FIGHT THE POWER

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE LONG HISTORY OF POLICE BRUTALITY IN NEW YORK CITY

An important social history for students and policymakers regarding the relationship between police brutality, urban...

A rigorous and unsettling discussion of decades of police brutality within New York City’s communities of color.

Taylor (Emeritus, History/Baruch Coll.; Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights, and the New York City Teachers Union, 2010, etc.) writes with an authoritative knowledge of his urban narrative and controlled prose that doesn’t mask anguished urgency about the disturbing topic. The author began to realize that despite renewed focus on police brutality after such flashpoints as the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, even social justice sympathizers lack awareness of the temporal depth of the problem. He argues that since the 1940s, police brutality has “led to civil unrest and mistrust between blacks and the NYPD…[and] a long history of African Americans’ efforts to expose the brutality.” The author documents this through a narrative survey, concluding in the present day. He reveals an epidemic of strong-arm policing in postwar New York, which the era’s black press scrupulously documented and the Communist Party visibly if inconsistently protested prior to the McCarthy era. In the 1950s, mutual hostility developed between the NYPD and the Nation of Islam; surprisingly, Taylor documents how NOI representatives, including Malcolm X, worked to defuse conflicts. As tensions mounted in the 1960s, following disturbances in Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, politicians and activists advocated for greater civilian oversight of the department but were thwarted by a conservative backlash advancing a “false narrative” that such oversight was meant to coddle black criminals. Later, Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously embraced tough-on-crime, “broken windows” policing. Although crime declined dramatically on his watch, he displayed racial insensitivity as brutality complaints soared, culminating in the police torture of Abner Louima and several notorious fatalities. In recent years, cautiously progressive policies on accountability and “stop and frisk” tactics defused Giuliani-era tensions, but Taylor remains unconvinced, noting, “Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s adamant defense of broken windows predicted ongoing harassment of black and brown people.”

An important social history for students and policymakers regarding the relationship between police brutality, urban stability, and civic accountability.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4798-6245-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Readers Vote
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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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