Books Received
September 2020

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.

14 Miles: Building the Border Wall, by DW Gibson. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020.

“In August of 2019, Donald Trump finished building his border wall—at least a portion of it. In San Diego, the Army Corps of engineers completed two years of construction on a 14-mile steel beamed barrier that extends eighteen-feet high and cost a staggering $147 million. As one border patrol agent told reporters visiting the site, “It was funded and approved and it was built under his administration. It is Trump’s wall.” 14 Miles is a definitive account of all the dramatic construction, showing readers what it feels like to stand on both sides of the border looking up at the imposing and controversial barrier.

After the Department of Homeland Security announced an open call for wall prototypes in 2017, DW Gibson, an award-winning journalist and Southern California native, began visiting the construction site and watching as the prototype samples were erected. Gibson spent those two years closely observing the work and interviewing local residents to understand how it was impacting them. These include April McKee, a border patrol agent leading a recruiting program that trains teenagers to work as agents; Jeff Schwilk, a retired Marine who organizes pro-wall rallies as head of the group San Diegans for Secure Borders; Roque De La Fuente, an eccentric millionaire developer who uses the construction as a promotional opportunity; and Civile Ephedouard, a Haitian refugee who spent two years migrating through Central America to the United States and anxiously awaits the results of his asylum case.

Fascinating, propulsive, and incredibly timely, 14 Miles is an important work that explains not only how the wall has reshaped our landscape and countless lives but also how its shadow looms over our very identity as a nation.” From Publisher’s Website.

Also Serving Time: Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Correctional Officers, by Rosemary Ricciardelli. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019.

Also Serving Time informs readers about the realities of provincial and territorial prison work in Canada. Exploring the nuances of the job, Rosemary Ricciardelli shows how officer orientations and attitudes toward prisoners are interconnected and foundational in shaping their own experiences as well as those of managerial and administrative staff and prisoners themselves. Drawing on interviews with one hundred correctional officers with experience in a range of provincial and territorial prisons, Ricciardelli provides theoretical and applied explorations of officer orientations, interpretations, and risk propensity to show how perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs – both at the individual and structural levels – shape prison practices.

Detailing officers’ experiences working with male and female adult prison populations, Also Serving Time unpacks how gender informs the actions and self-presentation of correctional officers. Ricciardelli confirms that tasks of daily living underpinned by pervasive risk potential shape prison work. Through the officer accounts presented, the book provides an opportunity for readers to explore how punishment and “rehabilitation,” gender, and the hierarchical structure of prison management together shape officers’ daily realities.” From Publisher’s Website.

Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America, by Philip Shrag. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.

“For decades, advocates for refugee children and families have fought to end the U.S. government’s practice of jailing children and families for months, or even years, until overburdened immigration courts could rule on their claims for asylum. Baby Jails is the history of that legal and political struggle. Philip G. Schrag, the director of Georgetown University’s asylum law clinic, takes readers through thirty years of conflict over which refugee advocates resisted the detention of migrant children. The saga began during the Reagan administration when 15-year-old Jenny Lisette Flores languished in a Los Angeles motel that the government had turned into a makeshift jail by draining the swimming pool, barring the windows, and surrounding the building with barbed wire. What became known as the Flores Settlement Agreement was still at issue years later, when the Trump administration resorted to the forced separation of families after the courts would not allow long-term jailing of the children. Schrag provides recommendations for the reform of a system that has brought anguish and trauma to thousands of parents and children. Provocative and timely, Baby Jails exposes the ongoing struggle between the U.S. government and immigrant advocates over the duration and conditions of confinement of children who seek safety in America.” From Publisher’s Website.

Betraying Dignity: The Toxic Seduction of Social Media, Shaming, and Radicalization, by Orit Kamir. Vancouver: Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 2019.

“What do medieval knights, suicide bombers and “victimhood culture” have in common? Betraying Dignity argues that in the second decade of the twenty-first century, individuals, political parties and nations around the world are abandoning the dignity-based culture we established in the aftermath of two world wars, less than a century ago. Disappointed or intimidated, many turn their backs on the humanitarian, universalistic culture that presumes our inherent human dignity and celebrates it as the basis of every individual’s equal human rights. Instead, people and nations are returning to a much older, honor-based cultural structure. Because its ancient logic and mentality take new forms (such as social network shaming and certain aspects of “victimhood culture”) — we fail to recognize them, and overlook the pitfalls of the old honor-based structure. Narrating the history of honor-based societies, this book distinguishes their underlying principle from the post-WWII notion of dignity that underlies human rights. It makes the case that in order to revive and strengthen dignity-based culture, the concept of human dignity must be defined narrowly and succinctly, and enhanced with the principle of respect. Continuing its historical and cultural narrative, the book discusses contemporary phenomena such as al-Qaeda terrorists, shaming via social network, FoMO, and some features of the emerging “victimhood culture”. The book pays homage to Erich Fromm’s classic Escape from Freedom.” From Publisher’s Website.

Black Lives and Spatial Matters: Policing Blackness and Practicing Freedom in Suburban St. Louis, by Jodi Rios. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.

Black Lives and Spatial Matters is a call to reconsider the epistemic violence that is committed when scholars, policymakers, and the general public continue to frame Black precarity as just another racial, cultural, or ethnic conflict that can be solved solely through legal, political, or economic means. Jodi Rios argues that the historical and material production of blackness-as-risk is foundational to the historical and material construction of our society and certainly foundational to the construction and experience of metropolitan space. She also considers how an ethics of lived blackness—living fully and visibly in the face of forces intended to dehumanize and erase—can create a powerful counter point to blackness-as-risk.

Using a transdisciplinary methodology, Black Lives and Spatial Matters studies cultural, institutional, and spatial politics of race in North St. Louis County, Missouri, as a set of practices that are intimately connected to each other and to global histories of race and race-making. As such, the book adds important insight into the racialization of metropolitan space and people in the United States. The arguments presented in this book draw from fifteen years of engaged research in North St. Louis County and rely on multiple disciplinary perspectives and local knowledge in order to study relationships between interconnected practices and phenomena.” From Publisher’s Website.

Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an Mexican Outlaw, by Charles Leerhsen. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2020.

“For more than a century the life and death of Butch Cassidy have been the subject of legend, spawning a small industry of mythmakers and a major Hollywood film. But who was Butch Cassidy, really? Charles Leerhsen, bestselling author of Ty Cobb, sorts out facts from folklore and paints a brilliant portrait of the celebrated outlaw of the American West.

Born into a Mormon family in Utah, Robert Leroy Parker grew up dirt poor and soon discovered that stealing horses and cattle was a fact of life in a world where small ranchers were being squeezed by banks, railroads, and cattle barons. Sometimes you got caught, sometimes you got lucky. A charismatic and more than capable cowboy—even ranch owners who knew he was a rustler said they would hire him again—he adopted the alias “Butch Cassidy,” and moved on to a new moneymaking endeavor: bank robbery. By all accounts, Butch was a smart and considerate thief, refusing to take anything from customers and insisting that no one be injured during his heists. His “Wild Bunch” gang specialized in clever getaways, stationing horses at various points along their escape route so they could outrun any posse. Eventually Butch and his gang graduated to train robberies, which were more lucrative. But the railroad owners hired the Pinkerton Agency, whose detectives pursued Butch and his gang relentlessly, until he and his then partner Harry Longabaugh (The Sundance Kid) fled to South America, where they replicated the cycle of ranching, rustling, and robbery until they met their end in Bolivia.

In Butch Cassidy, Charles Leerhsen shares his fascination with how criminals such as Butch deftly maneuvered between honest work and thievery, battling the corporate interests that were exploiting the settlers, and showing us in vibrant prose the Old West as it really was, in all its promise and heartbreak.” From Publisher’s Website.

China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Book and Vast Corruption, by Yuen Yuen Ang. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

“Why has China grown so fast for so long despite vast corruption? In China’s Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang argues that not all types of corruption hurt growth, nor do they cause the same kind of harm. Ang unbundles corruption into four varieties: petty theft, grand theft, speed money, and access money. While the first three types impede growth, access money – elite exchanges of power and profit – cuts both ways: it stimulates investment and growth but produces serious risks for the economy and political system. Since market opening, corruption in China has evolved toward access money. Using a range of data sources, the author explains the evolution of Chinese corruption, how it differs from the West and other developing countries, and how Xi’s anti-corruption campaign could affect growth and governance. In this formidable yet accessible book, Ang challenges one-dimensional measures of corruption. By unbundling the problem and adopting a comparative-historical lens, she reveals that the rise of capitalism was not accompanied by the eradication of corruption, but rather by its evolution from thuggery and theft to access money. In doing so, she changes the way we think about corruption and capitalism, not only in China but around the world.” From Publisher’s Website.

A City Divided: Race, Fear and the Law in Police Confrontations, by David A. Harris. New York: Anthem Press, 2020.

“When a high school honors student emerges from a police confrontation outside his home bruised and beaten, and facing serious criminal charges, an American city erupts in protests. A long quest for justice begins. “A City Divided” uncovers what happened and examines if race, fear and police conduct answer key questions that have become all too familiar. What goes wrong in these police confrontations and why? Can the courts find justice? And how can we prevent these tragedies in the future?” From Publisher’s Website.

Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories and Legacies. by Rhonda L Hinther; Jim Mochoruk. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.

“Civilian Internment in Canada initiates a conversation about not only internment, but also about the laws and procedures—past and present—which allow the state to disregard the basic civil liberties of some of its most vulnerable citizens. Exploring the connections, contrasts, and continuities across the broad range of civilian internments in Canada, this collection seeks to begin a conversation about the laws and procedures that allow the state to criminalize and deny the basic civil liberties of some of its most vulnerable citizens. It brings together multiple perspectives on the varied internment experiences of Canadians and others from the days of World War One to the present.

This volume offers a unique blend of personal memoirs of “survivors” and their descendants, alongside the work of community activists, public historians, and scholars, all of whom raise questions about how and why in Canada basic civil liberties have been (and, in some cases, continue to be) denied to certain groups in times of perceived national crises.” From Publisher’s Website.

Colonialism in Crime, by Marianne O. Nielsen and Linda M. Robyn. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2019.

“There is powerful evidence that the colonization of Indigenous people was and is a crime, and that that crime is on-going. Achieving historical colonial goals often meant committing acts that were criminal even at the time. The consequences of this oppression and criminal victimization is perhaps the critical factor explaining why Indigenous people today are overrepresented as victims and offenders in the settler colonist criminal justice systems. This book presents an analysis of the relationship between these colonial crimes and their continuing criminal and social consequences that exist today. The authors focus primarily on countries colonized by Britain, especially the United States. Social harm theory, human rights covenants, and law are used to explain the criminal aspects of the historical laws and their continued effects. The final chapter looks at the responsibilities of settler-colonists in ameliorating these harms and the actions currently being taken by Indigenous people themselves.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Color Line: A Short Introduction, by David Lyons. New York: Routledge, 2019.

“The Color Line provides a concise history of the role of race and ethnicity in the US, from the early colonial period to the present, to reveal the public policies and private actions that have enabled racial subordination and the actors who have fought against it.

Focusing on Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino Americans, it explores how racial subordination developed in the region, how it has been resisted and opposed, and how it has been sustained through independence, the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and subsequent reforms. The text also considers the position of European immigrants to the US, interrogates relevant moral issues, and identifies persistent problems of public policy, arguing that all four centuries of racial subordination are relevant to understanding contemporary America and some of its most urgent issues.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of American history, the history of race and ethnicity, and other related courses in the humanities and social sciences.” From Publisher’s Website.

Comparative Capital Punishment, edited by Carol S. Steiker and Jordan Steiker. Burlington, VT: E. Elgar, 2019.

“Comparative Capital Punishment offers a set of in-depth, critical and comparative contributions addressing death practices around the world. Despite the dramatic decline of the death penalty in the last half of the twentieth century, capital punishment remains in force in a substantial number of countries around the globe.

This research handbook explores both the forces behind the stunning recent rejection of the death penalty, as well as the changing shape of capital practices where it is retained. The expert contributors address the social, political, economic, and cultural influences on both retention and abolition of the death penalty and consider the distinctive possibilities and pathways to worldwide abolition.

Scholars in the fields of law, sociology, political science and history, as well as human rights lawyers, abolitionists, law makers and judges who wish to remain up-to-date on changing death penalty practices will need Comparative Capital Punishment on their reading list.” From Publisher’s Website.

Confronting Penal Excess: Retribution and the Politics of Penal Minimalism., by David Hayes. Oxford, UK; New York: Hart, 2019.

