Full Reviews


Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service

Author: Carol Leonnig
Publisher: Random House, 2021. 532 pages
Reviewer: Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones ǀ November 2021

Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by Carol Leonnig, tells the story of a relatively little-known branch of the Federal law enforcement apparatus.  The Secret Service has, for example, received far less publicity than such counterparts as the FBI and the DEA.  Leonnig’s history does not leave the reader with a particularly glowing view of the Service.  To the contrary, it comes across as being so error-prone and highly politicized as to shake one’s confidence in its ability to protect the President and all the others now under its supposedly protective shield.  Reviewer Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones says that the author’s goal “was to write a book that will prompt reform of one of America’s essential agencies.”  In pursuit of this goal, Jeffreys-Jones suggests that “[l]egislators on Capitol Hill usually have too many distractions to pay heed to the appearance of an individual book. But they would be wise to consider what Carol Leonnig has to say.”

We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption

Author: Justin Fenton
Publisher: Random House, 2021. 352 pages
Reviewer: Michael Pinard ǀ November 2021

Police departments, and especially urban police departments, have recently come under the microscope.  But in reality, this scrutiny has been going on for more than a decade, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of the Baltimore Police Department.  That department is scrutinized by Justin Fenton in We Own this City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption — reviewed here by Michael Pinard.  Pinard says the recent past has been “horrific” for the police department, but even worse for the individuals and communities of Baltimore.  Fenton, concludes Pinard, “imparts valuable lessons, the most important of which is that police abuse, brutality, cruelty, and criminality do not – and cannot – persist in a vacuum.  It takes systems to victimize perpetually.”

Twenty Million Angry Men: The Case for Including Convicted Felons in Our Jury System

Author: James M. Binnall
Publisher: University of California Press, 2021. 288 pages
Reviewer: Anna Roberts ǀ November 2021

The Deviant Prison: Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and the Origins of America’s Modern Penal system, 1829-1913

Author: Ashley T. Rubin
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2021. 320 pages
Reviewer: Mary Gibson ǀ November 2021

One of the best-known dictums about the value of studying history is to learn its lessons and avoid its mistakes.  In this time of criminal justice reform, including with respect to what is labelled “mass incarceration, it is useful to look back at the origins of the prison system in the United States.  Ashley Rubin takes such a look in The Deviant Prison: Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and the Origins of America’s Modern Penal System, 1829-1913.  Our reviewer is historian Mary Gibson.  What was known as the Pennsylvania model of prison reform used the “solitary” or “separate” system in which reform was supposed to occur through isolation “allowing inmates to reflect on their misdeeds.”  Opponents of this model criticized the separate approach, and in Gibson’s words “demonized solitary confinement as cruel and detrimental to inmates’ physical and mental health.”  This should seem very familiar to anyone following today’s criticisms about the use of solitary confinement in contemporary jails and prisons. 

A Pattern of Violence: How the Law Classifies Crimes and What That Means for Justice

Author: David Alan Sklansky
Publisher: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2021. 316 pages
Reviewer: Benjamin Levin ǀ November 2021

The Ballad of Robert Charles: Searching for the New Orleans Riot of 1900

Author: K. Stephen Prince
Publisher University of North Carolina Press, 2021. 264 pages
Reviewer: Thomas Aiello ǀ November 2021

Religious Hatred: Prejudice, Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Global Context

Author: Paul Hedges, London
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021. 312 pages
Reviewer: Thomas Sealy ǀ November 2021

Privilege and Punishment: How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court

Author: Matthew Clair
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 2020. 320 pages
Reviewer: April D. Fernandes ǀ November 2021

“Prisons Make Us Safer” and 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration

Author: Victoria Law
Publisher: Beacon Press, 2021. 240 pages
Reviewer: Nicole Frisch-Scott ǀ November 2021

Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America

Author: Gerald Posner
Publisher: Avid Reader Press, 2020. 816 pages
Reviewer: Megan Aiken ǀ November 2021

Outlaw Women: Prison, Rural Violence, and Poverty in the American West

Authors: Susan Dewey, Bonnie Zare, Catherine Connolly, Rhett Epler, & Rosemary Bratton
Publisher: New York University Press, 2019. 271 pages
Reviewers: Ariel Booker & Vanessa A. Massaro (corresponding author) ǀ November 2021

Multiple Marginality and Gangs: Through a Prism Darkly

Author: James Diego Vigil
Publisher: Lexington Books. 2020. 140 pages
Reviewer: Timothy R. Lauger ǀ November 2021

Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty

Author: Maurice Chammah
Publisher: Crown Books 2021. 368 pages
Reviewer: Carol Steiker ǀ November 2021

Kilo: Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels—From the Jungles to the Streets

Author: Toby Muse
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2020. 320 pages
Reviewer: Gabriel Ferreyra ǀ November 2021

In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and my Search for the Truth

Author: Jack Goldsmith
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. 368 pages
Reviewer: Frederick T. Martens ǀ November 2021

Hacker States

Authors: Luca Follis & Adam Fish
Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2020. 264 pages
Reviewer: Sara Schoonmaker ǀ November 2021

The Eagle is Watching: FBI Files on Mexicans and Chicanos, 1940-1980

Author: José Angel Gutiérrez
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2021. 274 pages
Reviewer: Douglas M. Charles ǀ November 2021

