbulent economy of the interwar years. Christina Elizabeth Firpo argues that the confluence of economic, demographic, and cultural changes sweeping late colonial Tonkin created spaces of tension in which the interwar black market sex industry thrived. The clandestine sex industry flourished in sites of legal inconsistency, cultural changes, economic disparity, rural-urban division, and demographic shifts. As a nexus of the many tensions besetting late colonial Tonkin, the black market sex industry serves as a useful lens through which to examine these tensions and the ways they affected marginalized populations. More specifically, an investigation of this black market shows how a particular population of impoverished women—a group regrettably understudied by historians—experienced the tensions.
Drawing on an astonishingly diverse and multilingual source base, Black Market Business includes detailed cases of juvenile prostitution, human trafficking, and debt bondage arrangements in sex work, as well as cases in Tonkin’s bars, hotels, singing houses, and dance clubs. Using GIS technology and big data sets to track individual actors in history, it serves as a model for teaching new methodological approaches to conducting social histories of women and marginalized people.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels, by Ioan Grillo. New York: Bloomsbury, 2021.
“The gun control debate is revived with every mass shooting. But far more people die from gun deaths on the street corners of inner city America and across the border as Mexico’s powerful cartels battle to control the drug trade. Guns and drugs aren’t often connected in our heated discussions of gun control-but they should be. In Ioan Grillo’s groundbreaking new work of investigative journalism, he shows us this connection by following the market for guns in the Americas and how it has made the continent the most murderous on earth.
Grillo travels to gun manufacturers, strolls the aisles of gun shows and gun shops, talks to FBI agents who have infiltrated biker gangs, hangs out on Baltimore street corners, and visits the ATF gun tracing center in West Virginia. Along the way, he details the many ways that legal guns can cross over into the black market and into the hands of criminals, fueling violence here and south of the border. Simple legislative measures would help close these loopholes, but America’s powerful gun lobby is uncompromising in its defense of the hallowed Second Amendment. Perhaps, however, if guns were seen not as symbols of freedom, but as key accessories in our epidemics of addiction, the conversation would shift. Blood Gun Money is that conversation shifter.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Blood Red Lines: How Nativism Fuels the Right, by Brendan O’Connor. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2021.
“An engaging and reflective look at how austerity and the billionaire class paved the way for Trump’s presidency, the rise of the “alt-right,” and the caging of migrants children and adults in detention centers across the country. For all of the energy that the far right has demonstrated-and for all of the support that they receive from institutional conservatives in the GOP and affiliated organizations-the United States is experiencing an upsurge in left-wing social movements unlike any other in the past half-century, with roots not in the Democratic Party but Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.
Drawing on his original reporting as well as archival research, O’Connor investigates how the capitalist class and the radical right mobilize racism to defend their interests, while focusing on one of the most pressing issues of our time: immigration.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Book of Charlatans, by Jamāl al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥīm al-Jawbarī, edited by Manuela Dengler. New York: New York University Press, 2020.
“The Book of Charlatans is a comprehensive guide to trickery and scams as practiced in the thirteenth century in the cities of the Middle East, especially in Syria and Egypt. The author, al-Jawbarī, was well versed in the practices he describes and may well have been a reformed charlatan himself. Divided into thirty chapters, his book reveals the secrets of everyone from “Those Who Claim to be Prophets” to “Those Who Claim to Have Leprosy” and “Those Who Dye Horses.”
The material is informed in part by the author’s own experience with alchemy, astrology, and geomancy, and in part by his extensive research. The work is unique in its systematic, detailed, and inclusive approach to a subject that is by nature arcane and that has relevance not only for social history but also for the history of science. Covering everything from invisible writing to doctoring gemstones and quack medicine, The Book of Charlatans opens a fascinating window into a subculture of beggars’ guilds and professional con artists in the medieval Arab world.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Border Jumping and Migration Control in Southern Africa, by Francis Musoni. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020.
With the end of apartheid rule in South Africa and the ongoing economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the border between these Southern African countries has become one of the busiest inland ports of entry in the world. As border crossers wait for clearance, crime, violence, and illegal entries have become rampant. Francis Musoni observes that border jumping has become a way of life for many of those who live on both sides of the Limpopo River and he explores the reasons for this, including searches for better paying jobs and access to food and clothing at affordable prices. Musoni sets these actions into a framework of illegality. He considers how countries have failed to secure their borders, why passports are denied to travelers, and how border jumping has become a phenomenon with a long history, especially in Africa. Musoni emphasizes cross-border travelers’ active participation in the making of this history and how clandestine mobility has presented opportunity and creative possibilities for those who are willing to take the risk.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Border Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism, by Harsha Walia. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2021.
“Harsha Walia disrupts easy explanations for the migrant and refugee crises, instead showing them to be the inevitable outcomes of conquest, capitalist globalization, and climate change generating mass dispossession worldwide. Border and Rule explores a number of seemingly disparate global geographies with shared logics of border rule that displace, immobilize, criminalize, exploit, and expel migrants and refugees. With her keen ability to connect the dots, Walia demonstrates how borders divide the international working class and consolidate imperial, capitalist, ruling class, and racist nationalist rule. Ambitious in scope and internationalist in orientation, Border and Rule breaks through American exceptionalist and liberal responses to the migration crisis and cogently maps the lucrative connections between state violence, capitalism, and right-wing nationalism around the world.
Illuminating the brutal mechanics of state formation, Walia exposes US border policy as a product of violent territorial expansion, settler-colonialism, enslavement, and gendered racial exclusion. Further, she compellingly details how Fortress Europe and White Australia are using immigration diplomacy and externalized borders to maintain a colonial present, how temporary labor migration in the Arab Gulf states and Canada is central to citizenship regulation and labor control, and how far-right nationalism is escalating deadly violence in the US, Israel, India, the Philippines, Brazil, and across Europe, while producing a disaster of statelessness for millions elsewhere.
A must-read in these difficult times of war, inequality, climate change, and global health crisis, Border and Rule is a clarion call for revolution. The book includes a foreword from renowned scholar Robin D. G. Kelley and an afterword from acclaimed activist-academic Nick Estes.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side of the American Dream, by Michael Shnayerson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2021.
“In a brief life that led to a violent end, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906–1947) rose from desperate poverty to ill-gotten riches, from an early-twentieth-century family of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side to a kingdom of his own making in Las Vegas. In this captivating portrait, author Michael Shnayerson sets out not to absolve Bugsy Siegel but rather to understand him in all his complexity.
Through the 1920s, 1930s, and most of the 1940s, Bugsy Siegel and his longtime partner in crime Meyer Lansky engaged in innumerable acts of violence. As World War II came to an end, Siegel saw the potential for a huge, elegant casino resort in the sands of Las Vegas. Jewish gangsters built nearly all of the Vegas casinos that followed. Then, one by one, they disappeared. Siegel’s story laces through a larger, generational story of eastern European Jewish immigrants in the early- to mid-twentieth century.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Call Me Commander: A Former Intelligence Officer and the Journalists Who Uncovered His Scheme to Fleece America, by Jeff Testerman and Daniel M. Freed. Potomac Books, 2021.
“When Lt. Commander Bobby Thompson surfaced in Tampa in 1998, it was as if he had fallen from the sky, providing no hint of his past life. Eleven years later, St. Petersburg Times investigative reporter Jeff Testerman visited the rundown duplex Thompson used as his home and the epicenter of his sixty-thousand-member charity, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. But something was amiss. Thompson’s charity’s addresses were just maildrops, his members nonexistent, and his past a black hole. Yet, somehow, the Commander had stood for photos with President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and other political luminaries. The USNVA, it turned out, was a phony charity where Thompson used pricey telemarketers, savvy lawyers, and political allies to swindle tens of millions from well-meaning donors.
After Testerman’s story revealed that the nonprofit was a sham, the Commander went on the run. U.S. Marshals took up the hunt in 2011 and found themselves searching for an unnamed identity thief who they likened to a real-life Jason Bourne. When finally captured in 2012, Thompson was carrying multiple IDs and a key to a locker that held nearly $1 million in cash. But, who was he? Eventually, investigators discovered he was John Donald Cody, a Harvard Law School graduate and former U.S. Army intelligence officer who had been wanted since the 1980s on theft charges and for questioning in an espionage probe.
As Cody’s decades as a fugitive came to an end, he claimed his charity was run at the behest of the Central Intelligence Agency. After reporting on the story for CNBC’s American Greed in 2014, Daniel M. Freed dug into Cody’s backstory—uncovering new information about his intelligence background and the evolution of his con.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature. Writing the Unspeakable, by Joseph Valente and Margot Gayle Backus. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020.
“Even though the Irish child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church have appeared steadily in the media, many children remain in peril.