“This monograph considers the correlation between the relative success of retributive penal policies in English-speaking liberal democracies since the 1970s, and the practical evidence of increasingly excessive reliance on the penal State in those jurisdictions.

It sets out three key arguments. First, that increasingly excessive conditions in England and Wales over the last three decades represent a failure of retributive theory. Second, that the penal minimalist cause cannot do without retributive proportionality, at least in comparison to the limiting principles espoused by rehabilitation, restorative justice and penal abolitionism. Third, that another retributivism is therefore necessary if we are to confront penal excess. The monograph offers a sketch of this new approach, ‘late retributivism’, as both a theory of punishment and of minimalist political action, within a democratic society.

Centrally, criminal punishment is approached as both a political act and a policy choice. Consequently, penal theorists must take account of contemporary political contexts in designing and advocating for their theories. Although this inquiry focuses primarily on England and Wales, its models of retributivism and of academic contribution to democratic penal policy-making are relevant to other jurisdictions, too.” From Publisher’s Website.

Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism, edited by Stefanie Von Hlatky. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020.

“Since 9/11, counterterrorism has become a national and international priority. Research on violent extremism and terrorism, from homegrown threats to foreign fighters, has adapted accordingly but has not always translated into policymaking. Extremism can be traced to no single cause, and yet governments and law-enforcement agencies continue to spend millions on prevention efforts.

Contributors to this book identify persistent challenges for counterterrorism and countering violent extremism and provide analysis from a variety of academic and professional perspectives. Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism cautions against adopting a causal model to understand violent extremism and takes a critical look at how states have managed to cope with the global phenomenon of terrorism. By drawing on the expertise of researchers and practitioners from government, law enforcement, and the military, contributors identify past failures and offer guidance on how to correct these mistakes. With the collective goal of developing more effective strategies, the authors dispel common myths, discard counterproductive tactics, and point to countries in which policies have functioned as intended. As some terrorist organizations’ influence wanes, others innovate and thrive, further challenging a state apparatus that is slow to adapt to these mutating threats.

An essential and timely book, Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism seeks to change how governments and policymakers consider and respond to security threats.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Criminology of Boxing, Violence and Desistance, by Deborah Jump. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press, 2021.

“Can the boxing gym be recognised as an effective space for supporting desistance?

Exploring the psychosocial manifestations of boxing, this enlightening study reviews conflicting evidence to determine boxing’s place in the criminal justice system.

Drawing upon the empirical insights, with case studies of participants’ backgrounds and their motivations for taking up the sport, Jump measures the value of the discipline, as well as the respect and fraternity that some claim boxing provides for young men. This is a perceptive addition to the debate about sport’s role in criminal desistance that delves deep into themes of masculinity and violence.” From Publisher’s Website.

Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed, by David Farber. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

“A shattering account of the crack cocaine years from award-winning American historian David Farber, Crack tells the story of the young men who bet their lives on the rewards of selling ‘rock’ cocaine, the people who gave themselves over to the crack pipe, and the often-merciless authorities who incarcerated legions of African Americans caught in the crack cocaine underworld. Based on interviews, archival research, judicial records, underground videos, and prison memoirs, Crack explains why, in a de-industrializing America in which market forces ruled and entrepreneurial risk-taking was celebrated, the crack industry was a lucrative enterprise for the ‘Horatio Alger boys’ of their place and time. These young, predominately African American entrepreneurs were profit-sharing partners in a deviant, criminal form of economic globalization. Hip Hop artists often celebrated their exploits but overwhelmingly, Americans – across racial lines -did not. Crack takes a hard look at the dark side of late twentieth-century capitalism.” From Publisher’s Website.

Critical Reflections on Evidence-Based Policing, edited by Nigel Fielding; Karen Bullock; Simon Holdaway;. London; New York: Routledge, 2019.

“Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) has over the last decade made an increasing mark in several fields, notably health and medicine, education and social welfare. In recent years it has begun to make its mark in criminal justice. As engagement with EBP has spread, it has begun to evolve from what might be regarded as a somewhat narrow doctrine and orthodoxy to something more complex and various. Often criminological research has been at odds with the assumptions, conventions and methodologies associated with first generation EBP. In that context EBP poses a challenge to the research community and existing evidence base and is, accordingly, hotly controversial.

This book is a welcome and timely contribution to current debates on evidence-based practice in policing. With a sharp conceptual focus, the chapters provide a critical examination of the recent history of EBP in academic, policy and practitioner communities, evaluate key dimensions of its application to policing, challenge established understandings and pave the way for a much needed change in how research ‘evidence’ is perceived, generated, transferred, implemented and evaluated.” From Publisher’s Website.

“Crossover” Children in the Youth Justice and Child Protection Systems, by Susan Baidawi and Rosemary Sheehan. London; New York: Routledge, 2020.

“”Crossover” Children in the Youth Justice and Child Protection Systems explores the outcomes faced by the group of children who experience involvement with both child protection and youth justice systems across several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Situated against a backdrop of international evidence and grounded in a two-year study with the Children’s Court in Victoria, Australia, this book presents a cohesive picture of the backgrounds, characteristics, and pathways traversed by crossover children. It presents statistical data from 300 crossover Children’s Court case files, alongside the expert evidence of 82 professionals, to generate a comprehensive picture of the lives of crossover children, and the individual and systemic challenges that they face. The book investigates the crucial question of why some children involved with child welfare systems experience particularly poor criminal justice outcomes, demonstrating how the convergence of cumulative childhood adversity, complex support needs, and systemic disadvantage produces acutely damaging outcomes for some crossover youth. It outlines the implications of the study, including how these findings might shape diversion and differential justice system responses to child protection-involved youth, and the innovative approaches adopted internationally to avert the care to custody pathway.

This book is internationally relevant and will be of great interest to students and scholars of criminology and law, social work, psychology, and sociology, as well as legal, welfare, and government agencies and policy developers, non-government peak bodies and services, professional probation services, case managers, health and mental health services, disability and drug treatment agencies, and others who work with both young offenders and the design and implementation of policy and legislation.” From Publisher’s Website.

Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers, by Doug J. Swanson. New York: Viking, 2020.

“The Texas Rangers came to life in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico. Nearly 200 years later, the Rangers are still going–one of the most famous of all law enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson has written a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles their epic, daring escapades while showing how the white and propertied power structures of Texas used them as enforcers, protectors and officially sanctioned killers.

Cult of Glory begins with the Rangers’ emergence as conquerors of the wild and violent Texas frontier. They fought the fierce Comanches, chased outlaws, and served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. As Texas developed, the Rangers were called upon to catch rustlers, tame oil boomtowns, and patrol the perilous Texas-Mexico border. In the 1930s they began their transformation into a professionally trained police force.

Countless movies, television shows, and pulp novels have celebrated the Rangers as Wild West supermen. In many cases, they deserve their plaudits. But often the truth has been obliterated. Swanson demonstrates how the Rangers and their supporters have operated a propaganda machine that turned agency disasters and misdeeds into fables of triumph, transformed murderous rampages–including the killing of scores of Mexican civilians–into valorous feats, and elevated scoundrels to sainthood. Cult of Glory sets the record straight.

Beginning with the Texas Indian wars, Cult of Glory embraces the great, majestic arc of Lone Star history. It tells of border battles, range disputes, gunslingers, massacres, slavery, political intrigue, race riots, labor strife, and the dangerous lure of celebrity. And it reveals how legends of the American West–the real and the false–are truly made.” From Publisher’s Website.

Deep Delta Justice: A Black Teen, His Lawyer, and the Groundbreaking Battle for Civil Rights in the South, by Matthew Van Meter. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2020.

“In 1966 in a small town in Louisiana, a 19-year-old black man named Gary Duncan pulled his car off the road to stop a fight. Duncan was arrested a few minutes later for the crime of putting his hand on the arm of a white child. Rather than accepting his fate, Duncan found Richard Sobol, a brilliant, 29-year-old lawyer from New York who was the only white attorney at “the most radical law firm” in New Orleans. Against them stood one of the most powerful white supremacists in the South, a man called simply “The Judge.”

In this powerful work of character-driven history, journalist Matthew Van Meter vividly brings alive how a seemingly minor incident brought massive, systemic change to the criminal justice system. Using first-person interviews, in-depth research and a deep knowledge of the law, Van Meter shows how Gary Duncan’s insistence on seeking justice empowered generations of defendants-disproportionately poor and black-to demand fair trials. Duncan v. Louisiana changed American law, but first it changed the lives of those who litigated it.” From Publisher’s Website.

Degrees of Freedom: Prison Education at the Open University, edited by Rod Earle and James Mehigan. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press, 2020.

“The first authoritative volume to look back on the last 50 years of The Open University providing higher education to those in prison, this unique book gives voice to ex-prisoners whose lives have been transformed by the education they received. Offering vivid personal testimonies, reflective vignettes and academic analysis of prison life and education in prison, the book marks the 50th anniversary of The Open University.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants, by Adam Goodman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.

“Constant headlines about deportations, detention camps, and border walls drive urgent debates about immigration and what it means to be an American in the twenty-first century. The Deportation Machine traces the long and troubling history of the US government’s systematic efforts to terrorize and expel immigrants over the past 140 years. This provocative, eye-opening book provides needed historical perspective on one of the most pressing social and political issues of our time.

In a sweeping and engaging narrative, Adam Goodman examines how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion, from Chinese and Europeans at the turn of the twentieth century to Central Americans and Muslims today. He reveals how authorities have singled out Mexicans, nine out of ten of all deportees, and removed most of them not by orders of immigration judges but through coercive administrative procedures and calculated fear campaigns. Goodman uncovers the machine’s three primary mechanisms—formal deportations, “voluntary” departures, and self-deportations—and examines how public officials have used them to purge immigrants from the country and exert control over those who remain. Exposing the pervasive roots of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, The Deportation Machine introduces the politicians, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and ordinary citizens who have pushed for and profited from expulsion.

This revelatory book chronicles the devastating human costs of deportation and the innovative strategies people have adopted to fight against the machine and redefine belonging in ways that transcend citizenship.” From Publisher’s Website.

Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization in the Digital Age, by Brian Jefferson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

“Brian Jefferson explores the history of digital computing and criminal justice, revealing how big tech, computer scientists, university researchers, and state actors have digitized carceral governance over the past forty years. He shows how digital technology has expanded the wars on crime and drugs, enabling our current state of mass incarceration and further entrenching the nation’s racialized policing and punishment.” From Publisher’s Website.

Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic, by Harry Wiland with Peter Segall. Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing, 2019.

“Based on the NPT three-part mini series of the same name, Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic follows author and director Harry Wiland as he works to unearth the history and truth behind America’s rampant opioid crisis and investigates how this crisis ballooned into an epidemic fueled by Big Pharma’s ploys, the medical community’s obliviousness, and policymakers’ lack of oversight. Do No Harm also spotlights experts, journalists, and public health crusaders who are combating the special interests of Big Pharma and informing the world about how an aggressive, mass pharmaceutical marketing campaign for the drug OxyContin misled doctors and the public into our current crisis of death and addiction. Wiland highlights the stories of those hit hardest by prescription opioid addiction and overdose deaths and sheds light on how whole communities have been ravaged by the spread of addiction.” From Publisher’s Website.

Dopeworld: Adventures in the Global Drug Trade, by Niko Vorobyov. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2020.

“In this irreverent ode to gonzo journalism, one writer travels the globe to explore the use of recreational drugs in cultures around the world.

After I got out of jail, I was determined to find out more about how the issue of drugs not only landed me there, but has shaped the entire world: wars, scandals, coups, revolutions. I read every book, watched every documentary. I saved up to buy plane tickets. I went to Colombia, Mexico, Russia, Italy, Japan and the Afghan border—all in all, fifteen countries across five continents.

Call me Narco Polo.

Just as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations did for the world of food, Dopeworld is an intoxicating journey into the world of drugs. From the cocaine farms in South America to the streets of Manila, Dopeworld traces the emergence of psychoactive substances and our intimate relationship with them. As a former drug dealer turned subversive scholar, with unparalleled access to drug lords, cartel leaders, street dealers and government officials, journalist Niko Vorobyov attempts to shine a light on the dark underbelly of the drug world.