FBI Surveillance of Mexicans and Chicanos, 1920-1980

Author: José Angel Gutiérrez
Publisher: Lexington Books, 2020. 380 pages
Reviewer: Douglas M. Charles ǀ November 2021

Court of Injustice: Law Without Recognition in U.S. Immigration

Author: J.C. Salyer
Publisher: Stanford University Press, 2020. 216 pages
Reviewer: Anita Maddali ǀ November 2021

 J.C. Salyer’s Court of Injustice: Law Without Recognition in U.S. Immigration addresses several themes, and among them is the country’s ongoing struggle to come to grips with immigration and immigrants, and with the question of the extent to which U.S. constitutional and legal principles are or are not applicable in immigration cases.  Reviewer Anita Maddali says “Salyer removes the veil on presumed notions of justice, equality and fairness in order to reveal the techniques of power used in the context of immigration, which dehumanize and blame immigrants.”  Another theme developed in the book is the contrast between what those in the legal profession have long viewed as the difference between the law on the books and the law as practiced.  Of this, Maddali writes “[t]his book impressively combines legal and anthropological expertise [Salyer is both a lawyer and an anthropologist], contrasting the nuance of law and practice with the on-the-ground experiences of individuals working within the system.”

Central Prison: A History of North Carolina’s State Penitentiary

Author: Gregory S. Taylor
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press, 2021. 328 pages
Reviewer: Paul Knepper ǀ November 2021

Big Apple Gangsters: The Rise and Decline of the Mob in New York

Author: Jeffrey Sussman
Publisher: Roman & Littlefield, 2020. 213 pages
Reviewer: Jay Albanese ǀ November 2021

An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Courtney E. Thompson
Publisher: Rutgers University Press, 2021. 278 pages
Reviewer: Peter A. Alces ǀ November 2021

An Intimate Economy: Enslaved Women, Work, and America’s Domestic Slave Trade

Author: Alexandra J. Finley
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020. 200 pages
Reviewer: Christy Clark-Pujara ǀ November 2021

Further on the theme of the value of the study of history in general, but particularly relevant to the ongoing controversial debate about including the history of slavery in the study of American history, comes Alexandra Finley’s An Intimate Economy: Enslaved Women, Work, and America’s Domestic Slave Trade, reviewed here by Christy Clark-Pujara.  An Intimate Economy tells the life stories of women who represent four categories of female laborers, who in Clark-Pujara’s words, were critical to a full accounting and understanding of the slave trade.  She says that Finley has provided “an engaging and accessible narrative that will appeal to scholars as well as general readers…. [one that] carefully and brilliantly connects scholarships of slavery, capitalism and women’s studies.”

America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

Author: Elizabeth Hinton
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2021. 408 pages
Reviewer: Stephen Bohigianǀ November 2021

Coming as it does in this time of controversy, disagreement and divisiveness with respect to political demonstrations and protests – some of which have resulted in violence and deaths — Elizabeth Hinton’s America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, is most timely.  The book is reviewed for us by Stephen Bohigian.  Hinton looks at various urban uprisings that have occurred since 1968 — in other words, after the tumult of the four years preceding that time.  She does not focus only on the big cities, but also includes Cairo, Illinois and York, Pennsylvania in her analyses.  Hinton concludes that Black urban rebellion was mostly a response to and was precipitated by overpolicing and police violence.  Bohigian calls the book “a remarkable and important work that contributes to a more nuanced understanding of not only Black rebellion, but federal and municipal politics, Black political power, criminal justice reform, and the overpolicing of low-income communities.”

Aging Behind Prison Walls: Studies in Trauma and Resilience

Authors: Tina Maschi and Keith Morgen
Publisher: Columbia University Press, 2021. 296 pages
Reviewer Name: Angela S. Murolo ǀ November 2021


The Roots Of Violent Crime In America: From The Gilded Age Through The Great Depression

Author: Barry Latzer
Publisher: Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020
Reviewer: Amikam Harpaz | September 2021

Reviewer Amikam Harpaz says of Barry Latzer’s The Roots of Violent Crime in America: From the Gilded Age through the Great Depression:“the writing is fluent; mastery of the relevant sources is evident; and the interpretation, though controversial, is sensitive to the issues raised by the subject of crime and society.” Why controversial? Because Latzer concludes that some immigrants to America from other countries, as well as some internal migrants, brought a culture of violence with them when they arrived at their new destinations!  So, controversial? Yes, but also thought provoking!

Free Justice: A History Of The Public Defender In Twentieth-Century America

Author: Sara Mayeux
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020. 271p.
Reviewer: Sam Bieler | September 2021

Criminal defense lawyers have long occupied a unique status in the public perception as well as in the legal profession itself. Sara Mayeux describes and explains that status in her examination of a particular kind of defense attorney, namely the public defender. Free Justice: A History of the Public Defender in Twentieth-Century America is reviewed for us by Sam Bieler, who describes the book as chronicling the “difficult birth and journey [of the public defender concept] in an entertaining and descriptive work that all readers, and particularly lawyers of all stripes, will find valuable.”