In The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature, Joseph Valente and Margot Gayle Backus examine modern cultural responses to child sex abuse in Ireland. Using descriptions of these scandals found in newspapers, historiographical analysis, and 20th- and 21st-century literature, Valente and Backus expose a public sphere ardently committed to Irish children’s souls and piously oblivious to their physical welfare. They offer historically contextualized and psychoanalytically informed readings of scandal narratives by nine notable modern Irish authors who actively, pointedly, and persistently question Ireland’s responsibilities regarding its children. Through close, critical readings, a more nuanced and troubling account emerges of how Ireland’s postcolonial heritage has served to enable such abuse.
The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature refines the debates on why so many Irish children were lost by offering insight into the lived experience of both the children and those who failed them.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Child Welfare, Protection, and Justice, by Murti Desai. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021. (Cambridge Elements)
“This Element first reviews the limitations of the concepts of problems in childhood. It proposes a universal, comprehensive, and longitudinal conceptual framework of problems in childhood, their differential context, and their cyclical effects. Based on the linkages identified in the children’s problems, they are divided into three levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary. The Element then reviews the concepts and the limitations of the prevalent service delivery approaches of child welfare, protection, and justice, because of which these services have not helped to break the cycle of problems in childhood. The Element identifies the rights-based comprehensive, preventive, and systemic approach for child welfare, at primary, secondary and tertiary prevention levels, in order to break this cycle of problems. Finally, the Element goes into details of the tertiary prevention level integrated service delivery for children facing socio-legal problems.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Coca Yes; Cocaine No: How Bolivia’s Coca Growers Reshaped Democracy, by Thomas Grisaffi. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.
“In Coca Yes, Cocaine No Thomas Grisaffi traces the political ascent and transformation of the Movement toward Socialism (MAS) from an agricultural union of coca growers into Bolivia’s ruling party. When Evo Morales—leader of the MAS—became Bolivia’s president in 2006, coca growers celebrated his election and the possibility of scaling up their form of grassroots democracy to the national level. Drawing on a decade of ethnographic fieldwork with coca union leaders, peasant farmers, drug traffickers, and politicians, Grisaffi outlines the tension that Morales faced between the realities of international politics and his constituents, who, even if their coca is grown for ritual or medicinal purposes, are implicated in the cocaine trade and criminalized under the U.S.-led drug war. Grisaffi shows how Morales’s failure to meet his constituents’ demands demonstrates that the full realization of alternative democratic models at the local or national level is constrained or enabled by global political and economic circumstances.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Confident Women: Swindlers, Drifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion, by Tori Telfer. New York: Harper Perennial, 2021.
“From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best—or worst.
In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette.
In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter.
In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these “artists” are still conning.
Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology—and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?” From Publisher’s Website.
|Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement, by John C. Coffee, Jr. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2020.
“In the early 2000s, federal enforcement efforts sent white collar criminals at Enron and WorldCom to prison. But since the 2008 financial collapse, this famously hasn’t happened. Corporations have been permitted to enter into deferred prosecution agreements and avoid criminal convictions, in part due to a mistaken assumption that leniency would encourage cooperation and because enforcement agencies don’t have the funding or staff to pursue lengthy prosecutions, says distinguished Columbia Law Professor John C. Coffee. “We are moving from a system of justice for organizational crime that mixed carrots and sticks to one that is all carrots and no sticks,” he says.
He offers a series of bold proposals for ensuring that corporate malfeasance can once again be punished. For example, he describes incentives that could be offered to both corporate executives to turn in their corporations and to corporations to turn in their executives, allowing prosecutors to play them off against each other. Whistleblowers should be offered cash bounties to come forward because, Coffee writes, “it is easier and cheaper to buy information than seek to discover it in adversarial proceedings.” All federal enforcement agencies should be able to hire outside counsel on a contingency fee basis, which would cost the public nothing and provide access to discovery and litigation expertise the agencies don’t have. Through these and other equally controversial ideas, Coffee intends to rebalance the scales of justice.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Critical Theory of Police Power: The Fabrication of the Social Order, by Mark Neocleous. New York: Verso, 2021.
“The ubiquitous nature and political attraction of the concept of order has to be understood in conjunction with the idea of police. Since its first publication, this book has been one of the most powerful and wide-ranging critiques of the police power.
Neocleous argues for an expanded concept of police, able to account for the range of institutions through which policing takes place. These institutions are concerned not just with the maintenance and reproduction of order, but with its very fabrication, especially the fabrication of a social order founded on wage labour. By situating the police power in relation to both capital and the state and at the heart of the politics of security, the book opens up into an understanding of the ways in which the state administers civil society and fabricates order through law and the ideology of crime. The discretionary violence of the police on the street is thereby connected to the wider administrative powers of the state, and the thud of the truncheon to the dull compulsion of economic relations.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody, by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay. Durham, NC: Pitchstone Publishing, 2020.
“Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that certain people shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society?
In this probing and intrepid volume, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma that informs these ideas, from its coarse origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today this dogma is recognizable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media dogpiles, as by its tenets, which are all too often embraced as axiomatic in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play; and language is dangerous. As Pluckrose and Lindsay warn, the unchecked proliferation of these anti-Enlightenment beliefs present a threat not only to liberal democracy but also to modernity itself.
While acknowledging the need to challenge the complacency of those who think a just society has been fully achieved, Pluckrose and Lindsay break down how this often-radical activist scholarship does far more harm than good, not least to those marginalized communities it claims to champion. They also detail its alarmingly inconsistent and illiberal ethics. Only through a proper understanding of the evolution of these ideas, they conclude, can those who value science, reason, and consistently liberal ethics successfully challenge this harmful and authoritarian orthodoxy—in the academy, in culture, and beyond.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History, by Carolyn Strange. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020.
“From Confederation to the partial abolition of the death penalty a century later, defendants convicted of sexually motivated killings and sexually violent homicides in Canada were more likely than any other condemned criminals to be executed for their crimes. Despite the emergence of psychiatric expertise in criminal trials, moral disgust and anger proved more potent in courtrooms, the public mind, and the hearts of the bureaucrats and politicians responsible for determining the outcome of capital cases.
Wherever death has been set as the ultimate criminal penalty, the poor, minority groups, and stigmatized peoples have been more likely to be accused, convicted, and executed. Although the vast majority of convicted sex killers were white, Canada’s racist notions of “the Indian mind” meant that Indigenous defendants faced the presumption of guilt. Black defendants were also subjected to discriminatory treatment, including near lynchings. In debates about capital punishment, abolitionists expressed concern that prejudices and poverty created the prospect of wrongful convictions.
Unique in the ways it reveals the emotional drivers of capital punishment in delivering inequitable outcomes, The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History provides a thorough overview of sex murder and the death penalty in Canada. It serves as an essential history and a richly documented cautionary tale for the present.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Debauched, Desperate, Deranged: Women Who Killed, London 1674-1913, by Carolyn A. Conley. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Contemporary studies have concluded that women are far less likely to kill than men and that when women do kill, they do so within the family. Debauched, Desperate, Deranged: Women Who Killed, London 1674-1913 examines the evolution of this pattern in the over 1400 trials in which women were prosecuted for homicide in London from the late seventeenth century until just before the First World War. Which deaths were considered homicides and in what circumstances women were culpable illustrates profound changes in the prevailing assumptions about women. The outcomes of trials and the portrayals of these women in the press illuminate changes in perceptions of women’s status and their physical and mental limitations. Debauched, Desperate, Deranged breaks new ground in existing studies of gender and homicide, using a long time frame to discern which trends are brief anomalies and which represent significant change or continuity.
Debauched, Desperate, Deranged is the first empirical, quantitatively as well as qualitatively based study of women and homicide from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. It presents new and significant conclusions on changing incidence of maternal homicides and the remarkable constancy of spousal homicides.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment, by Zach Norris. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2021.
“As the effects of aggressive policing and mass incarceration harm historically marginalized communities and tear families apart, how do we define safety? In a time when the most powerful institutions in the United States are embracing the repressive and racist systems that keep many communities struggling and in fear, we need to reimagine what safety means. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of Us vs. Them. By bridging the divides and building relationships with one another, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments—meaning resources directed toward our stability and well-being, like healthcare and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins.
Originally published in hardcover as We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, Defund Fear is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized, so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Deviant Prison: Philadelphia’s Eastern state Penitentiary and the Origins of America’s Modern Penal System, 1829-1913, by Ashley T. Rubin. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
“Early nineteenth-century American prisons followed one of two dominant models: the Auburn system, in which prisoners performed factory-style labor by day and were placed in solitary confinement at night, and the Pennsylvania system, where prisoners faced 24-hour solitary confinement for the duration of their sentences. By the close of the Civil War, the majority of prisons in the United States had adopted the Auburn system – the only exception was Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, making it the subject of much criticism and a fascinating outlier. Using the Eastern State Penitentiary as a case study, The Deviant Prison brings to light anxieties and other challenges of nineteenth-century prison administration that helped embed our prison system as we know it today. Drawing on organizational theory and providing a rich account of prison life, the institution, and key actors, Ashley T. Rubin examines why Eastern’s administrators clung to what was increasingly viewed as an outdated and inhuman model of prison – and what their commitment tells us about penal reform in an era when prisons were still new and carefully scrutinized.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Dispossessed: A Story of Asylum at the US-Mexican Border and Beyond, by John Washington. New York: Verso, 2020.