At once a bold piece of journalism and a hugely entertaining travelogue, Dopeworld is a brilliant and enlightening journey across the world, revealing how drug use is at the heart of our history, our lives, and our future.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Eighth Amendment and Its Future in a New Age of Punishment, edited by Meghan J. Ryan and William W. Berry III. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

“This book provides a theoretical and practical exploration of the constitutional bar against cruel and unusual punishments, excessive bail, and excessive fines. It explores the history of this prohibition, the current legal doctrine, and future applications of the Eighth Amendment. With contributions from the leading academics and experts on the Eighth Amendment and the wide range of punishments and criminal justice actors it touches, this volume addresses constitutional theory, legal history, federalism, constitutional values, the applicable legal doctrine, punishment theory, prison conditions, bail, fines, the death penalty, juvenile life without parole, execution methods, prosecutorial misconduct, race discrimination, and law & science.” From Publisher’s Website.

Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher: Hunting America’s Deadliest Unidentified Serial Killer at the Dawn of Modern Criminology, by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz. New York: William Morrow, 2020.

“In the spirit of Devil in the White City comes a true detective tale of the highest standard: the haunting story of Eliot Ness’s forgotten final case–his years-long hunt for “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” a serial killer who terrorized Cleveland through the Great Depression.

In 1934, the nation’s most legendary crime-fighter–fresh from taking on the greatest gangster in American history–arrived in Cleveland, a corrupt and dangerous town about to host a world’s fair. It was to be his coronation, as well as the city’s. Instead, terror descended, as headless bodies started turning up. The young detective, already battling the mob and crooked cops, found his drive to transform American policing subverted by a menace largely unknown to law enforcement: a serial murderer.

Eliot Ness’s greatest case had begun.

Now, Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz–the acclaimed writing team behind Scarface and the Untouchable–uncover this lost crime epic, delivering a gripping and unforgettable nonfiction account based on decades of groundbreaking research.

Ness had risen to fame in 1931 for leading the “Untouchables,” which helped put Chicago’s Al Capone behind bars. As Cleveland’s public safety director, in charge of the police and fire departments, Ness offered a radical new vision for better law enforcement. Crime-ridden and devastated by the Depression, Cleveland was preparing for a star-turn itself: in 1936, it would host the “Great Lakes Exposition,” which would be visited by seven million people. Late in the summer of 1934, however, pieces of a woman’s body began washing up on the Lake Erie shore–first her ribs, then part of her backbone, then the lower half of her torso. The body count soon grew to five, then ten, then more, all dismembered in gruesome ways.

As Ness zeroed in on a suspect–a doctor tied to a prominent political family? powerful forces thwarted his quest for justice. In this battle between a flawed hero and a twisted monster–by turns horror story, political drama, and detective thriller? Collins and Schwartz find an American tragedy, classic in structure, epic in scope.” From Publisher’s Website.

Everybody Knows: Corruption in America, by Sarah Chayes. New York: Hurst, 2020.

“America is corrupted, and everybody knows it. Vested interests have bent government powers to serve themselves, not the citizens, with dizzying resultsegregious Supreme Court rulings, revolving doors and cozy deals between the state and the private sector, and forty years of financial meltdowns.

In this blistering book, Sarah Chayes shows that today’s corruption—even the venality of the Trump administration—is part of global history, going back to the invention of money itself. We’re not dealing with ‘bad apples’ lining individual pockets, but the widespread standard practice of sophisticated networks spanning political and national boundaries. But we can change this, individually, collectively and politically.

Searching and unflinching, Everybody Knows exposes a rigged system that strangles democracy, calling on readers everywhere to challenge it.” From Publisher’s Website.

Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds, by Nancy Moses. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

“What’s real? What’s fake? Why do we care?

In this time of false news and fake science, these questions are more important than ever. Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds goes beyond the headlines, tweets, and blogs to explore the true nature of authenticity and why it means so much today.

This book delivers nine fascinating true stories that introduce the fakers, forgers, art authenticators, and others that populate this dark world. Examples include:

  • Shakespeare—How an enterprising teenager in the 1790s faked Shakespeare and duped Literary London.
  • Rembrandt—How art history, connoisseurship, and science are re-shaping our view of what Rembrandt painted and how the canvas changed over time.
  • Relics—Was Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, a real Roman teenager who was martyred 1,800 years ago in the same place where her church stands today?
  • Jackson Pollock—How do experts pick out the real Pollocks from the thousands of fakes?
  • Nuremberg—How repeated reconstructions of medieval Nuremburg—including one by Adolf Hitler—show how historic preservation became a tool for propaganda.

Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds also raises provocative questions about the meaning of reality. What happens when spiritual truth conflicts with historic fact? Can an object retain its essence when most of it was replaced? Why did some art patrons value an excellent copy more than the original? Why do we find fakes so eternally fascinating, and forgers such appealing con artists?

Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds is a full-color book with 30 color photos. It shows that reality, exemplified by discrete physical objects, is actually mutable, unsettling, and plainly weird. Readers discover things that are less than meets the eye—and might even reconsider what’s real, what’s fake, and why they should care.” From Publisher’s Website.

Fear, Society, and the Police, by Dale L. June. New York: Routledge, 2020.

“Fear, Society, and the Police examines elements of fear and how they can be controlled and turned into an effective and proper response in an emergency situation. Readers of this book will be exposed to ways fear can become an uncontrolled emotion, often leading to unnecessary acts of violence, and will examine ways and means of using reasoning to overcome unfounded fear.

The author encourages readers to critically assess circumstances in today’s society that have caused fear, unrest, and division between the enforcers of law and the people they are sworn to protect. Providing examples of how violence in society has had an impact on police–community relations, this book examines the many facets of fear from several perspectives, including historical, personal, and institutional. Security management courses concentrate on the “how and why” of security, yet to become an effective professional security specialist it is recommended the practitioner become educated in the nuances of fear. This book presents a look into the how and why of fear, and will relate to security personnel as it does to police officers.

The book brings perspectives based on reality and experience. It will be of interest not only to those who work in law enforcement, but also to students in criminal justice, management and leadership, psychology, and sociology courses. As violence in society escalates, professionalism will require more understanding of fear-based emotions.” From Publisher’s Website.

Feminist Engagement with International Criminal Law: Norm Transfer, Complementarity, Rape and Consent, by Eithne Dowds. London: Hart, 2019.

“This work introduces and further develops the feminist strategy of ‘norm transfer’: the proposal that feminist informed standards created at the level of international criminal law make their way into domestic contexts. Situating this strategy within the complementarity regime of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it is argued that there is an opportunity for dialogue and debate around the contested aspects of international norms as opposed to uncritical acceptance. The book uses the crime of rape as a case study and offers a new perspective on one of the most contentious debates within international and domestic criminal legal feminism: the relationship between consent and coercion in the definition of rape. In analysing the ICC definition of rape, it is argued that the omission of consent as an explicit element is flawed. Arguing that the definition is in need of revision to explicitly include a context-sensitive notion of consent, the book goes further, setting out draft legislative amendments to the ICC ‘Elements of Crimes’ definition of rape and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Turning its attention to the domestic landscape, the book drafts amendments to the United Kingdom (UK) Sexual Offences Act 2003 and to the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999: thereby showing how the revised version of the ICC definition can be applied in context of the UK.” From Publisher’s Website.

Fifty Years of Causes of Delinquency: The Criminology of Travis Hirschi, edited by James C. Oleson and Barbara J. Costello. London: New York: Routledge, 2019.

“This volume marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Travis Hirschi’s seminal work Causes of Delinquency. The influence of Hirschi’s book, and the theory of social control it described, can scarcely be overstated. Social control theory has been empirically tested or commented on by hundreds of scholars and is generally regarded as one of the three dominant theories of crime.

The current work highlights the impact that social control theory has had on criminological theory and research to date. Agnew’s contribution highlights the role that Hirschi’s tests of control versus strain theory had in contributing to the “near demise” of classic strain theories, and to the subsequent development of general strain theory. Serrano-Maillo relates control to drift, and Tedor and Hope compare the human nature assumptions of control theory to the current psychological literature. Other contributions return to Hirschi’s original Richmond Youth Survey (RYS) data and demonstrate the robustness of Hirschi’s major findings. Costello and Anderson find strong support for Hirschi’s predictions in an analysis of a diverse group of youths in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1999; Nofziger similarly finds support for Hirschi’s predictions with an analysis of the girls in the RYS, and explores the criticisms of social control theory that were the result of Hirschi’s failure to analyze the data from the girls in the sample. Kempf-Leonard revisits her seminal 1993 survey of control theory and reviews the current empirical status of control theory. Other contributions explore new directions for both social control theory and self-control theory. The contribution by Cullen, Lee, and Butler holds that one element of the social bond, commitment, was under-theorized by Hirschi, and the authors present a more in-depth development of the concept. Quist explores the possibility of expanding social control theory to explicitly incorporate exchange theory concepts; Ueda and Tsutomi apply control theory cross-culturally to a sample of Japanese students; and Felson uses control theory to organize criminological ideas. Vazsonyi and Javakhishvili’s contribution is an empirical analysis of the connections between social control in early childhood and self-control later in life; Chapple and McQuillan’s contribution suggests that the gender gap in delinquency is better explained by increased controls in girls than by gendered pathways to offending. Oleson traces the evolution of Hirschi’s control theory, and suggests that, given the relationships between fact and theory, a biosocial model of control might be a promising line of inquiry.

Fifty Years of Causes of Delinquency: The Criminology of Travis Hirschi describes the current state of control theory and suggests its future directions, as well as demonstrates its enduring importance for criminological theory and research. The volume will be of interest to scholars working in the control theory tradition as well as those critical of the perspective, and is suitable for use in graduate courses in criminological theory.” From Publisher’s Website.

Gangs, Drugs and (Dis)organized Crime, by Robert McLean. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press, 2019.

“Drawing upon unique empirical data based on interviews with high-profile ex-offenders and experts, this book sheds new light on drug markets and gangs in the UK. The study shows how traditional methods of tackling gang violence fail to address the intertwined nature of those criminal activities which can overlap with other organised crime spheres. McLean sparks new debate on the subject, offering solutions and alternatives.” From Publisher’s Website.

Going All City: Struggle and Survival in LA’s Graffiti Subculture, by Stefano Bloch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020.

“In the age of commissioned wall murals and trendy street art, it’s easy to forget graffiti’s complicated and often violent past in the United States. Though graffiti has become one of the most influential art forms of the twenty-first century, cities across the United States waged a war against it from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, complete with brutal police task forces. Who were the vilified taggers they targeted? Teenagers, usually, from low-income neighborhoods with little to their names except a few spray cans and a desperate need to be seen—to mark their presence on city walls and buildings even as their cities turned a blind eye to them.

Going All City is the mesmerizing and painful story of these young graffiti writers, told by one of their own. Prolific LA writer Stefano Bloch came of age in the late 1990s amid constant violence, poverty, and vulnerability. He recounts vicious interactions with police; debating whether to take friends with gunshot wounds to the hospital; coping with his mother’s heroin addiction; instability and homelessness; and his dread that his stepfather would get out of jail and tip his unstable life into full-blown chaos. But he also recalls moments of peace and exhilaration: marking a fresh tag; the thrill of running with his crew at night; exploring the secret landscape of LA; the dream and success of going all city.

Bloch holds nothing back in this fierce, poignant memoir. Going All City is an unflinching portrait of a deeply maligned subculture and an unforgettable account of what writing on city walls means to the most vulnerable people living within them.” From Publisher’s Website.

Guilty People, by Abbe Smith. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2020.

“Criminal defense attorneys protect the innocent and guilty alike, but, the majority of criminal defendants are guilty. This is as it should be in a free society. Yet there are many different types of crime and degrees of guilt, and the defense must navigate through a complex criminal justice system that is not always equipped to recognize nuances.

In Guilty People, law professor and longtime criminal defense attorney Abbe Smith gives us a thoughtful and honest look at guilty individuals on trial. Each chapter tells compelling stories about real cases she handled; some of her clients were guilty of only petty crimes and misdemeanors, while others committed offenses as grave as rape and murder. In the process, she answers the question that every defense attorney is routinely asked: How can you represent these people?

Smith’s answer also tackles seldom-addressed but equally important questions such as: Who are the people filling our nation’s jails and prisons? Are they as dangerous and depraved as they are usually portrayed? How did they get caught up in the system? And what happens to them there?

This book challenges the assumption that the guilty are a separate species, unworthy of humane treatment. It is dedicated to guilty people—every single one of us.” From Publisher’s Website.

Hunted: Predation and Pentecostalism in Guatemala, by Kevin Lewis O’Neill. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.

““It’s not a process,” one pastor insisted, “rehabilitation is a miracle.” In the face of addiction and few state resources, Pentecostal pastors in Guatemala City are fighting what they understand to be a major crisis. Yet the treatment centers they operate produce this miracle of rehabilitation through extraordinary means: captivity. These men of faith snatch drug users off the streets, often at the request of family members, and then lock them up inside their centers for months, sometimes years.