Warped Narratives: Distortion In The Framing Of Gun Policy

Author: Melissa K. Merry
Publisher: Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2020. 236p.
Reviewer: Steven Block | September 2021

In a time of political polarization and divisiveness, with a host of interest groups and lobbies on opposite sides of many public issues and debates, it is hard to find an issue more polarizing than gun policy. Melissa K. Merry neatly captures this notion in the title of her new book, Warped Narratives: Distortion in the Framing of Gun Policy. Reviewer Steven Block says Merry “takes a balanced position to thoroughly analyze how gun control and gun rights groups have framed this important subject for nearly two decades.” Block draws this troubling conclusion from his reading of the book: “[u]nfortunately, it is hard to imagine that advocacy groups will tone down warped rhetoric at a time when policy-makers are rewarded for assuming extreme positions.… One must wonder whether it is possible for advocacy groups to be motivated to create accurate portrayals of gun behavior in America, even as the country fails to find a middle ground on other issues that have traditionally been much less polarizing.”

The Problems Of Genocide – Permanent Security And The Language Of Transgression

Author: A. Dirk Moses
Publisher: Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 598p.
Reviewer: David O. Friedrichs | September 2021

Murder is a horrific crime. Killing on a mass scale stretches the characterization of being horrific to yet new heights. One form of mass killing is genocide — the destruction of a particular group of people based upon their race, ethnicity, or religion, etc. The Problems of Genocide by A. Dirk Moses, takes on this challenging topic, but does so along with other so-called state-sponsored crimes, such as war crimes, that raise a host of moral and ethical issues of their own. Reviewer David O. Friedrichs says that the core thesis of Moses’ book is that “the concept of genocide as the `crime of crimes’ produces a hierarchy of mass death that organizes and distorts thinking about civilian destruction, and blinds us to the immense harm of other forms of mass killing of civilians, including the bombing of cities and drone strikes.”

The Battle To Stay In America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line

Author: Michael Kagan
Publisher: Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press 2020. 216p.
Reviewer: Stephen W. Bender | September 2021

Immigration, immigration law, and immigration law enforcement are in one sense separate and different subjects from criminal law and criminal justice.  But as reviewer Steven Bender points out, Michael Kagan’s book The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line illustrates how the line separating these subject matters has become blurred. Bender writes that it was “during the Trump administration when immigration law was particularly seen and enforced through a criminal law lens,” but to a degree that criminal law lens has continued under the Biden administration. The crimmigration experience described by Kagan, with immigration law enforcement stretching from federal officials to local police, explains, says the reviewer, “the irony of how a book ostensibly on U.S. immigration law and policy is reviewed here in a journal for criminal law and criminal justice texts.”

The Puzzle Of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around The World

Author: David Skarbek
Publisher: Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 240p.
Reviewers: Rose Elisabeth Boyle, Pernille Nyvoll, and Thomas Ugelvik | September 2021

What has been labelled mass incarceration has become a focus of discussions about criminal justice reform in the United States over the past 20 years. Some of that discussion has been centered on comparisons of the nature of imprisonment in the US with that in other countries — comparisons which show, among other things, the US having among the highest incarceration rates in the world, and some of the most problem-plagued institutions. David Skarbek’s The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around the World presents a contribution to that comparison discussion with respect to the culture, organization and management of prisons in Central America, in the Nordic countries, in the UK, and in the US. The book is reviewed here by Rose Elisabeth Boyle, Pernille Nyvoll and Thomas Ugelvik.

Why The Innocent Plead Guilty And The Guilty Go Free (And Other Paradoxes Of Our Broken Legal System)

Author: Jed S. Rakoff
Publisher: New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. 208p.
Reviewer: Michael Gentithes | September 2021

Just Algorithms: Using Science To Reduce Incarceration And Inform A Jurisprudence Of Risk

Author: Christopher Slogobin
Publisher: New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2021. 167p.
Reviewer: Aziz Z. Huq | September 2021

The Black Widows Of The Eternal City: The True Story Of Rome’s Most Infamous Poisoners

Author: Craig A. Monson
Publisher: Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2020. 258p.
Reviewer: Trevor Dean | September 2021

What We Know: Solutions From Our Experiences In The Justice System

Editors: Vivian Nixon and Daryl V. Atkinson
Publisher: New York: The New Press, 2020. 272p.
Reviewer: Terry A. Kupers | September 2021

The Ku Klux Klan In The Heartland

Author: James H. Madison
Publisher: Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020. 264p.
Reviewer: Britta Crandall | September 2021

The Perilous Public Square: Structural Threats To Free Expression Today

Editor: David E. Pozen
Publisher: New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2020. 408p.
Reviewer: Clay Calvert | September 2021

Liars: Falsehoods And Free Speech In An Age Of Deception

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2021. 192p.
Reviewer: Clay Calvert | September 2021

Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds

Author: Stephen P. Garvey
Publisher: Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020. 334p.
Reviewer: Chad Flanders | September 2021

Alabama Justice: The Cases And Faces That Changed A Nation

Author: Steven P. Brown
Publisher: Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2020.
Reviewer: Nicholas W. Mason | September 2021

Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher

Author: Charlotte Bismuth
Publisher: New York: One Signal Publishers, 2020.
Reviewer: David T. Courtwright | September 2021

Women’s Criminality In Europe, 1600-1914

Editors: Manon van der Heijden, Marion Pluskota, and Sanne Muurling
Publisher: Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 270p.
Reviewer: Russ Immarigeon | September 2021

Pills, Powder, And Smoke: Inside The Bloody War On Drugs

Author: Antony Loewenstein
Melbourne; London: Scribe Publications, 2020, 360p.
Reviewer: Kendra McSweeney | September 2021

Understanding And Reducing Prison Violence: An Integrated Social Control-Opportunity Perspective