“The Dispossessed tells the story of a twenty-four-year-old Salvadoran man, Arnovis, whose family’s search for safety shows how the United States—in concert with other Western nations—has gutted asylum protections for the world’s most vulnerable. Crisscrossing the border and Central America, John Washington traces one man’s quest for asylum. Arnovis is separated from his daughter by US Border Patrol agents and struggles to find security after being repeatedly deported to a gang-ruled community in El Salvador, traumatic experiences relayed by Washington with vivid intensity.
Adding historical, literary, and current political context to the discussion of migration today, Washington tells the history of asylum law and practice through ages to the present day. Packed with information and reflection, The Dispossessed is more than a human portrait of those who cross borders—it is an urgent and persuasive case for sharing the country we call home.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Drug Trafficking in Mexico and the United States, by Gabriel Ferreyra. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.
“Gabriel Ferreyra presents a comprehensive analysis of drug trafficking in Mexico and the United States by examining the roots, development, consolidation, and cultural ramifications of this phenomenon in the past century as well as its negative consequences in contemporary Mexico. Ferreyra discusses the most devastating effects correlated to drug trafficking such as high murder rates, gruesome violence, disappearances, and mass graves to emphasize how Mexican society bears the brunt of this phenomenon while the United States insists on the futility of drug prohibition. Unlike other publications, this book provides an interdisciplinary social science approach where drug trafficking is conceptualized as a multifaceted social, political, economic, and cultural problem, rather than just a criminal justice issue.
Drug Trafficking in Mexico and the United States also revisits the war on drugs and provides an argument how drug control is the primary force behind drug trafficking. In that respect, there is an analysis on how the DEA has reinforced the war on drugs model and why it became a reactionary agency that opposes any comprehensive alternative to the American drug problem besides drug control. The author concludes with recommendations to implement forward-thinking measures such as decriminalization, reclassification, and legalization of drugs to effectively address the illicit drug trade.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Empire of Convicts: Indian Penal Labor in Colonial Southeast Asia, by Anand A. Yang. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2021.
“Empire of Convicts focuses on male and female Indians incarcerated in Southeast Asia for criminal and political offenses committed in colonial South Asia. From the seventeenth century onward, penal transportation was a key strategy of British imperial rule, exemplified by deportations first to the Americas and later to Australia. Case studies from the insular prisons of Bengkulu, Penang, and Singapore illuminate another carceral regime in the Indian Ocean World that brought South Asia and Southeast Asia together through a global system of forced migration and coerced labor. A major contribution to histories of crime and punishment, prisons, law, labor, transportation, migration, colonialism, and the Indian Ocean World, Empire of Convicts narrates the experiences of Indian bandwars (convicts) and shows how they exercised agency in difficult situations, fashioning their own worlds and even becoming “their own warders.” Anand A. Yang brings long journeys across kala pani (black waters) to life in a deeply researched and engrossing account that moves fluidly between local and global contexts.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940: Microhistories of Justice and Injustice, edited by David Nash and Anne-Marie Kilday. London, UK; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
“Adopting a microhistory approach, Fair and Unfair Trials in the British Isles, 1800-1940 provides an in-depth examination of the evolution of the modern justice system. Drawing upon criminal cases and trials from England, Scotland, and Ireland, the book examines the errors, procedural systems, and the ways in which adverse influences of social and cultural forces impacted upon individual instances of justice.
The book investigates several case studies of both justice and injustice which prompted the development of forensic toxicology, the implementation of state propaganda and an increased interest in press sensationalism. One such case study considers the trial of William Sheen, who was prosecuted and later acquitted of the murder of his infant child at the Old Baily in 1827, an extraordinary miscarriage of justice that prompted outrage amongst the general public. Other case studies include trials for treason, theft, obscenity and blasphemy. Nash and Kilday root each of these cases within their relevant historical, cultural, and political contexts, highlighting changing attitudes to popular culture, public criticism, protest and activism as significant factors in the transformation of the criminal trial and the British judicial system as a whole.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary sources, including legal records, newspaper articles and photographs, this book provides a unique insight into the evolution of modern criminal justice in Britain.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Fatal Think Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome, by Emma Southon. New York: Abrams Press, 2021.
“In Ancient Rome, all the best stories have one thing in common—murder. Romulus killed Remus to found the city, Caesar was assassinated to save the Republic. Caligula was butchered in the theater, Claudius was poisoned at dinner, and Galba was beheaded in the Forum. In one 50-year period, 26 emperors were murdered.
But what did killing mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? In A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Emma Southon examines a trove of real-life homicides from Roman history to explore Roman culture, including how perpetrator, victim, and the act itself were regarded by ordinary people. Inside Ancient Rome’s darkly fascinating history, we see how the Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Feminist Critique of Police Stops, by Josephine Ross. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
“A Feminist Critique of Police Stops examines the parallels between stop-and-frisk policing and sexual harassment. An expert whose writing, teaching and community outreach centers on the Constitution’s limits on police power, Howard Law Professor Josephine Ross, argues that our constitutional rights are a mirage. In reality, we can’t say no when police seek to question or search us. Building on feminist principles, Ross demonstrates why the Supreme Court got it wrong when it allowed police to stop, search and sometimes strip-search people and call it consent. Using a wide range of sources – including her law students’ experiences with police, news stories about Eric Garner and Sandra Bland, social science and the work of James Baldwin – Ross sheds new light on policing. This book should be read by everyone interested in how Court-approved police stops sap everyone’s constitutional rights and how this form of policing can be eliminated.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, Necrocitizenship, and the Security State, by Miguel Diaz-Barrriga and Margaret E. Dorsey. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.
“Border walls permeate our world, with more than thirty nation-states constructing them. Anthropologists Margaret E. Dorsey and Miguel Díaz-Barriga argue that border wall construction manifests transformations in citizenship practices that are aimed not only at keeping migrants out but also at enmeshing citizens into a wider politics of exclusion. For a decade, the authors studied the U.S.-Mexico border wall constructed by the Department of Homeland Security and observed the political protests and legal challenges that residents mounted in opposition to the wall. In Fencing in Democracy Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga take us to those border communities most affected by the wall and often ignored in national discussions about border security to highlight how the state diminishes citizens’ rights. That dynamic speaks to the citizenship experiences of border residents that is indicative of how walls imprison the populations they are built to protect. Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga brilliantly expand conversations about citizenship, the operation of U.S. power, and the implications of border walls for the future of democracy.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Fight for Free Speech: Ten Cases that Define Our First Amendment Freedoms, by Ian Rosenberg. New York: New York University Press, 2021.
“Americans today are confronted by a barrage of questions relating to their free speech freedoms. What are libel laws, and do they need to be changed to stop the press from lying? Does Colin Kaepernick have the right to take a knee? Can Saturday Night Live be punished for parody? While citizens are grappling with these questions, they generally have nowhere to turn to learn about the extent of their First Amendment rights.
The Fight for Free Speech answers this call with an accessible, engaging user’s guide to free speech. Media lawyer Ian Rosenberg distills the spectrum of free speech law down to ten critical issues. Each chapter in this book focuses on a contemporary free speech question―from student walkouts for gun safety to Samantha Bee’s expletives, from Nazis marching in Charlottesville to the muting of adult film star Stormy Daniels― and then identifies, unpacks, and explains the key Supreme Court case that provides the answers. Together these fascinating stories create a practical framework for understanding where our free speech protections originated and how they can develop in the future. As people on all sides of the political spectrum are demanding their right to speak and be heard, The Fight for Free Speech is a handbook for combating authoritarianism, protecting our democracy, and bringing an understanding of free speech law to all.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa, by Matthew Gavin Frank. New York: Liveright Publishing, 2021.
“For nearly eighty years, a huge portion of coastal South Africa was closed off to the public. With many of its pits now deemed “overmined” and abandoned, American journalist Matthew Gavin Frank sets out across the infamous Diamond Coast to investigate an illicit trade that supplies a global market. Immediately, he became intrigued by the ingenious methods used in facilitating smuggling – particularly, the illegal act of sneaking carrier pigeons onto mine property, affixing diamonds to their feet, and sending them into the air.
Entering Die Sperrgebiet (“The Forbidden Zone”) is like entering an eerie ghost town, but Frank is surprised by the number of people willing—even eager—to talk with him. Soon he meets Msizi, a young diamond digger, and his pigeon, Bartholomew, who helps him steal diamonds. It’s a deadly game: pigeons are shot on sight by mine security, and Msizi knows of smugglers who have disappeared because of their crimes. For this, Msizi blames “Mr. Lester,” an evil tall-tale figure of mythic proportions.