Hunted is based on more than ten years of fieldwork among these centers and the drug users that populate them. Over time, as Kevin Lewis O’Neill engaged both those in treatment and those who surveilled them, he grew increasingly concerned that he, too, had become a hunter, albeit one snatching up information. This thoughtful, intense book will reframe the arc of redemption we so often associate with drug rehabilitation, painting instead a seemingly endless cycle of hunt, capture, and release.” From Publisher’s Website.

Ideology and Criminal Law: Fascist, National Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes, edited by Stephen Skinner. London; Hart/Boomsbury, 2019.

“With populist, nationalist and repressive governments on the rise around the world, questioning the impact of politics on the nature and role of law and the state is a pressing concern. If we are to understand the effects of extreme ideologies on the state’s legal dimensions and powers – especially the power to punish and to determine the boundaries of permissible conduct through criminal law – it is essential to consider the lessons of history. This timely collection explores how political ideas and beliefs influenced the nature, content and application of criminal law and justice under Fascism, National Socialism, and other authoritarian regimes in the twentieth century. Bringing together expert legal historians from four continents, the collection’s 16 chapters examine aspects of criminal law and related jurisprudential and criminological questions in the context of Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Nazi-occupied Norway, apartheid South Africa, Francoist Spain, and the authoritarian regimes of Brazil, Romania and Japan. Based on original archival, doctrinal and theoretical research, the collection offers new critical perspectives on issues of systemic identity, self-perception and the foundational role of criminal law; processes of state repression and the activities of criminal courts and lawyers; and ideological aspects of, and tensions in, substantive criminal law.” From Publisher’s Website.

Imagining the International: Crime, Justice, and the Promise of Community, by Nesam McMillan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020.

“International crime and justice are powerful ideas, associated with a vivid imagery of heinous atrocities, injured humanity, and an international community seized by the need to act. Through an analysis of archival and contemporary data, Imagining the International provides a detailed picture of how ideas of international crime (crimes against all of humanity) and global justice are given content, foregrounding their ethical limits and potentials. Nesam McMillan argues that dominant approaches to these ideas problematically disconnect them from the lived and the specific and foster distance between those who have experienced international crime and those who have not. McMillan draws on interdisciplinary work spanning law, criminology, humanitarianism, socio-legal studies, cultural studies, and human geography to show how understandings of international crime and justice hierarchize, spectacularize, and appropriate the suffering of others and promote an ideal of justice fundamentally disconnected from life as it is lived. McMillan critiques the mode of global interconnection they offer, one which bears resemblance to past colonial global approaches and which seeks to foster community through the image of crime and the practice of punitive justice. This book powerfully underscores the importance of the ideas of international crime and justice and their significant limits, cautioning against their continued valorization.” From Publisher’s Website.

Implicating the System: Judicial Discourses in the Sentencing of Indigenous Women, by Elspeth Kaiser-Derrick. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press, 2019.

“Indigenous women continue to be overrepresented in Canadian prisons; research demonstrates how their overincarceration and often extensive experiences of victimization are interconnected with and through ongoing processes of colonization. Implicating the System: Judicial Discourses in the Sentencing of Indigenous Women explores how judges navigate these issues in sentencing by examining related discourses in selected judgments from a review of 175 decisions.

The feminist theory of the victimization-criminalization continuum informs Elspeth Kaiser-Derrick’s work. She examines its overlap with the Gladue analysis, foregrounding decisions that effectively integrate gendered understandings of Indigenous women’s victimization histories, and problematizing those with less contextualized reasoning. Ultimately, she contends that judicial use of the victimization-criminalization continuum deepens the Gladue analysis and augments its capacity to further its objectives of alternatives to incarceration.

Kaiser-Derrick discusses how judicial discourses about victimization intersect with those about rehabilitation and treatment, and suggests associated problems, particularly where prison is characterized as a place of healing. Finally, she shows how recent incursions into judicial discretion, through legislative changes to the conditional sentencing regime that restrict the availability of alternatives to incarceration, are particularly concerning for Indigenous women in the system.” From Publisher’s Website.

Intimate Crimes: Kidnapping, Gangs and Trust in Mexico City, by Rolando Ochoa. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Intimate Crimes outlines the history of kidnapping in Mexico City by constructing a narrative of this crime based on extensive qualitative research on gangs, policing and other crime-related policies. The book also analyses the effect of kidnapping – and crime more broadly – on how communities experience the city, as well as the strategies put in place by potential kidnapping victims to deal with the threat of being victimised by someone close to them, a common occurrence in Mexico City, including analysing the processes through which household employees are screened and selected in Mexican households.

The book presents the results of over a year of fieldwork in Mexico, and creates a qualitative database of news reports for the material used in its writing. It includes material from over 70 interviews with kidnapping victims, their families, potential victims and their employees, police, prosecutors, government agents, journalists and other informants.

Intimate Crimes contributes to existing criminological literature on Mexico and Latin America by making an important contribution to a subject of the outmost regional importance. The book also contributes to broader criminological topics on the rule of law, criminal gangs, policing and the impact of economic development on crime. It also builds on the existing literature on empirical work on trust and signalling, particularly as it relates to contexts of weak rule of law and low state protection.” From Publisher’s Website.

An Intimate Economy: Enslaved Women, Work, and America’s Domestic Slave Trade, by Alexandra J. Finley. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

“Alexandra Finley adds crucial new dimensions to the boisterous debate over the relationship between slavery and capitalism by placing women’s labor at the center of the antebellum slave trade, focusing particularly on slave traders’ ability to profit from enslaved women’s domestic, reproductive, and sexual labor. The slave market infiltrated every aspect of southern society, including the most personal spaces of the household, the body, and the self. Finley shows how women’s work was necessary to the functioning of the slave trade, and thus to the spread of slavery to the Lower South, the expansion of cotton production, and the profits accompanying both of these markets.

Through the personal histories of four enslaved women, Finley explores the intangible costs of the slave market, moving beyond ledgers, bills of sales, and statements of profit and loss to consider the often incalculable but nevertheless invaluable place of women’s emotional, sexual, and domestic labor in the economy. The details of these women’s lives reveal the complex intersections of economy, race, and family at the heart of antebellum society.” From Publisher’s Website.

Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, and Investigations, and a Manifesto, by Michelle Bowdler. New York: Flatiron Books, 2020.

“The crime of rape sizzles like a lightning strike. It pounces, flattens, destroys. A person stands whole, and in a moment of unexpected violence, that life, that body is gone.

Award-winning writer and public health executive Michelle Bowdler’s memoir indicts how sexual violence has been addressed for decades in our society, asking whether rape is a crime given that it is the least reported major felony, least successfully prosecuted, and fewer than 3% of reported rapes result in conviction. Cases are closed before they are investigated and DNA evidence sits for years untested and disregarded

Rape in this country is not treated as a crime of brutal violence but as a parlor game of he said / she said. It might be laughable if it didn’t work so much of the time.

Given all this, it seems fair to ask whether rape is actually a crime.

In 1984, the Boston Sexual Assault Unit was formed as a result of a series of break-ins and rapes that terrorized the city, of which Michelle’s own horrific rape was the last. Twenty years later, after a career of working with victims like herself, Michelle decides to find out what happened to her case and why she never heard from the police again after one brief interview.” From Publisher’s Website.

Killer High: A History of War on Six Drugs, by Peter Andreas. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

“There is growing alarm over how drugs empower terrorists, insurgents, militias, and gangs. But by looking back not just years and decades but centuries, Peter Andreas reveals that the drugs-conflict nexus is actually an old story, and that powerful states have been its biggest beneficiaries.

In his path-breaking Killer High, Andreas shows how six psychoactive drugs-ranging from old to relatively new, mild to potent, licit to illicit, natural to synthetic-have proven to be particularly important war ingredients. This sweeping history tells the story of war from antiquity to the modern age through the lens of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, opium, amphetamines, and cocaine. Beer and wine drenched ancient and medieval battlefields, and the distilling revolution lubricated the conquest and ethnic cleansing of the New World. Tobacco became globalized through soldiering, with soldiers hooked on smoking and governments hooked on taxing it. Caffeine and opium fueled imperial expansion and warfare. The commercialization of amphetamines in the twentieth century energized soldiers to fight harder, longer, and faster, while cocaine stimulated an increasingly militarized drug war that produced casualty numbers surpassing most civil wars. As Andreas demonstrates, armed conflict has become progressively more drugged with the introduction, mass production, and global spread of mind-altering substances. As a result, we cannot understand the history of war without including drugs, and we similarly cannot understand the history of drugs without including war. From ancient brews and battles to meth and modern warfare, drugs and war have grown up together and become addicted to each other.” From Publisher’s Website.

The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch, by Miles Harvey. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2020.

“In the summer of 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and avowed atheist, vanished from a rural town in New York. Months later he reappeared on the Midwestern frontier and converted to a burgeoning religious movement known as Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect’s leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him successor, and persuaded hundreds of fellow converts to follow him to an island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king.

From this stronghold he controlled a fourth of the state of Michigan, establishing a pirate colony where he practiced plural marriage and perpetrated thefts, corruption, and frauds of all kinds. Eventually, having run afoul of powerful enemies, including the American president, Strang was assassinated, an event that was frontpage news across the country.

The King of Confidence tells this fascinating but largely forgotten story. Centering his narrative on this charlatan’s turbulent twelve years in power, Miles Harvey gets to the root of a timeless American original: the Confidence Man. Full of adventure, bad behavior, and insight into a crucial period of antebellum history, The King of Confidence brings us a compulsively readable account of one of the country’s boldest con men and the boisterous era that allowed him to thrive.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Legal Process and the Promise of Justice: Studies Inspired by the Work of Malcolm Feeley, edited by Rosann Greenspan; Hadar Aviram; Jonathan Simon. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

“Malcolm Feeley, one of the founding giants of the law and society field, is also one of its most exciting, diverse, and contemporary scholars. His works have examined criminal courts, prison reform, the legal profession, legal professionalism, and a variety of other important topics of enduring theoretical interest with a keen eye for the practical implications. In this volume, The Legal Process and the Promise of Justice, an eminent group of contemporary law and society scholars offer fresh and original analyzes of his work. They asses the legacy of Feeley’s theoretical innovations, put his findings to the test of time, and provide provocative historical and international perspectives for his insights. This collection of original essays not only draws attention to Professor Feeley’s seminal writings but also to the theories and ideas of others who, inspired by Feeley, have explored how courts and the legal process really work to provide a promise of justice.” From Publisher’s Website.

Lights, Cameras, Execution! Cinematic Portrayals of Capital Punishment, by Helen J. Knowles. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.

“Lights, Camera, Execution!: Cinematic Portrayals of Capital Punishment fills a prominent void in the existing film studies and death penalty literature. Each chapter focuses on a particular cinematic portrayal of the death penalty in the United States. Some of the analyzed films are well-known Hollywood blockbusters, such as Dead Man Walking (1995); others are more obscure, such as the made-for-television movie Murder in Coweta County (1983). By contrasting different portrayals where appropriate and identifying themes common to many of the studied films – such as the concept of dignity and the role of race (and racial discrimination) – the volume strengthens the reader’s ability to engage in comparative analysis of topics, stories, and cinematic techniques. Written by three professors with extensive experience teaching, and writing about the death penalty, film studies, and criminal justice, Lights, Camera, Execution! is deliberately designed for both classroom use and general readership.” From Publisher’s Website.

A Most Wicked Conspiracy: The Last Great Swindle of the Gilded Age, by Paul Strobin. New York: PublicAffairs, 2020.

“In the feverish, money-making age of railroad barons, political machines, and gold rushes, corruption was the rule, not the exception. Yet the Republican mogul “Big Alex” McKenzie defied even the era’s standard for avarice. Charismatic and shameless, he arrived in the new Alaskan territory intent on controlling gold mines and draining them of their ore. Miners who had rushed to the frozen tundra to strike gold were appalled at his unabashed deviousness.

A Most Wicked Conspiracy recounts McKenzie’s plot to rob the gold fields. It’s a story of how America’s political and economic life was in the grip of domineering, self-dealing, seemingly-untouchable party bosses in cahoots with robber barons, Senators and even Presidents. Yet it is also the tale of a righteous resistance of working-class miners, muckraking journalists, and courageous judges who fought to expose a conspiracy and reassert the rule of law.