Authors: Benjamin Steiner and John Wooldredge
Publisher: Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2020. 186p.
Reviewer: Jennifer J. Tostlebe | September 2021

The Snatch Racket: The Kidnapping Epidemic That Terrorized 1930s America

Author: Carolyn Cox
Publisher: Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books (an Imprint of the University of Nebraska Press), 2021. 376p.
Reviewer: Paula S. Fass | September 2021

Violence As Usual: Policing And The Colonial State In German Southwest Africa

Author: Marie Muschalek
Publisher: Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019. 270p.
Reviewer: S. Jonathan Wiesen | September 2021

Fakes, Forgeries, And Frauds

Author: Nancy Moses
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. 216p.
Reviewer: Louise Nicholas (Grove) | September 2021

Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, And Inequality In The St. Louis Suburbs

Author: Colin Gordon
Publisher: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. 210p.
Reviewer:  Mary Welek Atwell | September 2021

A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll Of Violence On Black America

Author: Elliott Currie
Publisher: New York: Metropolitan Books, 2020. 288p.
Reviewer: Mary Welek Atwell | September 2021

American Serial Killers: The Epidemic Years 1950-2000

Author: Peter Vronsky
Publisher: New York: Berkley. 2020. 416p.
Reviewer: Katherine Ramsland | September 2021

The Politics Of Ponzi Schemes: History, Theory, And Policy

Author: Marie Springer
Publisher: Oxon, Abingdon, UK; New York: Routledge, 2020. 338p.
Reviewer: Colleen P. Eren | September 2021

Policing Iraq: Legitimacy, Democracy, And Empire In A Developing State

Author: Jesse S.G. Wozniak
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2021. 241p.
Reviewer: Mathieu Deflem | September 2021


A Descending Spiral: Exposing The Death Penalty In 12 Essays

Author: Marc Bookman
Publisher: New York: The New Press, 2021. 208p.
Reviewer: Eric M. Freedman | August 2021

Criminology Explains School Bullying

Authors: Robert A. Brooks and Jeffrey W. Cohen
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020. 232p.
Reviewer: Rachel Maunder | August 2021

Understanding and preventing school bullying is a relatively recent topic of interest to criminologists. One would find, for example, barely any mention of this phenomenon in the earlier classic works of criminology. Today, however, bullying and in particular school bullying, are important issues in the crime and justice literature. Criminology Explains School Bullying, by Robert A. Brooks and Jeffrey W. Cohen, reviewed here by Rachel Maunder, is an example of this heightened interest. Maunder’s take on this book is particularly interesting because she is not a criminologist, but rather a psychologist whose approach to the study of bullying has come from that latter perspective. With this in mind, she concludes that anyone with a professional or academic interest in bullying will find this book insightful because, she says, we “have much to learn from each other.”

Migranthood: Youth In A New Era Of Deportation

Author: Lauren Heidbrink
Publisher: Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020. 240p.
Reviewer: Leah Schmalzbauer | August 2021

Bugsy Siegel: The Dark Side Of The American Dream

Author: Michael Shnayerson
Publisher: New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2021. 226p.
Reviewer: Larry Gragg | August 2021

A City Divided: Race, Fear, And The Law In Police Confrontations

Author: David A. Harris
Publisher: London; New York: Anthem Press, 2020. 354p.
Reviewer: Brandon T. Jett | August 2021

Marking Time: Art In The Age Of Mass Incarceration

Author: Nicole R. Fleetwood
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020. 352p.
Reviewer: Beth Adubato | August 2021

A Knock At Midnight: A Story Of Hope, Justice, And Freedom

Author: Brittany Barnett
Publisher: New York: Crown Publishing (a division of Penguin Random House), 2020.
Reviewer: Jack E. Call | August 2021

Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory

Author: Stuart P. Green
Publisher: New York, Oxford University Press. 382p.
Reviewer: Roger S. Clark | August 2021

Stuart Green, in Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory, takes on a topic that, in one form or another, has been much in the public eye in recent years – namely, what constitutes consensual versus nonconsensual sex, and what is or should be the law in this regard. Green explores the recent divergence between the law’s more punitive stance toward nonconsensual sex coupled with a more permissive stance toward conduct seen as consensual. In doing so, he states his philosophical task in the book as follows: “I shall assume that a proper role of the criminal law in a liberal state is to protect individuals in their right not to be subjected to sexual contact against their will, while also safeguarding their right to engage in (private, consensual) sexual conduct in which they do wish to participate.” Reviewer Roger Clark calls the book “a very carefully-researched and elegantly written work [that is] a blockbuster of its philosophical genre.”

Force Of Words: The Logic Of Terrorist Threats

Author: Joseph M. Brown
Publisher: New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2020. 289p.
Reviewer: Charles W. Mahoney | August 2021

Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, And The Struggle Over Urban Gay Life Before Stonewall

Author: Anna Lvovsky
Publisher: Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021. 360p.
Reviewer: Jordan Carr Peterson | August 2021

Killer High: A History Of War In Six Drugs

Author: Peter Andreas
Publisher: Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 352p.
Reviewer: Katharine Neill-Harris | August 2021

Drugs and wars on drugs have long been mainstay elements of anti-crime policies. Lest one think this is something unique to US policy over the past 50 years, Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs by Peter Andreas should disabuse you of that notion. Our reviewer, Katharine Neill Harris, calls this a “well-written and extensively researched” book that deals with what she refers to as “six of humanity’s favorite drugs—alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, opium, amphetamines, and cocaine.” And it does so in both an historical and an international context. Andreas’ drug war is “war for drugs, war against drugs, war while on drugs, war fought through drugs, and post-war drug markets and use.”  