From the mining towns of Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth, through the “halfway” desert, to Kleinzee’s shores littered with shipwrecks, Frank investigates a long overlooked story. Weaving interviews with local diamond miners who raise pigeons in secret with harrowing anecdotes from former heads of security, environmental managers, and vigilante pigeon hunters, Frank reveals how these feathered bandits became outlaws in every mining town.
Interwoven throughout this obsessive quest are epic legends in which pigeons and diamonds intersect, such as that of Krishna’s famed diamond Koh-i-Noor, the Mountain of Light, and that of the Cherokee serpent Uktena. In these strange connections, where truth forever tangles with the lore of centuries past, Frank is able to contextualize the personal grief that sent him, with his wife Louisa in the passenger seat, on this enlightening journey across parched lands.
Blending elements of reportage, memoir, and incantation, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers is a rare and remarkable portrait of exploitation and greed in one of the most dangerous areas of coastal South Africa. With his sovereign prose and insatiable curiosity, Matthew Gavin Frank “reminds us that the world is a place of wonder if only we look” (Toby Muse).” From Publisher’s Website.
|God’s Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America, by Aaron Griffith. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020.
“America incarcerates on a massive scale. Despite recent reforms, the United States locks up large numbers of people—disproportionately poor and nonwhite—for long periods and offers little opportunity for restoration. Aaron Griffith reveals a key component in the origins of American mass incarceration: evangelical Christianity.
Evangelicals in the postwar era made crime concern a major religious issue and found new platforms for shaping public life through punitive politics. Religious leaders like Billy Graham and David Wilkerson mobilized fears of lawbreaking and concern for offenders to sharpen appeals for Christian conversion, setting the stage for evangelicals who began advocating tough-on-crime politics in the 1960s. Building on religious campaigns for public safety earlier in the twentieth century, some preachers and politicians pushed for “law and order,” urging support for harsh sentences and expanded policing. Other evangelicals saw crime as a missionary opportunity, launching innovative ministries that reshaped the practice of religion in prisons. From the 1980s on, evangelicals were instrumental in popularizing criminal justice reform, making it a central cause in the compassionate conservative movement. At every stage in their work, evangelicals framed their efforts as colorblind, which only masked racial inequality in incarceration and delayed real change.
Today evangelicals play an ambiguous role in reform, pressing for reduced imprisonment while backing law-and-order politicians. God’s Law and Order shows that we cannot understand the criminal justice system without accounting for evangelicalism’s impact on its historical development.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Hacker States, by Luca Follis and Adam Fish. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2020.
In this book, Luca Follis and Adam Fish examine the entanglements between hackers and the state, showing how hackers and hacking moved from being a target of state law enforcement to a key resource for the expression and deployment of state power. Follis and Fish trace government efforts to control the power of the internet; the prosecution of hackers and leakers (including such well-known cases as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Anonymous); and the eventual rehabilitation of hackers who undertake “ethical hacking” for the state. Analyzing the evolution of the state’s relationship to hacking, they argue that state-sponsored hacking ultimately corrodes the rule of law and offers unchecked advantage to those in power, clearing the way for more authoritarian rule.
Follis and Fish draw on a range of methodologies and disciplines, including ethnographic and digital archive methods from fields as diverse as anthropology, STS, and criminology. They propose a novel “boundary work” theoretical framework to articulate the relational approach to understanding state and hacker interactions advanced by the book. In the context of Russian bot armies, the rise of fake news, and algorithmic opacity, they describe the political impact of leaks and hacks, hacker partnerships with journalists in pursuit of transparency and accountability, the increasingly prominent use of extradition in hacking-related cases, and the privatization of hackers for hire.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, by Reuben Jonathan Miller. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2021.
“Each year, more than half a million Americans are released from prison and join a population of twenty million people who live with a felony record.
Reuben Miller, a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and now a sociologist studying mass incarceration, spent years alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners, their friends, and their families to understand the lifelong burden that even a single arrest can entail. What his work revealed is a simple, if overlooked truth: life after incarceration is its own form of prison. The idea that one can serve their debt and return to life as a full-fledge member of society is one of America’s most nefarious myths. Recently released individuals are faced with jobs that are off-limits, apartments that cannot be occupied and votes that cannot be cast.
As The Color of Law exposed about our understanding of housing segregation, Halfway Home shows that the American justice system was not created to rehabilitate. Parole is structured to keep classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society.
Informed by Miller’s experience as the son and brother of incarcerated men, captures the stories of the men, women, and communities fighting against a system that is designed for them to fail. It is a poignant and eye-opening call to arms that reveals how laws, rules, and regulations extract a tangible cost not only from those working to rebuild their lives, but also our democracy. As Miller searchingly explores, America must acknowledge and value the lives of its formerly imprisoned citizens.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Hiding the Guillotine: Public Executions in France, 1870-1939, by Emmanuel Taieb. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.
“Hiding the Guillotine examines the question of state involvement in violence by tracing the evolution of public executions in France. Why did the state move executions from the bloody and public stage of the guillotine to behind prison doors? In a fascinating exploration of a grim subject, Emmanuel Taïeb exposes the rituals and theatrical form of the death penalty and tells us who watched, who participated in, and who criticized (and ultimately brought an end to) a spectacle that the state called “punishment.”
France’s abolition of the death penalty in 1981 has long overshadowed its suppression of public executions over forty years earlier. Since the Revolution, executions attracted tens of thousands of curious onlookers. But, gradually, there was a shift in attitude and the public no longer saw this as a civilized pastime. Why? Combining material from legal archives, police files, an executioner’s notebooks, newspaper clippings, and documents relating to 566 executions, Hiding the Guillotine answers this question.
Taïeb demonstrates the ways in which the media was at the vanguard of putting an end to the publicity surrounding the death penalty. The press had ample reason to be critical: cities were increasingly being used for leisure activity and prisons for those accused of criminal activity. The agitation surrounding each execution, coupled with a growing identification with the condemned, would blur these boundaries. Ranked among the top hundred history books by the website, Café du Web Historizo, Hiding the Guillotine has much to impart to students of legal history, human rights, and criminology, as well as to American historians.” From Publisher’s Website.
|I Died A Million Times: Gangster Noir in Midcentury America, by Robert Miklitsch. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2021.
“In the 1950s, the gangster movie and film noir crisscrossed to create gangster noir. Robert Miklitsch takes readers into this fascinating subgenre of films focused on crime syndicates, crooked cops, and capers.
With the Senate’s organized crime hearings and the brighter-than-bright myth of the American Dream as a backdrop, Miklitsch examines the style and history, and the production and cultural politics, of classic pictures from The Big Heat and The Asphalt Jungle to lesser-known gems like 711 Ocean Drive and post-Fifties movies like Ocean’s Eleven. Miklitsch pays particular attention to trademark leitmotifs including the individual versus the collective; the family as a locus of dissension and rapport; the real-world roots of the heist picture; and the syndicate as an octopus with its tentacles deep into law enforcement, corporate America, and government. If the memes of gangster noir remain prototypically dark, the look of the films becomes lighter and flatter, reflecting the influence of television and the realization that, under the cover of respectability, crime had moved from the underworld into the mainstream of contemporary everyday life.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Law of the Police, by Rachel Harmon. New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2021.
“The Law of the Police is the first book to explore the complex array of federal, state, and local legal rules that govern police encounters with the public. The book is primarily designed to provide materials for law school courses and seminars on policing or courses on criminal procedure that seek to provide a broader understanding of the institutions and laws shaping police practices than traditional casebooks permit. It also offers a resource for academics, lawyers, and others who want to know more about how American law regulates the police and how it might do so differently. In addition to cases, statutes, and policies, the book includes extensive commentary and questions encouraging readers to consider the form and content of the law; how it might change; who is making it; and how the law affects the costs and fairness of policing and the public accountability of police actions.
|Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty, by Maurice Chammah. New York: Crown Publishing, 2021.
“In 1972, the United States Supreme Court made a surprising ruling: the country’s death penalty system violated the Constitution. The backlash was swift, especially in Texas, where executions were considered part of the cultural fabric, and a dark history of lynching was masked by gauzy visions of a tough-on-crime frontier. When executions resumed, Texas quickly became the nationwide leader in carrying out the punishment. Then, amid a larger wave of criminal justice reform, came the death penalty’s decline, a trend so durable that even in Texas the punishment appears again close to extinction.
In Let the Lord Sort Them, Maurice Chammah charts the rise and fall of capital punishment through the eyes of those it touched. We meet Elsa Alcala, the orphaned daughter of a Mexican American family who found her calling as a prosecutor in the nation’s death penalty capital, before becoming a judge on the state’s highest court. We meet Danalynn Recer, a lawyer who became obsessively devoted to unearthing the life stories of men who committed terrible crimes, and fought for mercy in courtrooms across the state. We meet death row prisoners—many of them once-famous figures like Henry Lee Lucas, Gary Graham, and Karla Faye Tucker—along with their families and the families of their victims. And we meet the executioners, who struggle openly with what society has asked them to do. In tracing these interconnected lives against the rise of mass incarceration in Texas and the country as a whole, Chammah explores what the persistence of the death penalty tells us about forgiveness and retribution, fairness and justice, history and myth.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, by Douglas Murray. London: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2020.