Through a bold set of characters and a captivating narrative, Paul Starobin examines power and rampant corruption during a pivotal time in America, drawing undoubted parallels with present-day politics and society.” From Publisher’s Website.

Murder and the Movies, by David Thomson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020.

“How many acts of murder have each of us followed on a screen? What does that say about us? Do we remain law-abiding citizens who wouldn’t hurt a fly? Film historian David Thomson, known for wit and subversiveness, leads us into this very delicate subject. While unpacking classics such as Seven, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Strangers on a Train, The Conformist, The Godfather, and The Shining, he offers a disconcerting sense of how the form of movies makes us accomplices in this sinister narrative process.

By turns seductive and astringent, very serious and suddenly hilarious, Murder and the Movies admits us into what Thomson calls “a warped triangle”: the creator working out a compelling death; the killer doing his and her best; and the entranced reader and spectator trying to cling to life and a proper sense of decency.” From Publisher’s Website.

Murder in the Shenandoah: Making Law Sovereign in Revolutionary Virginia, by Jessica K. Lowe. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

“On July 4, 1791, the fifteenth anniversary of American Independence, John Crane, a descendant of prominent Virginian families, killed his neighbor’s harvest worker. Murder in the Shenandoah traces the story of this early murder case as it entangled powerful Virginians and addressed the question that everyone in the state was heatedly debating: what would it mean to have equality before the law – and a world where ‘law is king’? By retelling the story of the case, called Commonwealth v. Crane, through the eyes of its witnesses, families, fighters, victims, judges, and juries, Jessica K. Lowe reveals how revolutionary debates about justice gripped the new nation, transforming ideas about law, punishment, and popular government.” From Publisher’s Website.

Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife: Memoirs of a Police Officer in the Heart of Africa, by Stephen R. Matthews. Yorkshire, UK; Philadelphia: Pen and Sword History, 2019.

“Stephen R. Matthew’s first police posting near the Northern Rhodesian border with the Congo coincided dramatically with a time of horrific ethnic cleansing in the Belgian Congo area. At just twenty-one years old, Stephen was knifed, ambushed, stoned, shot and wounded by bow and arrow. His hand was broken several times.

Action-packed, unadulterated stories of those frantic and dangerous years are meticulously detailed here. This young police inspector found himself confronted by actions and terrifying events well beyond his understanding, whilst serving in the elite police force. He found that the police were fighting on two fronts; trying to protect the vulnerable citizens of the country whilst at the same time endeavouring to stop the slaughter of wildlife.

A stand-out, unique and comprehensive book, Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife depicts dramatic accounts of witchcraft-murders and cannibalism. Highly dangerous solo investigations are detailed, incorporating incidents of black magic, kidnapping, arson, gun-running and people trafficking.” From Publisher’s Website.

Night Raiders: Burglary and the Making of Modern Urban Life in London, 1860-1968, by Eloise Moss. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“Night Raiders is the first history of burglary in modern Britain. Until 1968, burglary was defined in law as occurring only between the ‘night-time’ hours of nine pm and six am in residential buildings. Time and space gave burglary a unique cloak of terror, since burglars’ victims were likely to be in the bedroom, asleep and unawares, when the intruder crept in, prowling near them in the darkness. Yet fear sometimes gave way to sexual fantasy; eroticized visions of handsome young thieves sneaking around the boudoirs of beautiful, lonely heiresses emerged alongside tales of violence and loss in popular culture, confounding social commentators by casting the burglar as criminal hero.

Night Raiders charts how burglary lay historically at the heart of national debates over the meanings of ‘home’, experiences of urban life, and social inequality. The book explores intimate stories of the devastation caused by burglars’ presence in the most private domains, showing how they are deeply embedded within broader histories of capitalism and liberal democracy. The fear and fascination surrounding burglary were mobilized by media, state, and market to sell insurance and security technologies, whilst also popularising the crime in fiction, theatre, and film. Cat burglars’ rooftop adventures transformed ideas about the architecture and policing of the city, and post-war ‘spy-burglars’ theft of information illuminated Cold War skirmishes across the capital. More than any other crime, burglary shaped the everyday rhythms, purchases, and perceptions of modern urban life.” From Publisher’s Website.

Nixon’s FBI: Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis, by Melissa Graves., Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishing, 2020.

“In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. In 2020, Donald Trump was impeached. Both were investigated by the FBI, an agency under their control. How is it that the bureau is responsible for investigating the president it serves? How can it do so effectively? Nixon’s FBI confronts these questions.

Melissa Graves draws on groundbreaking research and personal interviews with several of the agents involved to take us back to the time of the Watergate scandal. Her new perspective on J. Edgar Hoover’s last days, his successor’s tenure, and the many obstacles that FBI special agents faced from both their leadership and the White House reveals the always complex and often fraught relationship between the president and the FBI … and makes palpable the ways that history repeats itself.” From Publisher’s Website.

Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History, by Peter Houlahan. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2019.

“Norco ’80 tells the story of how five heavily armed young men–led by an apocalyptic born-again Christian–attempted a bank robbery that turned into one of the most violent criminal events in U.S. history, forever changing the face of American law enforcement. Part action thriller and part courtroom drama, this Edgar Award finalist for Best Fact Crime transports the reader back to the Southern California of the 1970s, an era of predatory evangelical gurus, doomsday predictions, megachurches, and soaring crime rates, with the threat of nuclear obliteration looming over it all.

In this riveting true story, a group of landscapers transforms into a murderous gang of bank robbers armed to the teeth with military-grade weapons. Their desperate getaway turns the surrounding towns into war zones. And when it’s over, three are dead and close to twenty wounded; a police helicopter has been forced down from the sky, and thirty-two police vehicles have been completely demolished by thousands of rounds of ammo. The resulting trial shakes the community to the core, raising many issues that continue to plague society today: from the epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder within law enforcement to religious extremism and the militarization of local police forces.” From Publisher’s Website.

Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group, by Sam Jackson. New York: Colombia University Press, 2020.

“Since 2008, the American patriot/militia movement—right-wing antigovernment groups who portray themselves as fighting encroaching tyranny—has grown exponentially. Oath Keepers is among the most visible and vocal of these organizations. Formed in 2009, Oath Keepers gained notoriety for its involvement in the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2014 and the Malheur Refuge occupation of 2016. The group gives voice to a recurrent form of American politics: virulent distrust of the government combined with a valorization of violence.

Sam Jackson takes readers inside the world of the most prominent antigovernment group in the United States, examining its extensive online presence to discover how it builds support for its political goals and actions. Through an extensive textual analysis of the group’s publications, Jackson explores how Oath Keepers draws on core American political values and pivotal historical moments of conflict and crisis from the Revolutionary War to Waco to Hurricane Katrina to cast its adherents as defenders of liberty. He details how Oath Keepers makes sense of the contemporary United States, how it provides members with models of political behavior, and how it lobbies the wider American public to join the group. The first book-length investigation of the contemporary patriot/militia movement, Oath Keepers sheds new light on what animates groups that pose a growing threat to American security and political culture.” From Publisher’s Website.

On Corruption in America and What is at Stake, by Sarah Chayes. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.

“Now, bringing to bear all of her knowledge, grasp, sense of history and observation, Sarah Chayes writes in her new book, that the United States is showing signs similar to some of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption, as Chayes sees it, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out-and-out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public but to maximize returns for network members.

From the titans of America’s Gilded Age (Carnegie, Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, et al.) to the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal; from Joe Kennedy’s years of banking, bootlegging, machine politics, and pursuit of infinite wealth, as well as the Kennedy presidency, to the deregulation of the Reagan Revolution, undermining the middle class and the unions; from the Clinton policies of political favors and personal enrichment to Trump’s hydra-headed network of corruption, systematically undoing the Constitution and our laws, Chayes shows how corrupt systems are organized, how they enforce the rules so their crimes are covered legally, how they are overlooked and downplayed–shrugged off with a roll of the eyes–by the richer and better educated, how they become an overt principle determining the shape of our government, affecting all levels of society.” From Publisher’s Website.

Out of the Red: My Life of Gangs, Prison, and Redemption, by Christian L. Bolden. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2020.

“Out of the Red is one man’s pathbreaking story of how social forces and personal choices combined to deliver an unfortunate fate. After a childhood of poverty, institutional discrimination, violence, and being thrown away by the public education system, Bolden’s life took him through the treacherous landscape of street gangs at the age of fourteen. The Bloods offered a sense of family, protection, excitement, and power. Incarcerated during the Texas prison boom, the teenage former gangster was thrust into a fight for survival as he navigated the perils of adult prison. As mass incarceration and prison gangs swallowed up youth like him, survival meant finding hope in a hopeless situation and carving a path to his own rehabilitation. Despite all odds, he forged a new path through education, ultimately achieving the seemingly impossible for a formerly incarcerated ex-gangbanger.” From Publisher’s Website.

Outlaw Women: Prison, Rural Violence and Poverty in the American West, by Susan Dewey, et al. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

“Incarceration is all too often depicted as an urban problem, a male problem, a problem that disproportionately affects people of color. This book, however, takes readers to the heart of the struggles of the outlaw women of the rural West, considering how poverty and gendered violence overlap to keep women literally and figuratively imprisoned.

Outlaw Women examines the forces that shape women’s experiences of incarceration and release from prison in the remote, predominantly white communities that many Americans still think of as “the Western frontier.” Drawing on dozens of interviews with women in the state of Wyoming who were incarcerated or on parole, the authors provide an in-depth examination of women’s perceptions of their lives before, during, and after imprisonment. Considering cultural mores specific to the rural West, the authors identify the forces that consistently trap women in cycles of crime and violence in these regions: felony-related discrimination, the geographic isolation that traps women in abusive relationships, and cultural stigmas surrounding addiction, poverty, and precarious interpersonal relationships.

Following incarceration, women in these areas face additional, region-specific obstacles as they attempt to reintegrate into society, including limited social services, significant gender wage gaps, and even severe weather conditions that restrict travel. The book ultimately concludes with new, evidence-based recommendations for addressing the challenges these women face.” From Publisher’s Website.

Pills, Powder, and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs, by Jinee Lokaneeta. Minneapolis: Scribe, 2019.

“The war on drugs has been official American policy since the 1970s, with the UK, Europe, and much of the world following suit. It is at best a failed policy, according to bestselling author Antony Loewenstein. Its direct results have included mass incarceration in the US, extreme violence in different parts of the world, the backing of dictatorships, and surging drug addiction globally. And now the Trump administration is unleashing diplomatic and military forces against any softening of the conflict.

Pills, Powder, and Smoke investigates the individuals, officials, activists, victims, DEA agents, and traffickers caught up in this deadly war. Travelling through the UK, the US, Australia, Honduras, the Philippines, and Guinea-Bissau, Loewenstein uncovers the secrets of the drug war, why it’s so hard to end, and who is really profiting from it.

In reporting on the frontlines across the globe ― from the killing fields of Central America to major cocaine transit routes in West Africa ― Loewenstein reveals how the war on drugs has become the most deadly war in modern times. Designed and inspired by Washington, its agenda has nothing to do with ending drug use or addiction, but is all about controlling markets, territories, and people. Instead, Loewenstein argues, the legalisation and regulation of all drugs would be a much more realistic and humane approach. The evidence presented in this book will persuade many readers that he’s right.” From Publisher’s Website.

Policing the Police: Challenges of Democracy and Accountability, by Michael Rowe. Bristol, UK: Policy Press, 2020.

“How does society hold its police to account? It’s a vital part of upholding law and liberty but changing modes of policing delivery and new technologies call for fresh thinking about the way we guard our guards.

This much-needed new book from leading criminology professor Michael Rowe, part of the ‘Key Themes in Policing’ series, explores issues of governance, discipline and transparency. The landmark new study:

  • Showcases how social change and rising inequalities make it more difficult to ensure meaningful accountability;
  • Addresses the impact of Evidence-Based Policing strategies on the direction and control of officers;
  • Sets out a game-changing agenda for ensuring democratic and answerable policing.” From Publisher’s Website.
Prestige Television and Prison in the Age of Mass Incarceration: A Wall Rise Up, by Victoria M. Bryan. London; New York: Routledge, 2020.

“Television shows that we might call ‘prestige television’ represent prison in ways that are sometimes reductive, sometimes powerful, and sometimes exceedingly complex. This book examines various programmes across the genres of drama, comedy and horror that utilize prison or places of incarceration as a central theme or setting to show how they conform to or challenge the standard conversation about the prison industrial complex and the common understanding of prisons as violent spaces where we house the worst among us.