Criminal Law And The Man Problem

Author: Ngaire Naffine
Publisher: London: Hart Publishing, 2019. 224p.
Reviewer: Lindsay Farmer | August 2021

Punishing Poverty: How Bail And Pretrial Detention Fuel Inequalities In The Criminal Justice System

Authors: Christine S. Scott-Hayward & Henry F. Fradella
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2019. 309p.
Reviewer: James C. Oleson | August 2021

Punishing Poverty: How Bail and Pretrial Detention Fuel Inequalities in the Criminal Justice System, by Christine S. Scott-Hayward & Henry F. Fradella, comes at a time and addresses a topic that is very much in the forefront of current discussions about criminal justice reform in the U.S. It will come as no surprise to readers to read about inequality being at the heart of many of the problems in criminal justice in this country. What they may be surprised to learn is that, at least as measured by who gets bailed and who gets detained pre-trial, the problem has gotten considerably worse over the past 50 years. Of particular interest here may be the perspective of the reviewer, James C. Oleson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who introduces his review by referring to American exceptionalism in general and American criminal justice exceptionalism in particular as follows: “I did not, myself, fully appreciate the astonishing disparities between the criminal justice systems of the US and other western industrialized nations until I moved from Washington DC to Auckland, New Zealand in 2010.”

Dark Quadrant: Organized Crime, Big Business, And The Corruption Of American Democracy

Author: Jonathan Marshall
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021. 416p.
Reviewer: Frederick T. Martens | August 2021

Jonathan Marshall characterizes himself as an independent scholar, seemingly meaning he has no institutional affiliation, and journalist. He has published earlier books about corruption, drugs, and organized crime. His most recent book is called DARK QUADRANT: Organized Crime, Big Business, and the Corruption of American Democracy, and it traces a history of the intertwining of politics, business, corruption, and organized crime at the highest levels of government, extending from the Truman Administration up thru the Trump Administration. Our reviewer, Fred Martens, calls Dark Quadrant “a compelling assessment of the political chicanery that has shaped and sculpted America’s political landscape for decades.” It is, Martens points out, “meticulously sourced,” with 119 pages of notes alone. In typically colorful language, Martens concludes “the author conducts a political autopsy that guts the corpses that lay strewn along the roadways to political success, greatness, tragedy, and scandal.”

Tragedy In Aurora: The Culture Of Mass Shootings In America

Authors: Tom Diaz, Lonnie Phillips, and Sandy Phillips
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019. 286p
Reviewers: Daniel Tomascik and Brandon Dulisse | August 2021

Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, And Perversion On Stage

Author: Axel Englund
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020. 255p.
Reviewer: Lars Ole Sauerberg | August 2021

Trading Life: Organ Trafficking, Illicit Networks And Exploitation

Author: Sean Columb
Publisher: Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020. 224p.
Reviewer: Frederike Ambagtsheer | August 2021 

Dance On The Razor’s Edge: Crime And Punishment In The Nazi Ghettos

Author: Svenja Bethke (translated by Sharon Howe)
Publisher: Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2021. 304p.
Reviewer: Michael A. Livingston | August 2021

The Legal Process And The Promise Of Justice: Studies Inspired By The Work Of Malcolm Feeley

Editors: Rosann Greenspan, Hadar Aviram, and Jonathan Simon
Publisher: Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019. 400p.
Reviewer: Joachim J. Savelsberg | August 2021


Pursuing Citizenship In The Enforcement Era

Author: Ming Hsu Chen
Publisher: Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020. 232p.
Reviewer: Shannon Gleeson | May 2021

Immigration is one of those perennially thorny topics that remains a focus of discussion and debate. It is the topic of Ming Hsu Chen’s book Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era. Our reviewer Shannon Gleeson says that Chen is one of a small group of political theorists who study immigration by “actually asking immigrants directly about why they pursue citizenship, and about their experiences in doing so.” The author draws her findings from interviews with many different categories of immigrants – undocumented immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACAs), temporary visa holders, refugees, and legal permanent residents. Her goal is to understand why these immigrants want to become American citizens. “This way of understanding citizenship,” says Glesson, “illuminates the central question of who feels American, and why (or why not).”

Chronicles Of A Radical Criminologist: Working The Margins Of Law, Power, And Justice

Author: Gregg Barak
Publisher: New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 288p.
Reviewer: Victoria E. Collins | May 2021

It takes a degree of chutzpah to believe that one’s life is of sufficient interest that it should be chronicled in a memoir or autobiography. Seemingly, criminologist Greg Barak believes that, and our reviewer, Victoria Collins, here fully agrees. She writes that Chronicles of a Radical Criminologist is “much more than a memoir.” It is rather “an interesting insight into academic life, career decisions and trajectories, and into university administration.” Of particular interest to criminologists, both old and new, should be Barak’s description of the history of, and his own experience at, the School of Criminology at the University of California, Berkeley. In the interests of full disclosure, it was of personal interest to me (your co-editor for criminal justice), since my application for admission to the school many years ago was rejected!
Convenience Triangle In White-Collar Crime: Case Studies Of Fraud Examinations

Author: Petter Gottschalk
Publisher: Cheltenham Glos (UK): Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019. 296p.
Reviewer: Viviana I. Vasiu | May 2021