“In The Madness of Crowds Douglas Murray investigates the dangers of ‘woke’ culture and the rise of identity politics. In lively, razor-sharp prose he examines the most controversial issues of our moment: sexuality, gender, technology and race, with interludes on the Marxist foundations of ‘wokeness’, the impact of tech and how, in an increasingly online culture, we must relearn the ability to forgive.
One of the few writers who dares to counter the prevailing view and question the dramatic changes in our society – from gender reassignment for children to the impact of transgender rights on women – Murray’s penetrating book clears a path of sanity through the fog of our modern predicament.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-up, BY Jeff Coen. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2021.
“The cold-case murder of John Hughes, the son of a Chicago Outfit member suspected of pulling the trigger, and the efforts of a determined detective to unravel a cover-up.
The grandson and great-grandson of Chicago police officers, Chicago Police Detective James Sherlock was CPD through-and-through. His career had seen its share of twists and turns, from his time working undercover to thwart robberies on Chicago’s L trains to his years as a homicide detective. He thought he had seen it all.
But on this day, he was at the records center to see the case file for the murder of John Hughes, who was seventeen years old when he was gunned down on Chicago’s Southwest Side in 1976. The case’s threads led everywhere: Police corruption. Hints of the Chicago Outfit. A crooked judge. Even the belief that the cover-up extended to “hizzoner” himself—legendary Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley.
A murder that had roiled the city and had been investigated for years had been reduced to a few reports and photographs. What should have been a massive file with notes and transcripts from dozens of interviews was nowhere to be found. Sherlock could have left the records center without the folder and cruised into retirement, and no one would have noticed.
Instead, he tucked the envelope under his arm and carried it outside.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Neighborhood of Fear: The Suburban Crisis in American Culture 1975-2001, by Kyle Riismandel. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020.
“The explosive growth of American suburbs following World War II promised not only a new place to live but a new way of life, one away from the crime and crowds of the city. Yet, by the 1970s, the expected security of suburban life gave way to a sense of endangerment. Perceived, and sometimes material, threats from burglars, kidnappers, mallrats, toxic waste, and even the occult challenged assumptions about safe streets, pristine parks, and the sanctity of the home itself. In Neighborhood of Fear, Kyle Riismandel examines how suburbanites responded to this crisis by attempting to take control of the landscape and reaffirm their cultural authority.
An increasing sense of criminal and environmental threats, Riismandel explains, coincided with the rise of cable television, VCRs, Dungeons & Dragons, and video games, rendering the suburban household susceptible to moral corruption and physical danger. Terrified in almost equal measure by heavy metal music, the Love Canal disaster, and the supposed kidnapping epidemic implied by the abduction of Adam Walsh, residents installed alarm systems, patrolled neighborhoods, built gated communities, cried “Not in my backyard!,” and set strict boundaries on behavior within their homes. Riismandel explains how this movement toward self-protection reaffirmed the primacy of suburban family values and expanded their parochial power while further marginalizing cities and communities of color, a process that facilitated and was facilitated by the politics of the Reagan revolution and New Right.
A novel look at how Americans imagined, traversed, and regulated suburban space in the last quarter of the twentieth century, Neighborhood of Fear shows how the preferences of the suburban middle class became central to the cultural values of the nation and fueled the continued growth of suburban political power.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Neighbourhood Policing: The Rise and Fall of a Policing Model, by Martin Innes, Colin Roberts, Trudy Lowe, and Helen Innes. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Neighbourhood policing is one of the most significant and high profile innovations in UK policing in recent times. It has also been one of the most successful, garnering widespread political and public support for its objectives and the processes of policing that it has sought to embed. Indeed, it has recently been described as the ‘bedrock’ of the British policing model. But it was not always so lauded. At the time of its initial development it encountered considerable opposition and scepticism from both within and outside of the police.
This book tells the story of how and why the neighbourhood policing model was originally designed and implemented, and then, what has led to a decline in its prominence in terms of everyday police practice. To do this, Neighbourhood Policing draws upon unparalleled empirical data from the authors’ ten-year programme of research to provide unique and compelling insights into the key practices and processes associated with the concept and implementation of neighbourhood policing. The chapters describe how: key processes and practices have evolved and matured; the ways neighbourhood policing delivers a range of local policing services; as well as how, in some towns and cities, it has provided a platform for tackling violent extremism and organised crime. This approach is used to set out a broader analytic frame that addresses the conditions under which innovative policing models emerge, are developed and decline. In so doing, the book engages with wider and deeper questions about the police function in contemporary society.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South, by Chip Jones. Gallery Books/Jeter Publishing, 2020.
“In 1968, Bruce Tucker, a black man, went into Virginia’s top research hospital with a head injury, only to have his heart taken out of his body and put into the chest of a white businessman. Now, in The Organ Thieves, Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist Chip Jones exposes the horrifying inequality surrounding Tucker’s death and how he was used as a human guinea pig without his family’s permission or knowledge. The circumstances surrounding his death reflect the long legacy of mistreating African Americans that began more than a century before with cadaver harvesting and worse. It culminated in efforts to win the heart transplant race in the late 1960s.
Featuring years of research and fresh reporting, The Organ Thieves is a story that resonates now more than ever, when issues of race and healthcare are the stuff of headlines and horror stories.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Panic City: Crime and the Fear Industries in Johannesburg, by Martin J. Murray. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020.
“Despite the end of white minority rule and the transition to parliamentary democracy, Johannesburg remains haunted by its tortured history of racial segregation and burdened by enduring inequalities in income, opportunities for stable work, and access to decent housing. Under these circumstances, Johannesburg has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world, where the yawning gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has fueled a turn toward redistribution through crime. While wealthy residents have retreated into heavily fortified gated communities and upscale security estates, the less affluent have sought refuge in retrofitting their private homes into safe houses, closing off public streets, and hiring the services of private security companies to protect their suburban neighborhoods. Panic City is an exploration of urban fear and its impact on the city’s evolving siege architecture, the transformation of policing, and obsession with security that has fueled unprecedented private consumption of ‘protection services.’ Martin Murray analyzes the symbiotic relationship between public law enforcement agencies, private security companies, and neighborhood associations, wherein buyers and sellers of security have reinvented ways of maintaining outdated segregation practices that define the urban poor as suspects.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What It Means for Justice, by David Alan Sklansky. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2021.
“A law professor and former prosecutor reveals how inconsistent ideas about violence, enshrined in law, are at the root of the problems that plague our entire criminal justice system—from mass incarceration to police brutality.
We take for granted that some crimes are violent and others aren’t. But how do we decide what counts as a violent act? David Alan Sklansky argues that legal notions about violence—its definition, causes, and moral significance—are functions of political choices, not eternal truths. And these choices are central to failures of our criminal justice system.
The common distinction between violent and nonviolent acts, for example, played virtually no role in criminal law before the latter half of the twentieth century. Yet to this day, with more crimes than ever called “violent,” this distinction determines how we judge the seriousness of an offense, as well as the perpetrator’s debt and danger to society. Similarly, criminal law today treats violence as a pathology of individual character. But in other areas of law, including the procedural law that covers police conduct, the situational context of violence carries more weight. The result of these inconsistencies, and of society’s unique fear of violence since the 1960s, has been an application of law that reinforces inequities of race and class, undermining law’s legitimacy.
A Pattern of Violence shows that novel legal philosophies of violence have motivated mass incarceration, blunted efforts to hold police accountable, constrained responses to sexual assault and domestic abuse, pushed juvenile offenders into adult prisons, encouraged toleration of prison violence, and limited responses to mass shootings. Reforming legal notions of violence is therefore an essential step toward justice.” From Publisher’s Website.
|“Prison Make Us Safer” and 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration, by Victoria Law. Boston: MA: Beacon Press, 2021.
“The United States incarcerates more of its residents than any other nation. Though home to 5% of the global population, the United States has nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners—a total of over 2 million people. This number continues to steadily rise. Over the past 40 years, the number of people behind bars in the United States has increased by 500%.
Journalist Victoria Law explains how racism and social control were the catalysts for mass incarceration and have continued to be its driving force: from the post-Civil War laws that states passed to imprison former slaves, to the laws passed under the “War Against Drugs” campaign that disproportionately imprison Black people. She breaks down these complicated issues into four main parts:
Through carefully conducted research and interviews with incarcerated people, Law identifies the 21 key myths that propel and maintain mass incarceration, including:
“Prisons Make Us Safer” is a necessary guide for all who are interested in learning about the cause and rise of mass incarceration and how we can dismantle it.” From Publisher’s Website
|The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP by Alex Tresniowski. New York: 37Ink: Simon and Schuster, 2021.