Drawing on the work of Angela Davis, Doran Larson, Dylan Rodriguez, Michelle Alexander, and Lisa Guenther, the author presents focused studies of Orange Is the New Black, Rectify, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead (along with briefer discussions of The 100, police procedurals, and popular sitcoms) to explore the responsibility of television to represent prison in as authentic a fashion as possible, the exploitation of the incarcerated in reductive representations of prison, and the shifting nature of the national conversation about prison as it is depicted on screen. As such, the book will appeal to scholars of cultural and media studies, criminology and sociology with interests in incarceration and representations of prison in popular culture.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Price of Justice: The Myths of Lawyer Ethics, by Ronald Goldfarb. Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing, 2020.

“In The Price of Justice: Money, Morals and Ethical Reform in the Law veteran Washington Lawyer Ronald Goldfarb reveals the injustices in our legal system and how money and power have exceeded ethics in the legal profession for far too long.

Justice reform has become an increasingly present topic in the news and media, with movements like “I Can’t Breathe” and Black Lives Matter prompting national outcry from the public over the unethical actions of law enforcement, and remains one of the most controversial and highly debated issues for politicians and citizens today. With more than 2 million American’s incarcerated, it is beyond apparent that the justice system intrinsically ensures that lower-income people and minorities are shockingly under represented and offered little to no legal protection.

In The Price of Justice, Goldfarb offers powerful testimonies, media evidence, and first-hand expertise from working in the Justice Department as a longtime public interest lawyer to reveal how both the criminal and civil justice systems fail to serve lower and middle-class citizens, and makes an undeniable case for the profound justice reform that is so desperately needed. Goldfarb asks that we examine closely a legal system that has become largely pay-to-play, benefiting the administrators and those wealthy citizens who can afford to “lawyer up”, and shows little mercy for the lower-income citizens who fall victim to an endless cycle of conviction, fines, bail, lack of counsel and capital punishment.

Goldfarb exposes a system that values money over ethics and lawyers who value winning cases over finding truth and serving justice, pointing out that civil aid and public defenders are grossly under-staffed and under financed, making it nearly impossible to meet the challenges of well-paid private lawyers. This book begs the legal profession to consider it’s ethical code when considering cases to represent, not just represent crooks who can pay and turn away worthy clients who cannot afford absorbent fees, and equips the public with the knowledge needed to advocate for justice reform.” From Publisher’s Website.

Punished for Aging: Vulnerability, Rights, and Access to Justice in Canadian Penitentiaries, by Adelina Iftene. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019.

“Built around the experiences of older prisoners, Punished for Aging looks at the challenges individuals face in Canadian penitentiaries and their struggles for justice. Through firsthand accounts and quantitative data drawn from extensive interviews, this book brings forward the experiences of federally incarcerated people living their “golden years” behind bars. These experiences show the limited ability of the system to respond to heightened needs, while also raising questions about how international and national laws and policies are applied, and why they fail to ensure the safety and well-being of incarcerated individuals. In so doing, Adelina Iftene explores the shortcomings of institutional processes, prison-monitoring mechanisms, and legal remedies available in courts and tribunals, which leave prisoners vulnerable to rights abuses.

Some of the problems addressed in this book are not new; however, the demographic shift and the increase in people dying in prisons after long, inadequately addressed illnesses, with few release options, adds a renewed sense of urgency to reform. Working from the interview data, contextualized by participants’ lived experiences, and building on previous work, Iftene seeks solutions for such reform, which would constitute a significant step forward not only in protecting older prisoners, but in consolidating the status of incarcerated individuals as holders of substantive rights.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Punishment Monopoly: Tales of My Ancestors, Dispossession, and the Building of the United States, by Pem Davidson Buck. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2019.

“Why, asks Pem Davidson Buck, is punishment so central to the functioning of the United States, a country proclaiming “liberty and justice for all”? The Punishment Monopoly challenges our everyday understanding of American history, focusing on the constructions of race, class, and gender upon which the United States was built, and which still support racial capitalism and the carceral state. After all, Buck writes, “a state, to be a state, has to punish … bottom line, that is what a state and the force it controls is for.”

Using stories of her European ancestors, who arrived in colonial Virginia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and following their descendants into the early nineteenth century, Buck shows how struggles over the right to punish, backed by the growing power of the state governed by a white elite, made possible the dispossession of Africans, Native Americans, and poor whites. Those struggles led to the creation of the low-wage working classes that capitalism requires, locked in by a metastasizing white supremacy that Buck’s ancestors, with many others, defined as white, helped establish and manipulate. Examining those foundational struggles illuminates some of the most contentious issues of the twenty-first century: the exploitation and detention of immigrants; mass incarceration as a central institution; Islamophobia; white privilege; judicial and extra-judicial killings of people of color and some poor whites. The Punishment Monopoly makes it clear that none of these injustices was accidental or inevitable; that shifting our state-sanctioned understandings of history is a step toward liberating us from its control of the present.” From Publisher’s Website.

Quantitative Studies in Green and Conservation Criminology: The Measurement of Environmental Harm and Crime, edited by Michael J. Lynch and Stephen F. Pires. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: New York: Routledge, 2019.

“During the early development and throughout the short history of green/conservation criminology, limited attention has been directed toward quantitative analyses of relevant environmental crime, law and justice concerns. While recognizing the importance of establishing a theory and terminology in the early stages of development, this book redresses this imbalance. The work features contributions that undertake empirical quantitative studies of green/conservation crime and justice issues by both conservation and green criminologists. The collection highlights the shared concerns of these groups within important forms of ecological crime and victimization and illustrates the ways in which these approaches can be undertaken quantitatively. It includes quantitative conservation/green criminological studies that represent the work of both well-established scholars in these fields, along with studies by scholars whose works are less well-known and who are also contributing to shaping this area of research.

The book presents a valuable contribution to the areas of Green and Conservation Criminology. It will appeal to academics and students working in these areas.” From Publisher’s Website.

Recounting the Anthrax Attacks: Terror, the Amerithrax Task Force, and Evolution of Forensics in the FBI, by R. Scott Decker. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

“It was September 18, 2001, just seven days after al-Qaeda hijackers destroyed the Twin Towers. In the early morning darkness, a lone figure dropped several letters into a mailbox. Seventeen days later a Florida journalist died of inhalational anthrax. The death from the rare disease made world news. These anthrax attacks marked the first time a sophisticated biological weapon was released in the United States. It killed five people, disfigured at least 18 more, and launched the largest investigation in the FBI’s history.

Recounting the Anthrax Attacks explores the origins of the innovative forensics used in this case, while also explaining their historical context. R. Scott Decker’s team pursued its first suspect with dogged determination before realizing that the evidence did not add up. With renewed energy, they turned to non-traditional forensics—scientific initiatives never before applied to an investigation—as they continued to hunt for clues. These advances formed the new science of microbial forensics, a novel discipline that produced critical leads when traditional methods failed. The new technologies helped identify a second suspect—one who possessed the knowledge and skills to unleash a living weapon of mass destruction.

Decker provides the first inside look at how the investigation was conducted, highlighting dramatic turning points as the case progressed until its final solution. Join FBI agents as they race against terror and the ultimate insider threat—a decorated government scientist releasing powders of deadly anthrax. Walk in the steps of these dedicated officers while they pursue numerous forensic leads before more letters can be sent until finally they confront a psychotic killer.” From Publisher’s Website.

Red Zones: Criminal Law and Territorial Governance of Marginalized People, by Marie Sylvestre, Nicholas Blomley and Celine Bellot. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

“In Red Zones, Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Nicholas Blomley, and Céline Bellot examine the court-imposed territorial restrictions and other bail and sentencing conditions that are increasingly issued in the context of criminal proceedings. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with legal actors in the criminal justice system, as well as those who have been subjected to court surveillance, the authors demonstrate the devastating impact these restrictions have on the marginalized populations – the homeless, drug users, sex workers and protesters – who depend on public spaces. On a broader level, the authors show how red zones, unlike better publicized forms of spatial regulation such as legislation or policing strategies, create a form of legal territorialization that threatens to invert traditional expectations of justice and reshape our understanding of criminal law and punishment.” From Publisher’s Website.

Re-thinking the Political Economy of Immigration Control: A Comparative Analysis, by Lea Sitkin. Abingdon, Oxon, UK; New York: Routledge, 2020.

“This book offers a systematic exploration of the changing politics around immigration and the impact of resultant policy regimes on immigrant communities. It does so across a uniquely wide range of policy areas: immigration admissions, citizenship, internal immigration controls, labour market regulation, the welfare state and the criminal justice system. Challenging the current state of theoretical literature on the ‘criminalisation’ or ‘marginalisation’ of immigrants, this book examines the ways in which immigrants are treated differently in different national contexts, as well as the institutional factors driving this variation. To this end, it offers data on overall trends across 20 high-income countries, as well as more detailed case studies on the UK, Australia, the USA, Germany, Italy and Sweden. At the same time, it charts an emerging common regime of exploitation, which threatens the depiction of some countries as more inclusionary than others.

The politicisation of immigration has intensified the challenge for policy-makers, who today must respond to populist calls for restrictive immigration policy whilst simultaneously heeding business groups’ calls for cheap labour and respecting legal obligations that require more liberal and welcoming policy regimes. The resultant policy regimes often have counterproductive effects, in many cases marginalising immigrant communities and contributing to the growth of underground and criminal economies. Finally, developments on the horizon, driven by technological progress, threaten to intensify distributional challenges. While these will make the politics around immigration even more fraught in coming decades, the real issue is not immigration but the loss of good jobs, which will have serious implications across all Western countries.” From Publisher’s Website.

Self, Others and the State: Relations of Criminal Responsibility, by Arlie Loughnan. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

“Criminal responsibility is now central to criminal law, but it is in need of re-examination. In the context of Australian criminal laws, Self, Others and the State reassesses the general assumptions made about the rise to prominence of criminal responsibility in the period since around the turn of the twentieth century. It reconsiders the role of criminal responsibility in criminal law, arguing that criminal responsibility is significant because it organises key sets of relations – between self, others and the state – as relations of responsibility. Detailed studies of decisive moments and developments since the turn of the twentieth century, and original explorations of relations of responsibility, expose the complexity and dynamism of criminal responsibility and reveal that it is the means by which matters of subjectivity, relationality and power make themselves felt in the criminal law.” From Publisher’s Website.

Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus, by Jennifer S. Hirsch and Shamus Khan. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.

“The fear of campus sexual assault has become an inextricable part of the college experience. Research has shown that by the time they graduate, as many as one in three women and almost one in six men will have been sexually assaulted. But why is sexual assault such a common feature of college life? And what can be done to prevent it? Drawing on the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) at Columbia University, the most comprehensive study of sexual assault on a campus to date, Jennifer S. Hirsch and Shamus Khan present an entirely new framework that emphasizes sexual assault’s social roots—transcending current debates about consent, predators in a “hunting ground,” and the dangers of hooking up.

Sexual Citizens is based on years of research interviewing and observing college life—with students of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Hirsch and Khan’s landmark study reveals the social ecosystem that makes sexual assault so predictable, explaining how physical spaces, alcohol, peer groups, and cultural norms influence young people’s experiences and interpretations of both sex and sexual assault. Through the powerful concepts of “sexual projects,” “sexual citizenship,” and “sexual geographies,” the authors offer a new and widely-accessible language for understanding the forces that shape young people’s sexual relationships. Empathetic, insightful, and far-ranging, Sexual Citizens transforms our understanding of sexual assault and offers a roadmap for how to address it.” From Publisher’s Website.

Sexual Harassment in the United States: Analyzing the Hostile Environment, by Mary Welek Atwell. New York: Peter Lang, 2020.

“This work traces the historical and legal developments surrounding the public awareness of sexual harassment in the United States. The book looks at the issue from a theoretical perspective, analyzes relevant Supreme Court decisions, and discusses the reactions to the testimony of Anita Hill. It further examines sexual harassment in academic settings and the special issues that relate to sexual misconduct in the military. After considering the nexus between sexual harassment and politics, the book concludes with thoughts on the lasting impact of the #MeToo movement.” From Publisher’s Website.

Shots Fired: Gun Violence in the United States, by Howard Rahtz. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishing, 2020.

“Mass killings. Gang violence. Street crimes. Suicides. Accidental shootings. The United States is enduring a literal epidemic of gun violence. Howard Rahtz, drawing on decades of experience as a police officer all too familiar with the horrors that guns can cause, delves deeply into the nature and impact of this epidemic.

Rahtz explores each element of the triangle of ability, desire, and opportunity that typically characterizes gun violence. Going further, he also suggests practical, “left of bang” preventative actions—steps that could limit the violence while respecting contentious Second Amendment rights.” From Publisher’s Website.