The concept of white-collar crime has its origins in the work of sociologist/criminologist Edwin Sutherland back in the 1930s. Sutherland described this particular type of crime as being committed by mostly professionals having the opportunity to do so in the course of their jobs. Convenience Triangle in White-Collar Crime: Case Studies of Fraud Examinations by Petter Gottschalk expressly works within the parameters of Sutherland’s white-collar crime definition according to our reviewer, Viviana I. Vasiu. With respect to the convenience triangle of the book’s title, Vasiu says “[t]his book ultimately revolves around the theory of convenience. The theory of convenience proposes that the triangle of motive, opportunity, and willingness are the three dimensions that underly white-collar crime.” “The differences showcased between white-collar crime and street crime through the use of convenience theory,” says Vasiu, “not only serve to enrich theoretical discussions, but also illuminate areas where policies and rules could be implemented or continually improved.”

“Crossover” Children In The Youth Justice And Child Protection Systems

Authors: Susan Baidawi and Rosemary Sheehan
Publisher: London; New York: Routledge, 2019. 160p.
Reviewer: Denise C. Herz | May 2021

“Crossover” Children in the Youth Justice and Child Protection Systems by Susan Baidawi and Rosemary Sheehan describes the bifurcation of juvenile justice systems into two systems – one for child victims and one for child offenders. The heart of the book is research conducted at the Children’s Court of Victoria, Australia between 2016 and 2018. As our review points out, what this book demonstrates and reinforces is the fact that “[w]ith great consistency across Western countries, statistics show children entering child protection systems as victims, and leaving as offenders with worse life outcomes than their counterparts who only experience one system or no system at all.”

Against The Death Penalty: Writings From The First Abolitionists – Giuseppe Pelli And Cesare Beccaria

Authors: Giuseppie Pelli (Author), Peter Garnsey (Editor)
Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2020. 226p.
Reviewer: Marc Bookman | May 2021

The review of Against the Death Penalty starts off with the intriguing observation by the reviewer, Marc Bookman, that “everything has been said ….at least as far as the moral argument against the ultimate punishment is concerned.” Translated and with commentary by Peter Garnsey, this book focuses on the work of two Italian scholars of criminal jurisprudence in the 1700s — Giuseppe Pelli and Cesare Beccaria. The latter is the much better known of the two. The reviewer praises Garnsey for doing an outstanding job with difficult material, and concludes his review as follows: “When the death penalty ends for good, as it inevitably must, Mr. Garnsey will have thoroughly and carefully noted the beginning of the end.”
Predict And Surveil: Data, Discretion, And The Future Of Policing

Author: Sarah Brayne
Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press. 2020. 224p.
Reviewer: Thomas L. Scott | May 2021

Policing is currently very much under the gun in the United States, following a year of highly publicized police shootings of African-Americans in particular. Among the many calls for police reform are arguments for what has been called evidence-based policing. This is the subject of Sarah Brayne’s Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing, reviewed here by Thomas L. Scott. Scott says that “big data analytics” could help police reform by increasing the efficacy, efficiency, and fairness of the police. What are big data analytics? Among other things, they include such practices as automatic license plate readers, facial recognition software, and data driven algorithms that can identify “hot spots” for police attention. Scott applauds Brayne for raising important points about the advantages and disadvantages of big data analytics, but faults her for not providing sufficient evidence for her argument that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. He nevertheless recommends the book for law enforcement and city leaders.
Civilization And Barbarism: Punishing Criminals In The Twenty-First Century

Author: Graeme R. Newman
Publisher: Albany: SUNY Press, 2020. 272 p.
Reviewer: David Schultz | May 2021

Public City/Public Sex: Homosexuality, Prostitution, And Urban Culture In Nineteenth-Century Paris

Author: Andrew Israel Ross
Publisher: Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2019. 286p.
Reviewer: Scott Turner | May 2021

Research Handbook On Transnational Crime

Editors: Valsamis Mitsilegas; Saskia Hufnagel; Anton Moiseienko
Publisher: Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2019. 544p.
Reviewer: Yuliya Zabyelina | May 2021

Made Men: The Story Of Goodfellas

Author: Glenn Kenny
Publisher: Toronto: Hanover Square Press, 2020. 397p.
Reviewer: Jay Albanese | May 2021

The Hardhat Riot: Nixon, New York City, And The Dawn Of The White Working-Class Revolution

Author: David Paul Kuhn
Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 416p.
Reviewer: Jerald Podair | May 2021

Baby Jails: The Fight To End The Incarceration Of Refugee Children In America

Author: Philip G. Schrag
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020. 396p.
Reviewer: Benjamin J. Roth and Karen Andrea Flynn | May 2021

Animal Traffic: Lively Capital In The Global Exotic Pet Trade

Author: Rosemary-Claire Collard
Publisher: Durham, NC: London: Duke University Press, 2020. 200p.
Reviewer: Ragnhild Sollund | May 2021

This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis And The Front Line Of A New America

Author: Jack Shuler
Publisher: Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2020. 304p.
Reviewer: Paul Draus | May 2021

Recounting The Anthrax Attacks: Terror, The Amerithrax Task Force, And The Evolution Of Forensics In The Fbi

Author: R. Scott Decker
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019. 300p.
Reviewer: Al Mauroni | May 2021