“In the tranquil seaside town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, ten-year-old schoolgirl Marie Smith is brutally murdered. Small town officials, unable to find the culprit, call upon the young manager of a New York detective agency for help. It is the detective’s first murder case, and now, the specifics of the investigation and daring sting operation that caught the killer is captured in all its rich detail for the first time.
Occurring exactly halfway between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the formal beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1954, the brutal murder and its highly-covered investigation sits at the historic intersection of sweeping national forces—religious extremism, class struggle, the infancy of criminal forensics, and America’s Jim Crow racial violence.
History and true crime collide in this sensational murder mystery featuring characters as complex and colorful as those found in the best psychological thrillers—the unconventional truth-seeking detective Ray Schindler; the sinister pedophile Frank Heidemann; the ambitious Asbury Park Sheriff Clarence Hetrick; the mysterious “sting artist,” Carl Neumeister; the indomitable crusader Ida Wells; and the victim, Marie Smith, who represented all the innocent and vulnerable children living in turn-of-the-century America.
Gripping and powerful, The Rope is an important piece of history that gives a voice to the voiceless and resurrects a long-forgotten true crime story that speaks to the very divisions tearing at the nation’s fabric today.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Run Home If You Don’t Want to Be Killed: The Detroit Uprising of 1943, by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2021.
“In the heat of June in 1943, a wave of destructive and deadly civil unrest took place in the streets of Detroit. The city was under the pressures of both wartime industrial production and the nascent civil rights movement, setting the stage for massive turmoil and racial violence. Thirty-four people were killed, most of whom were Black, and over half of these were killed by police. Two thousand people were arrested, and over seven hundred sustained injuries requiring treatment at local hospitals. Property damage was estimated to be nearly $2 million.
With Run Home If You Don’t Want to Be Killed, Rachel Marie-Crane Williams delivers a graphic retelling of the racism and tension leading up to the violence of those summer days. By incorporating firsthand accounts collected by the NAACP and telling them through a combination of hand-drawn images, historical dialogue, and narration, Williams makes the history and impact of these events immediate, and in showing us what happened, she reminds us that many issues of the time—police brutality, state-sponsored oppression, economic disparity, white supremacy—plague our country to this day.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers, by Andy Greenberg. New York: Doubleday/Anchor Books, 2019.
“In 2014, the world witnessed the start of a mysterious series of cyberattacks. Targeting American utility companies, NATO, and electric grids in Eastern Europe, the strikes grew ever more brazen. They culminated in the summer of 2017, when the malware known as NotPetya was unleashed, penetrating, disrupting, and paralyzing some of the world’s largest businesses—from drug manufacturers to software developers to shipping companies. At the attack’s epicenter in Ukraine, ATMs froze. The railway and postal systems shut down. Hospitals went dark. NotPetya spread around the world, inflicting an unprecedented ten billion dollars in damage—the largest, most destructive cyberattack the world had ever seen.
The hackers behind these attacks are quickly gaining a reputation as the most dangerous team of cyberwarriors in history: a group known as Sandworm. Working in the service of Russia’s military intelligence agency, they represent a persistent, highly skilled force, one whose talents are matched by their willingness to launch broad, unrestrained attacks on the most critical infrastructure of their adversaries. They target government and private sector, military and civilians alike.
A chilling, globe-spanning detective story, Sandworm considers the danger this force poses to our national security and stability. As the Kremlin’s role in foreign government manipulation comes into greater focus, Sandworm exposes the realities not just of Russia’s global digital offensive, but of an era where warfare ceases to be waged on the battlefield. It reveals how the lines between digital and physical conflict, between wartime and peacetime, have begun to blur—with world-shaking implications.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Science of Violent Behavior Development and Prevention: Contributions of the Second World War Generation, edited by Richard E. Tremblay. Cambridge, UK: New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021.
“This book describes the lives of 12 people born in Europe and North America during the Second World War. They became leading scholars on the development and prevention of violent human behavior. From the first to the last page, the book introduces contrasting life-stories and shows how their paths crossed to create a relatively unified body of knowledge on how human violence develops and possible prevention methods. The authors describe the similarities and differences in their family background, university training, theories, and collaborations. Not to mention how they differ in research methods, scientific conclusions, and their influence on the research published today. These comparisons celebrate the diversity of their experience and, in turn, their achievements. By knowing this, you can stand on the shoulders of these giants to look to the future of this subject and potentially contribute to its next steps.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Scorched Earth: Environmental Warfare as a Crime against Humanity and Nature, by Emmanuel Kreike. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021.
“The environmental infrastructure that sustains human societies has been a target and instrument of war for centuries, resulting in famine and disease, displaced populations, and the devastation of people’s livelihoods and ways of life. Scorched Earth traces the history of scorched earth, military inundations, and armies living off the land from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, arguing that the resulting deliberate destruction of the environment—”environcide”—constitutes total war and is a crime against humanity and nature.
In this sweeping global history, Emmanuel Kreike shows how religious war in Europe transformed Holland into a desolate swamp where hunger and the black death ruled. He describes how Spanish conquistadores exploited the irrigation works and expansive agricultural terraces of the Aztecs and Incas, triggering a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. Kreike demonstrates how environmental warfare has continued unabated into the modern era. His panoramic narrative takes readers from the Thirty Years’ War to the wars of France’s Sun King, and from the Dutch colonial wars in North America and Indonesia to the early twentieth century colonial conquest of southwestern Africa.
Shedding light on the premodern origins and the lasting consequences of total war, Scorched Earth explains why ecocide and genocide are not separate phenomena, and why international law must recognize environmental warfare as a violation of human rights.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Sex Industry Slavery: Protecting Canada’s Youth, by Robert Chrismas. Toronto, CAN: University of Toronto Press, 2020.
“Sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar international industry that preys on youth. Written by veteran police officer Robert Chrismas, Sex Industry Slavery is an impactful read for anyone who wants to know more about this serious Canadian problem.
Many young women are coerced into oppressive relationships in the sex industry, often starting in childhood. There are numerous barriers and challenges for children who are vulnerable to exploitation as well as for survivors striving to leave the sex industry; however, there are also many opportunities to help them. Based on Chrismas’s award-winning research in Manitoba, this book includes gut-wrenching stories from survivors, social workers, police officers, lawmakers, and activists. Representing decades of collective knowledge, Sex Industry Slavery presents first-hand perspectives on the problem and proposes practical solutions.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Sex Panic Rhetorics: Queer Interventions, by Ian Barnard. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2020.
“In Sex Panic Rhetorics, Queer Interventions, Ian Barnard makes the counter-intuitive argument that contemporary “sex panics” are undergirded by queerphobia, even when the panics in question don’t appear to have much to do with queerness. Barnard presents six case studies that treat a wide range of sex panic rhetorics around child molesters, sex trafficking, transgenderism, incest, queer kids, and pedagogy to demonstrate this argument. By using examples from academic scholarship, political discourse, and popular culture, including the Kevin Spacey scandal and the award-winning film Moonlight, Barnard shows how homophobia and transphobia continue to pervade contemporary Western culture.
Barnard is concerned not so much with looking at the overt homophobia and transphobia that are the more obvious objects of antihomophobic and antitransphobic critique. The author’s focus, rather, is on excavating the significant traces of these panics in a neoliberal culture that has supposedly demonstrated its civility by its embrace of diversity, renunciation of its homophobic past, and attentiveness to the transgender revolution that has swept popular media and political culture in the United States and elsewhere. During a time of increasing conservative backlashes against advancing LGBTQ rights and human rights discourses in general, this book shows why it is important to attend to the liberal covers for sex panics that are not too far removed from their rhetorically conservative cousins.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Shadow of El Centro: A History of Migrant Incarceration and Solidarity, by Jessica Ordaz. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2021.
“Bounded by desert and mountains, El Centro, California, is isolated and difficult to reach. However, its location close to the border between San Diego and Yuma, Arizona, has made it an important place for Mexican migrants attracted to the valley’s agricultural economy. In 1945, it also became home to the El Centro Immigration Detention Camp. The Shadow of El Centro tells the story of how that camp evolved into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service Processing Center of the 2000s and became a national model for detaining migrants—a place where the policing of migration, the racialization of labor, and detainee resistance coalesced.
Using government correspondence, photographs, oral histories, and private documents, Jessica Ordaz reveals the rise and transformation of migrant detention through this groundbreaking history of one detention camp. The story shows how the U.S. detention system was built to extract labor, to discipline, and to control migration, and it helps us understand the long and shadowy history of how immigration officials went from detaining a few thousand unauthorized migrants during the 1940s to confining hundreds of thousands of people by the end of the twentieth century. Ordaz also uncovers how these detained migrants have worked together to create transnational solidarities and innovative forms of resistance.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South, by Ben Montgomery. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2021.
“After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty-five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target was George Dinning, a freed slave who’d farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and who had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning’s home, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.
So began one of the strangest legal episodes in American history — one that ended with Dinning becoming the first Black man in America to win damages after a wrongful murder conviction.
Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery resurrects this dramatic but largely forgotten story, and the unusual convergence of characters — among them a Confederate war hero-turned-lawyer named Bennett H. Young, Kentucky governor William O’Connell Bradley, and George Dinning himself — that allowed this unlikely story of justice to unfold in a time and place where justice was all too rare.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob, by Russell Shorto. New York: W.W. Norton, 2021.
“Best-selling author Russell Shorto, praised for his incisive works of narrative history, never thought to write about his own past. He grew up knowing his grandfather and namesake was a small-town mob boss but maintained an unspoken family vow of silence. Then an elderly relative prodded: You’re a writer—what are you gonna do about the story?
Smalltime is a mob story straight out of central casting—but with a difference, for the small-town mob, which stretched from Schenectady to Fresno, is a mostly unknown world. The location is the brawny postwar factory town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The setting is City Cigar, a storefront next to City Hall, behind which Russ and his brother-in-law, “Little Joe,” operate a gambling empire and effectively run the town.
Smalltime is a riveting American immigrant story that travels back to Risorgimento Sicily, to the ancient, dusty, hill-town home of Antonino Sciotto, the author’s great-grandfather, who leaves his wife and children in grinding poverty for a new life—and wife—in a Pennsylvania mining town. It’s a tale of Italian Americans living in squalor and prejudice, and of the rise of Russ, who, like thousands of other young men, created a copy of the American establishment that excluded him. Smalltime draws an intimate portrait of a mobster and his wife, sudden riches, and the toll a lawless life takes on one family.
But Smalltime is something more. The author enlists his ailing father—Tony, the mobster’s son—as his partner in the search for their troubled patriarch. As secrets are revealed and Tony’s health deteriorates, the book become an urgent and intimate exploration of three generations of the American immigrant experience. Moving, wryly funny, and richly detailed, Smalltime is an irresistible memoir by a masterful writer of historical narrative.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Snatch Racket: The Kidnapping Epidemic that Terrorized 1930s America, by Carolyn Cox. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books, 2021.
“Although the 1932 kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s baby was a worldwide sensation, it was only one of an estimated three thousand ransom kidnappings that occurred in the United States that year. The epidemic hit America during the Great Depression and the last days of Prohibition as criminal gangs turned kidnapping into the highly lucrative “snatch racket.”
Wealthy families and celebrities purchased kidnap insurance, hired armed chauffeurs and bodyguards, and carried loaded handguns. Some sent their children to school or summer camp in Europe to get them out of harm’s way. “Recent Kidnappings in America” was a regular feature in the New York Times, while Time magazine included kidnappings in its weekly list of notable births, deaths, and other milestones.
The Snatch Racket is the story of a crime epidemic that so frightened families that it undermined confidence in law enforcement and government in general. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt waged a three-year War against Kidnappers with J. Edgar Hoover and his G-men (newly empowered to carry weapons and make arrests) on the front lines. This first U.S. war against terrorism revolutionized and modernized law enforcement in the United States, dramatically expanding the powers of the federal government in the fight against not only kidnapping but many new types of interstate crime.
At the heart of the narrative are some of the most iconic names of the twentieth century: Rockefeller, Ford, Lindbergh, Roosevelt, Hoover, Capone, Schwarzkopf, and Hearst, all caught up in the kidnapping frenzy. The Snatch Racket is a spellbinding account of terrifying abductions of prominent citizens, gangsters invading homes with machine guns, the struggles of law enforcement, and the courage of families doing whatever it took to bring home the ransomed.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home, by Richard Bell. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020.
“Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home.
Their ordeal—an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, by Rosa Brooks. New York: Penguin Press, 2021.
“In her forties, with two children, a spouse, a dog, a mortgage, and a full-time job as a tenured law professor at Georgetown University, Rosa Brooks decided to become a cop. A liberal academic and journalist with an enduring interest in law’s troubled relationship with violence, Brooks wanted the kind of insider experience that would help her understand how police officers make sense of their world—and whether that world can be changed. In 2015, against the advice of everyone she knew, she applied to become a sworn, armed reserve police officer with the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department.
Then as now, police violence was constantly in the news. The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum, protests wracked America’s cities, and each day brought more stories of cruel, corrupt cops, police violence, and the racial disparities that mar our criminal justice system. Lines were being drawn, and people were taking sides. But as Brooks made her way through the police academy and began work as a patrol officer in the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods of the nation’s capital, she found a reality far more complex than the headlines suggested.
In Tangled Up in Blue, Brooks recounts her experiences inside the usually closed world of policing. From street shootings and domestic violence calls to the behind-the-scenes police work during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential inauguration, Brooks presents a revelatory account of what it’s like inside the “blue wall of silence.” She issues an urgent call for new laws and institutions, and argues that in a nation increasingly divided by race, class, ethnicity, geography, and ideology, a truly transformative approach to policing requires us to move beyond sound bites, slogans, and stereotypes. An explosive and groundbreaking investigation, Tangled Up in Blue complicates matters rather than simplifies them, and gives pause both to those who think police can do no wrong—and those who think they can do no right.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Tastemakers and Tastemaking: Mexico and Curated Screen Violence, by Niamh Thornton. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2020.
“Tastemakers and Tastemaking develops a new approach to analyzing violence in Mexican films and television by examining the curation of violence in relation to three key moments: the decade-long centennial commemoration of the Mexican Revolution launched in 2010; the assaults and murders of women in Northern Mexico since the late 1990s; and the havoc wreaked by the illegal drug trade since the early 2000s. Niamh Thornton considers how violence is created, mediated, selected, or categorized by tastemakers, through the strategic choices made by institutions, filmmakers, actors, and critics. Challenging assumptions about whose and what kind of work merit attention and traversing normative boundaries between “good” and “bad” taste, Thornton draws attention to the role of tastemaking in both “high” and “low” media, including film cycles and festivals, adaptations of Mariano Azuela’s 1915 novel, Los de Abajo, Amat Escalante’s hyperrealist art films, and female stars of recent genre films and the telenovela, La reina del sur. Making extensive use of videographic criticism, Thornton pays particularly close attention to the gendered dimensions of violence, both on and off screen.” From Publisher’s Website.
|This is How they Tell Us the World Ends: The Cyber-Weapons Arms Race, by Nicole Perlroth. New York: Bloomsbury, 2021.
“Zero day: a software bug that allows a hacker to break into your devices and move around undetected. One of the most coveted tools in a spy’s arsenal, a zero day has the power to silently spy on your iPhone, dismantle the safety controls at a chemical plant, alter an election, and shut down the electric grid (just ask Ukraine).
For decades, under cover of classification levels and non-disclosure agreements, the United States government became the world’s dominant hoarder of zero days. U.S. government agents paid top dollar-first thousands, and later millions of dollars- to hackers willing to sell their lock-picking code and their silence.
Then the United States lost control of its hoard and the market.
Now those zero days are in the hands of hostile nations and mercenaries who do not care if your vote goes missing, your clean water is contaminated, or our nuclear plants melt down.
Filled with spies, hackers, arms dealers, and a few unsung heroes, written like a thriller and a reference, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is an astonishing feat of journalism. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, The New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth lifts the curtain on a market in shadow, revealing the urgent threat faced by us all if we cannot bring the global cyber arms race to heel.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Trafficking: Narcoculture in Mexico and the United States, by Hector Amaya. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.
“In Trafficking Hector Amaya examines how the dramatic escalation of drug violence in Mexico in 2008 prompted new forms of participation in public culture in Mexico and the United States. He contends that, by becoming a site of national and transnational debate about the role of the state, this violence altered the modes publicness could take, transforming assumptions about freedom of expression and the rules of public participation. Amaya examines the practices of narcocorrido musicians who take advantage of digital production and distribution technologies to escape Mexican censors and to share music across the US-Mexico border, as well as anonymous bloggers whose coverage of trafficking and violence from a place of relative safety made them public heroes. These new forms of being in the public sphere, Amaya demonstrates, evolved to exceed the bounds of the state and traditional media sources, signaling the inadequacy of democratic theories of freedom and publicness to understand how violence shapes public discourse.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Uniting Green Criminology and Earth Jurisprudence, by Jack Lampkin. London; New York: Routledge, 2021.
“As planet Earth continues to absorb unprecedented levels of anthropogenically induced environmental and climatic change, two similar academic schools of thought have emerged in recent years, both making sustained efforts to explain how and why this state of affairs has evolved.
These two disciplines are known as green criminology and earth jurisprudence. Whilst these areas of study can be seen as sub-disciplines of their parent subjects, law and criminology, this book proposes that much can be achieved by authors uniting and collaborating on their academic work. By doing this, it is argued that green criminology stands to benefit from a discipline that places mother nature at the heart of lawmaking and therefore providing a solution to the environmental harms identified by green criminologists.
