Books by William M. Adler

Released: Aug. 30, 2011

"Stronger in research than storytelling, Adler reveals the man beneath the myth, detailing the life that spawned the legend."
Well-researched revelations about the union martyr and prolific protest songwriter. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

"A cautionary tale of free markets run amuck. Adler (Land of Opportunity, 1995) has produced an intelligent work of industrial history."
A first-rate account of the complex social, political, and economic factors that turned an $8-an-hour Paterson, New Jersey, job into one that paid 65 cents an hour in Mexico. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1995

An incisive rags-to-riches-to-prison tale of a dirt-poor family from the Arkansas Delta that capitalized on the booming Detroit crack market in the 1980s. At their peak, Billy Joe Chambers and his brothers grossed $55 million a year selling crack cocaine in a city rocked by plant closings and high unemployment. Through a penetrating examination of the economic and social structure of the Deep South and the inner city, freelancer Adler shows how crack distribution could be ``a rational career choice.'' One of 14 children, Billy was 16 when he arrived in Detroit in 1978. He moved in with his 12-year-old girlfriend and her mother, who was making extra money selling black-market prescription drugs. A party-supply store run by Billy's brother Willie on the Lower East Side proved a lucrative outlet for marijuana sales. By the summer of 1984, Billy ``diversified'' and began offering his customers ``a constant supply of junk food, marijuana, and...crack.'' Crack was cheap, as low as $5 per rock, and Billy could net $10,000 from a single ounce of powder cocaine. He was hounded by the police from the start, but he expanded his operation until he was selling from six houses at once. Finally, in February 1988, following a series of raids by the Detroit Police Department's No-Crack Crew, betrayal by a former friend and employee, and a grand jury investigation, Billy, three of his brothers, and 18 others were indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy to sell cocaine to illegal firearms possession. Billy and brother Larry, a violent ex-convict, were also charged with ``supervising a continuing criminal enterprise.'' Larry is serving a life sentence, while Billy is doing concurrent sentences totaling almost 50 years. Writing with Billy Joe Chambers's full cooperation, Adler has produced a remarkable record of the day-to-day operation of an enormously successful drug operation. (Author tour) Read full book review >