Mettray: A History Of France’s Most Venerated Carceral Institution

Author: Stephen A. Toth
Publisher: Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019. 280p.
Reviewer: Colin Ripley | May 2021

Combating Money Laundering In Africa: Dealing With The Problem Of Peps

Author: John Hatchard
Publisher: Cheltenham, UK; Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2020, 277p.
Reviewer: Neil Boister | May 2021

Ghosts Of Sheridan Circle: How A Washington Assassination Brought Pinochet’s Terror State To Justice

Author: Alan McPherson
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. 392p.
Reviewer: Steven S. Volk | May 2021

Private Security And Domestic Violence: The Risks And Benefits Of Private Security

Author: Diarmid Harkin
Publisher: Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, 2020. 164p.
Reviewer: Sandra Walklate | May 2021

Improperly Obtained Evidence In Anglo-American And Continental Law

Author: Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos
Publisher: Oxford, UK; New York: Hart Publishing, 2019. 328p.
Reviewer: Yvonne Daly | May 2021

Lights, Camera, Execution! Cinematic Portrayals Of Capital Punishment

Authors: Helen J. Knowles, Bruce E. Altschuler, and Jaclyn Schildkraut
Publisher: Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019. 185p.
Reviewer: Inez Hedges | May 2021

Digitize And Punish: Racial Criminalization In The Digital Age

Author: Brian Jefferson
Publisher: Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020. 232p.
Reviewer: Patrick C. Lalonde | May 2021

Punished For Aging: Vulnerability, Rights, And Access To Justice In Canadian Penitentiaries

Author: Adelina Iftene
Publisher: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019. 264p.
Reviewer: Helen Hudson | May 2021

Views From The Streets: The Transformation Of Gangs And Violence On Chicago’s South Side

Author: Roberto R. Aspholm
Publisher: New York: Columbia University Press, 2020. 228p.
Reviewer: James C. Howell | May 2021

To Live And Defy In La: How Gangsta Rap Changed America

Author: Felicia Angeja Viator
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020. 352p.
Reviewer: Nicholas Stoia | May 2021

Six Days In August: The Story Of The Stockholm Syndrome

Author: David King
Publisher: New York: W.W. Norton, 2020. 304p.
Reviewer: Peter A. Morrall | May 2021

Theaters Of Pardoning

Publisher: Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019. 324p.
Reviewers: Budd N. Shenkin and David L. Levine | May 2021


The Gangs Of Bangladesh: Mastaans, Street Gangs And ‘Illicit Child Labourers’ In Dhaka

Author: Sally Atkinson-Sheppard
Publisher: London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 215p.
Reviewer: Arild Engelsen Ruud | February 2021

Critical Reflections On Evidence-Based Policing

Editors: N. Fielding; K. Bullock, and S. Holdaway
Publishing: Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2019. 228p.
Reviewer: Peter Neyroud | February 2021

Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role Of Persuasion In Violent Radicalization And Counter-Radicalization

Author: Kurt Braddock
Publisher: Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 302p.
Reviewer: Clark McCauley | February 2021

Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization by Kurt Braddock is another timely book about one of the hottest topics in law and justice at the moment.  Reviewed here by Clark McCauley, Braddock’s book is a review of psychological theory and research relevant to understanding and preventing terrorist persuasion among both left wing and right-wing radicals. McCauley concludes that the book “succeeds in framing radicalization and counter-radicalization as communication problems,” but what it does not do he says, is “suggest how persuasion of opinion might be different from persuasion to action.”

Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking & The Politics Of Freedom

Author: Elizabeth Bernstein
Publisher: Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2018. 304p.
Reviewer: Jennifer Suchland | February 2021

Human trafficking, and in particular sex trafficking, have become issues of major global concern over the past 20 years. This form of trafficking presents a host of concerns and problems cutting across victimization and exploitation, human rights, potential organized crime involvement, etc. Elizabeth Bernstein is one of those who have researched and written widely about these issues. Her latest book, Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking & the Politics of Freedom, is reviewed for us here by Jennifer Suchland. Suchland recommends what she calls a “fascinating, readable and compelling book.” It is, she says, an invaluable study that should guide critical inquiry for many years to come.

We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, And Prisoners’ Rights In Postwar America

Author: Robert T. Chase
Publisher: Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2020. 525 p.
Reviewer: Paul N. Spellman | February 2021

Tall Walls And High Fences: Officers And Offenders, The Texas Prison Story

Authors: Bob Alexander and Richard K. Alford
Publisher: Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press. 2020. 562 p.
Reviewer: Paul N. Spellman | February 2021

The Vapors: A Southern Family, The New York Mob, And The Rise And Fall Of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital Of Vice

Author: David Hill
Publisher: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020. 400p.
Reviewer: Jim Finckenauer | February 2021

The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, And Resistance On The Eve Of The Civil War

Author: Jonathan Daniel Wells
Publisher: New York: Bold Type Face (Hachette), 2020. 368p.
Reviewer: Alan Singer | February 2021

Drug War Pathologies: Embedded Corporatism And U.S. Drug Enforcement In The Americas

Author: Horace A. Bartilow
Publisher: Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. 320p.
Reviewer: Miguel A. Cabañas | February 2021

A Most Wicked Conspiracy: The Last Great Swindle Of The Gilded Age

Author: Paul Starobin
Publisher: New York: Public Affairs, 2020. 320p.
Reviewer: Ian C. Hartman | February 2021