Six Days in August: The Story of Stockholm Syndrome, by David King. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.

“On the morning of August 23, 1973, a man wearing a wig, makeup, and a pair of sunglasses walked into the main branch of Sveriges Kreditbank, a prominent bank in central Stockholm. He ripped out a submachine gun, fired it into the ceiling, and shouted, “The party starts!” This was the beginning of a six-day hostage crisis—and media circus—that would mesmerize the world, drawing into its grip everyone from Sweden’s most notorious outlaw to the prime minister himself.

As policemen and reporters encircled the bank, the crime-in-progress turned into a high-stakes thriller broadcast on live television. Inside the building, meanwhile, complicated emotional relationships developed between captors and captives that would launch a remarkable new concept into the realm of psychology, hostage negotiation, and popular culture.

Based on a wealth of previously unpublished sources, including rare film footage and unprecedented access to the main participants, Six Days in August captures the surreal events in their entirety, on an almost minute-by-minute basis. It is a rich human drama that blurs the lines between loyalty and betrayal, obedience and defiance, fear and attraction—and a groundbreaking work of nonfiction that forces us to consider “Stockholm syndrome” in an entirely new light.” From Publisher’s Website.

Slaves Among Us: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking, by Monique Villa. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019.

“The horrific world of modern slavery is exposed in this book based on the first-hand experiences of victims of human trafficking.

Through the stories of three remarkable individuals who share how they fell victim to traffickers and how their bodies and souls resisted an enterprise of total destruction, Monique Villa takes us around the world—from Ohio to Tokyo, London to India, Qatar to Colombia—to uncover a parallel world where men, women, and children are dehumanized and reduced to obedient machines.

Written by a global leader in the fight against human trafficking, this powerful book uncovers the hidden world of slaves—no longer physically in chains—who walk among us, trapped in a cycle of exploitation. Despite significant progress in the fight for human rights, slavery continues to flourish. In fact, there are more slaves today, in countries rich and poor, than at any point in the past. By giving voice to survivors of this horrific trade, Villa vividly illustrates dire situations we can do something about. Her call to action outlines concrete steps to safeguard the vulnerable among us and to eliminate slavery in our time.” From Publisher’s Website.

Smoke but No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes that Never Happened, by Jessica S. Henry. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.

Rodricus Crawford was convicted and sentenced to die for the murder by suffocation of his beautiful baby boy. After years on death row, evidence confirmed what Crawford had claimed all along: he was innocent, and his son had died from an undiagnosed illness. Crawford is not alone. A full one-third of all known exonerations stem from no-crime wrongful convictions.

The first book to explore this common but previously undocumented type of wrongful conviction, Smoke but No Fire tells the heartbreaking stories of innocent people convicted of crimes that simply never happened. A suicide is mislabeled a homicide. An accidental fire is mislabeled an arson. Corrupt police plant drugs on an innocent suspect. A false allegation of assault is invented to resolve a custody dispute. With this book, former New York City public defender Jessica S. Henry sheds essential light on a deeply flawed criminal justice system that allows—even encourages—these convictions to regularly occur. Smoke but No Fire promises to be eye-opening reading for legal professionals, students, activists, and the general public alike as it grapples with the chilling reality that far too many innocent people spend real years behind bars for fictional crimes.” From Publisher’s Website.

Solitary Confinement: Effects, Practices, and Pathways, edited by Jules Lobel and Peter Scharff Smith. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

“The use of solitary confinement in prisons became common with the rise of the modern penitentiary during the first half of the nineteenth century and his since remained a feature of many prison systems all over the world. Solitary confinement is used for a panoply of different reasons although research tells us that these practices have widespread negative health effects. Besides the death penalty it is arguably the most punitive and dangerous intervention available to state authorities in democratic nations. Nevertheless, in the United States there is currently an estimated 80-100,000 prisoners in small cells for more than 22 hours per day with little or no social contact and no physical contact visits with family or friends. Even in Scandinavia, thousands of prisoners are placed in solitary confinement every year and with an alarming frequency. These facts have spawned international interest in this topic and a growing international reform movement, which includes researchers, litigators and human rights defenders as well as prison staff and prisoners.

This book is the first to take a broad international comparative approach and to apply an interdisciplinary lens to this subject. In this volume neuroscientists, high level prison officials, social and political scientists, medical doctors, lawyers and former prisoners and their families from different countries will address the effects and practices of prolonged solitary confinement and the movement for its reform and abolition.” From Publisher’s Website.

State Violence, Torture and Political Prisoners: On the Role Played by Amnesty International in Brazil during the Dictatorship (1964-1985), by Renata Meirelles. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: New York: Routledge, 2020.

“State Violence, Torture, and Political Prisoners discusses the activities of Amnesty International during the period of Brazil’s dictatorship (1964–1985). During the dictatorship, Amnesty assisted political prisoners who were submitted to torture and helped to publicise charges of torture against agents of the military regime’s repressive apparatus. Through a specific examination of Amnesty’s work with Brazilian political prisoners, this book explores how Amnesty adapted its organisational principles – such as non-violence and the focus on individual cases – during this time.

In 1967 Amnesty experienced a severe internal crisis which prompted the organisation to make structural changes. These changes enabled it to expand its activities beyond Europe to Latin America, including Brazil. This book examines one of Amnesty International’s first major campaigns against torture and the impact this had on the organisation’s development of a new agenda. Bringing a critical and historical perspective on Amnesty’s work, the book contributes to the debate on the role of human rights organisations in addressing human rights abuses worldwide. It makes a significant contribution to international research on state crime, human rights, and torture.” From Publisher’s Website.

Terrorist Recruitment of U.S. Gangs: Global Criminal Alliances and Biological Weapons, by D. Darell Dones. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.

“Since the September 11, 2001 US-Terrorist Attacks there has been an overwhelming increase in documented cases of violent acts of extremism made possible by radical terrorist recruitment of domestic gangs. These new, global criminal alliances combine tech-savvy radical extremists and the local knowledge and manpower of U.S.-based gangs creating a greater potential for biological attacks. As a result, both law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been forced to align their coordination efforts to a greater extent with colleges, universities, private infrastructures, and the military to shift national security efforts from reactive to proactive. D. Darell Dones examines the parallel terrorist-gang activities and prevailing psychosocial factors that explain the varying radical beliefs, causations, and behavioral mindset of these criminal partnerships.” From Publisher’s Website.

Theaters of Pardoning, by Bernadette Meyler. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019.

“From Gerald Ford’s preemptive pardon of Richard Nixon and Donald Trump’s claims that as president he could pardon himself to the posthumous royal pardon of Alan Turing, the power of the pardon has a powerful hold on the political and cultural imagination. In Theaters of Pardoning, Bernadette Meyler traces the roots of contemporary understandings of pardoning to tragicomic “theaters of pardoning” in the drama and politics of seventeenth-century England. Shifts in how pardoning was represented on the stage and discussed in political tracts and in Parliament reflected the transition from a more monarchical and judgment-focused form of the concept to an increasingly parliamentary and legislative vision of sovereignty.

Meyler shows that on the English stage, individual pardons of revenge subtly transformed into more sweeping pardons of revolution, from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, where a series of final pardons interrupts what might otherwise have been a cycle of revenge, to later works like John Ford’s The Laws of Candy and Philip Massinger’s The Bondman, in which the exercise of mercy prevents the overturn of the state itself. In the political arena, the pardon as a right of kingship evolved into a legal concept, culminating in the idea of a general amnesty, the “Act of Oblivion,” for actions taken during the English Civil War. Reconceiving pardoning as law-giving effectively displaced sovereignty from king to legislature, a shift that continues to attract suspicion about the exercise of pardoning. Only by breaking the connection between pardoning and sovereignty that was cemented in seventeenth-century England, Meyler concludes, can we reinvigorate the pardon as a democratic practice.” From Publisher’s Website.

A Theology of the Drug War, by William A. Walker, III. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.

“This book is a political and theological reflection on the violence and injustice that has taken place in Mexico and Central America since 2006 as a result of the drug war. In order to understand and respond to this conflict in the age of globalization, William A. Walker III combines the work of philosopher Enrique Dussel and theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar to develop a theology of the drug war that transcends both a Eurocentric conception of the world and a merely political account of salvation. Walker also highlights examples of Christian and church-based approaches to practicing neighborliness and resistance to drug trade-related violence, challenging both Christians and non-Christians to participate in the creation of a more just and merciful society.” From Publisher’s Website.

Thin Blue Lie: The Failure of High-Tech Policing, by Matt Stroud. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2019.

“American law enforcement is a system in crisis. After explosive protests responding to police brutality and discrimination in Baltimore, Ferguson, and a long list of other cities, the vexing question of how to reform the police and curb misconduct stokes tempers and fears on both the right and left. In the midst of this fierce debate, however, most of us have taken for granted that innovative new technologies can only help.

During the early 90s, in the wake of the infamous Rodney King beating, police leaders began looking to corporations and new technologies for help. In the decades since, these technologies have―in theory―given police powerful, previously unthinkable faculties: the ability to incapacitate a suspect without firing a bullet (Tasers); the capacity to more efficiently assign officers to high-crime areas using computers (Compstat); and, with body cameras, a means of defending against accusations of misconduct.

But in this vivid, deeply-reported book, Matt Stroud shows that these tools are overhyped and, in many cases, ineffective. Instead of wrestling with tough fundamental questions about their work, police leaders have looked to technology as a silver bullet and stood by as corporate interests have insinuated themselves ever deeper into the public institution of law enforcement. With a sweeping history of these changes, Thin Blue Lie is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how policing became what it is today.” From Publisher’s Website.

This is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America, by Jack Shuler. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2020.

“Tainted drug supplies, inadequate civic responses, and prevailing negative opinions about people who use drugs, the poor, and those struggling with mental health issues lead to thousands of preventable deaths each year while politicians are slow to adopt effective policies. Putting themselves at great personal risk (and often breaking the law to do so), the brave men and women profiled in This Is Ohio are mounting a grassroots effort to combat ineffective and often incorrect ideas about addiction and instead focus on saving lives through commonsense harm reduction policies.

Opioids are the current face of addiction, but as Shuler shows, the crisis in our midst is one that has long been fostered by income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs across the Rust Belt, and lack of access to health care. What is playing out in Ohio today isn’t only about opioids, but rather a decades-long economic and sociological shift in small towns all across the United States. It’s also about a larger culture of stigma at the heart of how we talk about addiction. What happens in Ohio will have ramifications felt across the nation and for decades to come.” From Publisher’s Website.

Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State, by Garrett Felber. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

“Challenging incarceration and policing was central to the postwar Black Freedom Movement. In this bold new political and intellectual history of the Nation of Islam, Garrett Felber centers the Nation in the Civil Rights Era and the making of the modern carceral state. In doing so, he reveals a multifaceted freedom struggle that focused as much on policing and prisons as on school desegregation and voting rights. The book examines efforts to build broad-based grassroots coalitions among liberals, radicals, and nationalists to oppose the carceral state and struggle for local Black self-determination. It captures the ambiguous place of the Nation of Islam specifically, and Black nationalist organizing more broadly, during an era which has come to be defined by nonviolent resistance, desegregation campaigns, and racial liberalism.

By provocatively documenting the interplay between law enforcement and Muslim communities, Felber decisively shows how state repression and Muslim organizing laid the groundwork for the modern carceral state and the contemporary prison abolition movement which opposes it. Exhaustively researched, the book illuminates new sites and forms of political struggle as Muslims prayed under surveillance in prison yards and used courtroom political theater to put the state on trial. This history captures familiar figures in new ways–Malcolm X the courtroom lawyer and A. Philip Randolph the Harlem coalition builder–while highlighting the forgotten organizing of rank-and-file activists in prisons such as Martin Sostre. This definitive account is an urgent reminder that Islamophobia, state surveillance, and police violence have deep roots in the state repression of Black communities during the mid-20th century.” From Publisher’s Website.

Torture and Punishment at the Tower of London, by Royal Armouries. London: 2020.

“For hundreds of years, the Tower of London was the state prison of England. Priests and heretics, POWs and prostitutes, spies and soldiers were all confined within its walls, some of them subject to terrifying experiences.

This fascinating book describes the torture and executions carried out at the Tower of London from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. It explains how the Tower’s reputation as a grim fortress is but a part of its extraordinary history.

Tells the gruesome yet absorbing story of torture and imprisonment at the Tower of London through the historical objects themselves.” From Publisher’s Website.