Furthermore, earth jurisprudence will profit from utilising the breadth of academic work produced within the green criminology academic arena. Therefore, this book seeks to unite green criminology and earth jurisprudence in an effort to find solutions to the extraordinary environmental problems that the world now faces.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Unusual Suspect: The Rise and Fall of a Modern-Day Outlaw, by Ben Machell. New York: Ballantine Books, 2021.
“Stephen Jackley was a young British college student when the global financial crisis began in 2007. Overwhelmed by the growing indifference toward economic equality, he became obsessed with the idea of taking on the role of Robin Hood. With no prior experience, he resolved to become a bank robber. He would steal from the rich and give to the poor. Against all likelihood, his plan actually worked.
Jackley used disguises, elaborate escape routes, and fake guns to successfully hold up a string of banks, making away with thousands of pounds. He attempted ten robberies in southwest England over a six-month period. Banknotes marked with “RH”—“Robin Hood”—began finding their way into the hands of the homeless. Motivated by a belief that global capitalism was ruining lives and driving the planet toward ecological disaster, he dreamed of changing the world for the better through his crimes. The police, despite their concerted efforts, had no idea what was going on or who was responsible. That is, until Jackley’s ambition got the better of him.
This is his story.
Acclaimed journalist Ben Machell had full and direct access to Stephen Jackley, who in turn shared his complete set of diaries, selections of which are included throughout the narrative. The result lends an intense intimacy and urgency to Jackley’s daring and disturbing tale, shedding light on his mental state and the challenges he faced in his own mind and beyond. It wasn’t until Jackley was held in custody that he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, resulting in a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.
Behind the simple act of bank robbery lies a complex and emotionally wrought story of an individual whose struggles led him to create a world in which he would succeed against all odds. Until he didn’t.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Vagrant Figures: Law, Literature and the Origins of the Police, by Sal Nicolazzo. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2021.
“In this innovative book demonstrating the important role of eighteenth-century literary treatments of policing and vagrancy, Nicolazzo offers a prehistory of police legitimacy in a period that predates the establishment of the modern police force. She argues that narrative, textual, and rhetorical practices shaped not only police and legal activity of the period, but also public conceptions of police power. Her extensive research delves into law and literature on both sides of the Atlantic, tracking the centrality of vagrancy in establishing police power as a form of sovereignty crucial to settler colonialism, slavery, and racial capitalism. The first book in several generations to address policing and vagrancy in the eighteenth century, and the first in the field to center race and empire in its account of literary vagrancy, Nicolazzo’s work is a significant contribution to the field of eighteenth-century literary and cultural studies.” From Publisher’s Website.
|We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival, edited by Natalie West. New York: Feminist Press, 2021.
“This collection of narrative essays by sex workers presents a crystal-clear rejoinder: there’s never been a better time to fight for justice. Responding to the resurgence of the #MeToo movement in 2017, sex workers from across the industry—hookers and prostitutes, strippers and dancers, porn stars, cam models, Dommes and subs alike—complicate narratives of sexual harassment and violence, and expand conversations often limited to normative workplaces.
Writing across topics such as homelessness, motherhood, and toxic masculinity, We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival gives voice to the fight for agency and accountability across sex industries. With contributions by leading voices in the movement such as Melissa Gira Grant, Ceyenne Doroshow, Audacia Ray, femi babylon, April Flores, and Yin Q, this anthology explores sex work as work, and sex workers as laboring subjects in need of respect—not rescue.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Weapon of Choice: Fighting Gun Violence While Respecting Gun Rights, by Ian Ayres and Fredrick E. Vars. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020.
“Efforts to reduce gun violence in the United States face formidable political and constitutional barriers. Legislation that would ban or broadly restrict firearms runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s current interpretation of the Second Amendment. And gun rights advocates have joined a politically savvy firearms industry in a powerful coalition that stymies reform.
Ian Ayres and Fredrick Vars suggest a new way forward. We can decrease the number of gun deaths, they argue, by empowering individual citizens to choose common-sense gun reforms for themselves. Rather than ask politicians to impose one-size-fits-all rules, we can harness a libertarian approach—one that respects and expands individual freedom and personal choice—to combat the scourge of gun violence.
Ayres and Vars identify ten policies that can be immediately adopted at the state level to reduce the number of gun-related deaths without affecting the rights of gun owners. For example, Donna’s Law, a voluntary program whereby individuals can choose to restrict their ability to purchase or possess firearms, can significantly decrease suicide rates. Amending red flag statutes, which allow judges to restrict access to guns when an individual has shown evidence of dangerousness, can give police flexible and effective tools to keep people safe. Encouraging the use of unlawful possession petitions can help communities remove guns from more than a million Americans who are legally disqualified from owning them. By embracing these and other new forms of decentralized gun control, the United States can move past partisan gridlock and save lives now.” From Publisher’s Website.
|White Fright: The Sexual Panic at the Heart of America’s Racist History, by Jane Dailey. New York: Basic Books, 2020.
“In White Fright, historian Jane Dailey brilliantly reframes our understanding of the long struggle for African American rights. Those fighting against equality were not motivated only by a sense of innate superiority, as is often supposed, but also by an intense fear of black sexuality.
In this urgent investigation, Dailey examines how white anxiety about interracial sex and marriage found expression in some of the most contentious episodes of American history since Reconstruction: in battles over lynching, in the policing of black troops’ behavior overseas during World War II, in the violent outbursts following the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and in the tragic story of Emmett Till. The question was finally settled — as a legal matter — with the Court’s definitive 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage a “fundamental freedom.” Placing sex at the center of our civil rights history, White Fright offers a bold new take on one of the most confounding threads running through American history.” From Publisher’s Website.
|White-Collar and Financial Crimes: A Casebook of Fraudsters, Scam Artists, and Corporate Thieves, by Jennifer C. Noble. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2021.
“Examining a shocking array of fraud, corruption, theft, and embezzlement cases, this vivid collection reveals the practice of detecting, investigating, prosecuting, defending, and resolving white-collar crimes. Each chapter is a case study of an illustrative criminal case and draws on extensive public records around both obscure and high-profile crimes of the powerful, such as money laundering, mortgage fraud, public corruption, securities fraud, environmental crimes, and Ponzi schemes. Organized around a consistent analytic framework, each case tells a unique story and provides an engaging introduction to these complex crimes, while also introducing students to the practical aspects of investigation and prosecution of white-collar offenses. Jennifer C. Noble’s text takes students to the front lines of these vastly understudied crimes, preparing them for future practice and policy work.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Theist. New York: Pegasus Crime, 2020.
“The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist.
In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male. But, as with all things, there is always an outlier—someone who bucks the trend, defying the reliable profiles and leaving investigators and researchers scratching their heads. In the history of major art heists, that outlier is Rose Dugdale.
Dugdale’s life is singularly notorious. Born into extreme wealth, she abandoned her life as an Oxford-trained PhD and heiress to join the cause of Irish Republicanism. While on the surface she appears to be the British version of Patricia Hearst, she is anything but.
Dugdale ran head-first towards the action, spearheading the first aerial terrorist attack in British history and pulling off the biggest art theft of her time. In 1974, she led a gang into the opulent Russborough House in Ireland and made off with millions in prized paintings, including works by Goya, Gainsborough, and Rubens, as well as Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid by the mysterious master Johannes Vermeer. Dugdale thus became—to this day—the only woman to pull off a major art heist. And as Anthony Amore explores in The Woman Who Stole Vermeer, it’s likely that this was not her only such heist.
The Woman Who Stole Vermeer is Rose Dugdale’s story, from her idyllic upbringing in Devonshire and her presentation to Elizabeth II as a debutante to her university years and her eventual radical lifestyle. Her life of crime and activism is at turns unbelievable and awe-inspiring, and sure to engross readers.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Wrongful Conviction in Sexual Assault: Stranger Rape, Acquaintance Rape, and Intra-Familial Child Sexual Assaults, by Matthew Barry Johnson. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Wrongful Conviction in Sexual Assault: Stranger Rape, Acquaintance Rape, and Intra-Familial Child Sexual Assaults examines the phenomenon of innocent defendants who are convicted of rape and related sexual offenses. It presents findings that indicate sexual offenses are highly overrepresented among confirmed wrongful convictions. Drawing from Innocence Project and National Registry of Exoneration data and supplemented by social science and historical sources, the investigation explores various processes that led to wrongful conviction, distinguishing the differential risk of wrongful conviction among stranger rape, acquaintance rape, and intra-familial child sexual assault. The book includes reference to established research on false confessions, eyewitness misidentification, erroneous expert and informant testimony, DNA evidence, racial bias, and “manufactured” evidence. The work also introduces new terms and concepts (such as “black box” investigation methods, the stranger rape thesis, the moral outrage–moral correction process, “spontaneous misidentification,” victim status paths, the differential investigation challenge related to capable vs. incapacitated rape victims, and the role of serial sexual offending in wrongful conviction) to clarify and illustrate unique aspects of wrongful conviction in sexual assault.” From Publisher’s Website.