Italian Mafias Today: Territory, Business, And Politics

Editors: Felia Allum, Isabella Clough Marinaro, Rocco Sciarrone
Publisher: Cheltenham Glos (UK): Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2019. 291 p.
Reviewer: Emanuele Sclafani | February 2021

Between Remembrance And Repair: Commemorating Racial Violence In Philadelphia, Mississippi

Author: Claire Whitlinger
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020. 304p.
Reviewer: Renee Romano | February 2021

Cult Of Glory: The Bold And Brutal History Of The Texas Rangers

Author: Doug J. Swanson
Publisher: New York: Viking Press. 2020. 480p.
Reviewer: Paul N. Spellman | February 2021

Camera Power: Proof, Policing, Privacy, And Audiovisual Big Data

Author: Mary D. Fan
Publisher: New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019. 261p.
Reviewer: Keith Guzik | February 2021

The Young Lords: A Radical History

Author: Johanna Fernández
Publisher: Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020. 480p.
Reviewer: Andrés Torres ­| February 2021

The Oath Keepers: Patriotism And The Edge Of Violence In A Right-Wing Antigoverment Group

Author: Sam Jackson
Publisher: New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2020. 230p.
Reviewer: Matthew Valasik | February 2021

Following the assault on the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on January 6, the public has become much more aware of a variety of right wing, militia, and extremist groups that have been determined to constitute forms of domestic terrorism.  One of these groups calls itself The Oath Keepers.  Sam Jackson’s book The Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group, is reviewed here for us by Matthew Valasik.  According to Jackson, The Oath Keepers and other far-right extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and contemporary alt-right groups like Proud Boys or Rise Above Movement, seemingly have the intent of returning contemporary American society to a nostalgic past, although their view of that past may vary.  There are, says Jackson, three general categories of far-right extremism: racist, nativist, and/or in the case of The Oath Keepers, antigovernment groups.  All have dangerous and threatening agendas — making this obviously a very timely book!

The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History Of An Ongoing American Tragedy

Author: Chris Murphy
Publisher: New York: Random House, 2020. 384p.
Reviewer: Randolph Roth | February 2021

Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding U.S. Immigration For The Twenty-First Century

Author: A. Naomi Paik
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020. 173p.
Reviewer: Nicolás Eilbaum | February 2021

The Upper Limit: How Low-Wage Work Defines Punishment And Welfare

Author: Francois Bonnet
Publisher: Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2019. 199p.
Reviewers: Marisa Omori and Shanice Aaliyah Hyler | February 2021

Comparative Capital Punishment

Editors: Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker
Publisher: Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019. 426p.
Reviewer: Philip Reichel | February 2021

National Socialist Criminal Law: Continuity And Radicalization

Author: Kai Ambos
Publisher: Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos; Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing, 2019. 208p.
Reviewer: Brenner Fissell | February 2021

In his new book, noted German legal scholar Kai Ambos chronicles the ways in which National Socialist criminal law grew out of authoritarian and anti-liberal tendencies deeply embedded in German law long before the Nazis came to power. Brenner Fissell, in his review of Ambos’s book, seeks to connect it to white hot debates raging within American criminal law scholarship. Some scholars have argued that liberal substantive criminal law doctrines of mens rea, actus reus, justification, excuse, and the like have failed to save us from our mass incarceration crisis and should therefore be ignored in favor of large-scale structural change. According to Fissell, the experience of National Socialist criminal law, as recounted by Ambos, is a reminder that liberal criminal law can serve a vital role in protecting citizens from state power, and we need to protect its integrity. At the same time, though, we should recognize that many problems in the realm of criminal justice cannot be solved solely by attention to substantive criminal law.

Urbanisation And Crime In Nigeria

Authors: Adegbola Ojo and Oluwole Ojewale
Publisher: London, Macmillan, 2019. 247p.
Reviewer: Biko Agozino | February 2021

Prisoners Of Politics: Breaking The Cycle Of Mass Incarceration – (The Politics of Criminal Justice Reform)

Author: Rachel Barkow
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019. 304p.
Reviewer: Jonathan Simon | February 2021

Jonathan Simon, in a review essay entitled “The Politics of Criminal Justice Reform,” uses Rachel Barkow’s book Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration, as a stepping off point for a wide-ranging discussion of a host of criminal justice problems and issues. Professor Barkow’s reform posture, says Simon, “begins and remains within a commitment to [the] main presumptive goals of American crime policies, that is, to prevent crime (through deterrence, incapacitation and reform) and redress serious criminal acts that have occurred (retribution).” But if indeed these values are actually what is desired from our criminal justice system, then, Barkow writes, “we ought to be outraged by their failure to deliver,” because the public has been ill-served by our investments in police, prosecution, and prisons. Simon says that critics of criminal justice today “would pass by this [book’s] careful case for moderating the worst aspects of mass incarceration at their (and our) peril.”

Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice And Unseen Cost Of White-Collar Crime

Author: Jennifer Taub
Publisher: New York: Viking, 2020. 298p.
Reviewer: Gregg Barak | February 2021

Reviewer Gregg Barak calls Jennifer Taub’s Big Dirty Money “an erudite and compelling account of the enhanced sanctioning, normalization, and impunity of the crimes of the powerful within the United States.”  It is, he concludes, a book that can serve as a white-collar crime primer for new students of the subject and as a worthwhile read for scholars of the subject as well – a book, in other words, that should be read by anyone with an interest in white-collar crime. 

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