An exhaustive account of investigation principles, more academic in conception than immediately practical.



A primer offers basic principles of investigation. 

Anim-Danquah (Principles of Interrogation, 2013) cautions readers that since the stakes are so high, an investigator can never be too meticulous. His brief but comprehensive survey is broadly conceived to cover “training material for all levels in all Security Services and Intelligence Agencies but equally a very good source of reference after formal training or during professional practice.” The author proceeds systematically, discussing the chief elements of the various kinds of investigation, the basic considerations of interrogation, and the types of evidence and the methods of gathering it. In addition, he analyzes in considerable detail the kinds of modus operandi: 23 different factors that in their totality define any “particular criminal activity or offence.” He devotes an unusual amount of attention to the filling out of reports and the distinction between various types, and he includes samples. This is especially peculiar since the author’s explanatory scope is so broad—it can’t possibly be the case that every investigator in every jurisdiction is confronted with the same forms. Equally puzzling is his protracted assessment of the various distractions that could stymie a successful investigation; for example, he warns against the deflection of one’s attention that could be caused by offensive odors. The book concludes with a series of helpful illustrative case studies that feature instructional questions. Anim-Danquah worked in investigations and intelligence for the government of Ghana for more than 20 years, and his thoroughness and rigor are clear expressions of that expertise. His primer is best used as a reference source—an encyclopedic catalog of all the basic ingredients of investigation, very generally understood. But it’s not an instructional guide in the sense of providing much actionable counsel—readers will learn much more about the various categories of evidence than its professional collection. In addition, the author too often dwells on points so common-sensical as to be banal. For example, it seems unnecessary to insist that aspiring investigators check their spelling on the reports they file.

An exhaustive account of investigation principles, more academic in conception than immediately practical. 

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5462-6515-3

Page Count: 242

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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