Understanding and Reducing Prison Violence: An Integrated Social Control-Opportunity Perspective, by Benjamin Steiner and John Wooldredge.. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2020.

“Understanding and Reducing Prison Violence considers both the individual and prison characteristics associated with violence perpetration and violent victimization among both prison inmates and staff.

Prison violence is not a random process; rates of violence vary across prisons and the odds of perpetrating violence or experiencing violent victimization vary across inmates and staff. A comprehensive understanding of the causes of prison violence therefore requires consideration of both individual and prison characteristics.

Building on large dataset comprising 5,500 inmates and 1,800 officers across 45 prisons located across two of the United States (Ohio and Kentucky), this book showcases one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of prisons carried out to date. It considers both the implications of the study for theories of prison violence and the implications of the study for preventing violence in prisons. It will be of interest to academics, practitioners, and policy makers alike.” From Publisher’s Website.

Understanding Police Interrogations, by William Douglas Woody and Krista D. Forrest. New York: New York University Press, 2010.

“Understanding Police Interrogation provides a single comprehensive source for understanding issues relating to police interrogation and confession. It sheds light on the range of factors that may influence the outcome of the interrogation of a suspect, which ones make it more likely that a person will confess, and which may also inadvertently lead to false confessions.

There is a significant psychological component to police interrogations, as interrogators may try to build rapport with the suspect, or trick them into thinking there is evidence against them that does not exist. Also important is the extent to which the interrogator is convinced of the suspect’s guilt, a factor that has clear ramifications for today’s debates over treatment of black suspects and other people of color in the criminal justice system.

The volume employs a totality of the circumstances approach, arguing that a number of integrated factors, such as the characteristics of the suspect, the characteristics of the interrogators, interrogation techniques and location, community perceptions of law enforcement, and expectations for jurors and judges, all contribute to the nature of interrogations and the outcomes and perceptions of the criminal justice system. The authors argue that by drawing on this approach we can better explain the likelihood of interrogation outcomes, including true and false confessions, and provide both scholars and practitioners with a greater understanding of best practices going forward.” From Publisher’s Website.

Urbanisation and Crime in Nigeria, by Adegbola Ojo; Oluwole Ojewale. Cham, SWIT: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

“This book uses crime-science and traditional criminological approaches to explore urban crime in the rapidly urbanising country Nigeria, as a case study for urban crime in developing nations. In Africa’s largest democracy, rapid unmanaged growth in its cities combined with decaying public infrastructure mean that risk factors accumulate and deepen the potential for urban crime. This book includes a thorough explanation of key concepts alongside an examination of the contemporary configuration, dynamics, dimensions, drivers and potential responses to urban crime challenges. The authors also discuss a range of methodological techniques and applications that can be used, including spatial technologies to generate new data for analysis. It brings together history, theory, trends, patterns, drivers, repercussions and responses to provide a deep analysis of the challenges that confront urban dwellers. Urbanisation and Crime in Nigeria offers academics, researchers, governments, civil society organisations, citizens, and international partners a tool with which to engage in a serious dialogue about crime within cities, based on evidence and good practices from inside and outside sub-Saharan Africa.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Vapors: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and Rise and Fall of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital of Vice, by David Hill. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

“Back in the days before Vegas was big, when the Mob was at its peak and neon lights were but a glimmer on the horizon, a little Southern town styled itself as a premier destination for the American leisure class. Hot Springs, Arkansas was home to healing waters, Art Deco splendor, and America’s original national park—as well as horse racing, nearly a dozen illegal casinos, countless backrooms and brothels, and some of the country’s most bald-faced criminals.

Gangsters, gamblers, and gamines: all once flocked to America’s forgotten capital of vice, a place where small-town hustlers and bigtime high-rollers could make their fortunes, and hide from the law. The Vapors is the extraordinary story of three individuals—spanning the golden decades of Hot Springs, from the 1930s through the 1960s—and the lavish casino whose spectacular rise and fall would bring them together before blowing them apart.

Hazel Hill was still a young girl when legendary mobster Owney Madden rolled into town in his convertible, fresh off a crime spree in New York. He quickly established himself as the gentleman Godfather of Hot Springs, cutting barroom deals and buying stakes in the clubs at which Hazel made her living—and drank away her sorrows. Owney’s protégé was Dane Harris, the son of a Cherokee bootlegger who rose through the town’s ranks to become Boss Gambler. It was his idea to build The Vapors, a pleasure palace more spectacular than any the town had ever seen, and an establishment to rival anything on the Vegas Strip or Broadway in sophistication and supercharged glamour.” From Publisher’s Website.

Violence Against Children in the Criminal Justice System: Global Perspectives on Prevention, edited by Wendy O’Brien and Cedric Foussard. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: New York: Routledge, 2020.

“Children who come into conflict with the law are more likely to have experienced violence or adversity than their non-offending peers. Exacerbating the deleterious effects of this childhood trauma, children’s contact with the criminal justice system poses undue risks of physical, sexual, and psychological violence. This book examines the specific forms of violence that children experience through their contact with the criminal justice system.

Comprising contributions from leading scholars and practitioners in children’s rights and youth justice, this book profiles evidence-based prevention strategies and case studies from around the world. It illustrates the diversity of contexts in which various forms of violence against children unfold and advances knowledge about both the nature and extent of violence against children in criminal justice settings, and the specific situational factors that contribute to, or inhibit, the successful implementation of violence prevention strategies. It demonstrates that specialised child justice systems, in which children’s rights are upheld, are crucial in preventing the violence inherent to conventional criminal justice regimes.

Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be of interest to students and researchers engaged in studies of criminology and criminal justice, youth justice, victimology, crime prevention, and children’s rights.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy, by Chris Murphy. New York: Random House, 2020.

“In many ways, the United States sets the pace for other nations to follow. Yet on the most important human concern—the need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from physical harm—America isn’t a leader. We are disturbingly laggard. Our churches and schools, our movie theaters and dance clubs, our workplaces and neighborhoods, no longer feel safe. To confront this problem, we must first understand it. In this carefully researched and deeply emotional book, Senator Chris Murphy dissects our country’s violence-filled history and the role that our unique obsession with firearms plays in this national epidemic.

Murphy tells the story of his profound personal transformation in the wake of the mass murder at Newtown, and his subsequent immersion in the complicated web of influences that drive American violence. Murphy comes to the conclusion that while America’s relationship to violence is indeed unique, America is not inescapably violent. Even as he details the reasons we’ve tolerated so much bloodshed for so long, he explains that we have the power to change. Murphy takes on the familiar arguments, obliterates the stale talking points, and charts the way to a fresh, less polarized conversation about violence and the weapons that enable it—a conversation we urgently need in order to transform the national dialogue and save lives.” From Publisher’s Website.

Violence Rewired: Evidence and Strategies for Public Health Action, by Richard Whittington and James McGuire. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

“This thought-provoking book draws together research from genetics, anthropology, psychology and the social sciences to show that widespread assumptions about the inevitability of human violence are almost entirely a collection of myths. While violence has been a recurring feature of human life, there is no reason to suppose that it is inherent in ‘human nature’. On the contrary, patterns of aggressive behaviour are largely learned through experience, and even those individuals who have often acted violently can learn to change. Rejecting the speculations of much contemporary writing about human aggression, Violence Rewired presents an evidence-based alternative: a multilevel model of action to reduce violence at both individual and collective levels, linked to public health initiatives developed by the World Health Organization. If humanity is to survive the challenges it faces, a more realistic appraisal of ourselves and our basic tendencies is an indispensable part of the solution.” From Publisher’s Website.

The Vortex of Violence: Lynching, Extralegal Justice, and the State in Post-Revolutionary Mexico, by Gema Kloppe-Santamaria. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.

“In the Vortex of Violence examines the uncharted history of lynching in post-revolutionary Mexico. Based on a collection of previously untapped sources, the book examines why lynching became a persistent practice during a period otherwise characterized by political stability and decreasing levels of violence. It explores how state formation processes, as well as religion, perceptions of crime, and mythical beliefs, contributed to shaping people’s understanding of lynching as a legitimate form of justice. Extending the history of lynching beyond the United States, this book offers key insights into the cultural, historical, and political reasons behind the violent phenomenon and its continued practice in Latin America today.” From Publisher’s Website.

Warped Narratives: Distortion in the Framing of Gun Policy, by Melissa K. Merry. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2020.

“The politics of gun policy in the United States are dramatic. Against the backdrop of daily gun violence—which claims more than 33,000 lives per year—gun control groups push for stronger regulations, while gun rights groups resist infringements upon their Second Amendment rights. To illuminate the dynamics of this polarized debate, Warped Narratives examines how and why interest groups frame the gun violence problem in particular ways, exploring the implication of groups’ framing choices for policymaking and politics. Melissa K. Merry argues that the gun policy arena is warped, and that both gun control and gun rights organizations contribute to the distortion of the issue by focusing on atypical characters and settings in their policy narratives. Gun control groups emphasize white victims, child victims, and mass shootings in suburban locales, while gun rights groups focus on self-defense shootings, highlighting threats to “law-abiding” gun owners. In reality, most gun deaths are the result of suicide. Homicides occur disproportionately in urban areas, mainly affecting racial minorities. While warping makes political sense in the short term, it may lead to negative, long-term consequences, including constraints on groups’ ability to build broad-based coalitions and to reduce prospects for compromise. To demonstrate warping, Merry analyzes nearly 67,000 communications by 15 national gun policy groups between 2000 and 2017 collected from blogs, emails, Facebook posts, and press releases. This book is the first to systematically assess the role of race in gun policy groups’ framing and offers the most comprehensive examination to date of interest groups’ presentation of this issue.” From Publisher’s Website.

We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners’ Rights in Postwar America, by Robert T. Chase. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.

“In the early twentieth century, the brutality of southern prisons became a national scandal. Prisoners toiled in grueling, violent conditions while housed in crude dormitories on what were effectively slave plantations. This system persisted until the 1940s when, led by Texas, southern states adopted northern prison design reforms. Texas presented the reforms to the public as modern, efficient, and disciplined. Inside prisons, however, the transition to penitentiary cells only made the endemic violence more secretive, intensifying the labor division that privileged some prisoners with the power to accelerate state-orchestrated brutality and the internal sex trade. Reformers’ efforts had only made things worse–now it was up to the prisoners to fight for change.

Drawing from three decades of legal documents compiled by prisoners, Robert T. Chase narrates the struggle to change prison from within. Prisoners forged an alliance with the NAACP to contest the constitutionality of Texas prisons. Behind bars, a prisoner coalition of Chicano Movement and Black Power organizations publicized their deplorable conditions as “slaves of the state” and initiated a prison-made civil rights revolution and labor protest movement. These insurgents won epochal legal victories that declared conditions in many southern prisons to be cruel and unusual–but their movement was overwhelmed by the increasing militarization of the prison system and empowerment of white supremacist gangs that, together, declared war on prison organizers. Told from the vantage point of the prisoners themselves, this book weaves together untold but devastatingly important truths from the histories of labor, civil rights, and politics in the United States as it narrates the transition from prison plantations of the past to the mass incarceration of today.” From Publisher’s Website.

Wildlife Criminology, by Angus Nurse and Tanya Wyatt. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press, 2020.

“The authors go well beyond basic conceptions of animal-related crime, such as illicit trade, for a deeper exploration of wildlife criminology, using a novel approach that combines philosophical, legal and criminological perspectives. They shed light on both legal and illegal harms, including blood sports, wildlife as food and abuse in zoos, and consider the potential connections with inter-human crimes.

This is a unique treatment of wildlife as victims of crime and a consideration of their rights as sentient beings that sets new horizons for the concept of wildlife criminology.” From publisher’s website.

Williams’ Gang: A Notorious Slave Trade and His Cargo of Black Convicts, by Jeff Forret. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

“William H. Williams operated a slave pen in Washington, DC, known as the Yellow House, and actively trafficked in enslaved men, women, and children for more than twenty years. His slave trading activities took an extraordinary turn in 1840 when he purchased twenty-seven enslaved convicts from the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond with the understanding that he could carry them outside of the United States for sale. When Williams conveyed his captives illegally into New Orleans, allegedly while en route to the foreign country of Texas, he prompted a series of courtroom dramas that would last for almost three decades. Based on court records, newspapers, governors’ files, slave manifests, slave narratives, travelers’ accounts, and penitentiary data, Williams’ Gang examines slave criminality, the coastwise domestic slave trade, and southern jurisprudence as it supplies a compelling portrait of the economy, society, and politics of the Old South.” From Publisher’s Website.

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