by Elliott Young ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 12, 2021
An altogether sobering look at a system of punishment founded on racial injustice and going strong.
“Immigrant detention today is part of a carceral landscape in the United States that includes more than 2 million citizens behind bars.” So writes historian Young in a sweeping survey of the American gulag.
The U.S. has the largest imprisoned population in the world; it also has the world’s largest number of imprisoned foreigners. These are not coincidences, writes the author. Immigration and penal policy have always been thoroughly racialized. Nor is it an accident that the next-highest number of imprisoned foreigners are in Mexico—not because Mexico is especially hostile to immigrants, but “because almost all of those detentions are at the behest of the United States.” The Obama administration retains the record for the largest number of arrests and deportations of foreigners, but add in the number kept from reaching this country due to Mexican interdiction and deportation and the number of detainees in secret CIA prisons and prisons run by proxies elsewhere, and the number might be larger still today. Young centers on immigration policy over the last century to deliver surprising lessons from history. “Foreign policy is always part of the calculus of immigration control,” he writes, but it is during times of “heightened fear” and alarm that the greatest excesses are committed. It is well known, for instance, that Japanese Americans were imprisoned as suspected enemy aliens during World War II, but it will come as news to many readers that the U.S. coordinated with allied nations such as Peru to kidnap Japanese nationals and bring them to American prison camps. In another case study, Young examines a deportee and long-term prisoner who was housed in an insane asylum, a convenient place to tuck away problem cases. More recent prison activity for both citizens and foreigners hinges on “tough on crime” policies that have mostly been aimed at minority populations, especially “black and brown men.”An altogether sobering look at a system of punishment founded on racial injustice and going strong.
Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021
Page Count: 280
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020
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by David Grann ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2017
New York Times 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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017
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by Thomas Sowell ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 19, 2023
For those satisfied with blame-the-victim tidbits of received wisdom.
The noted conservative economist delivers arguments both fiscal and political against social justice initiatives such as welfare and a federal minimum wage.
A Black scholar who has lived through many civil rights struggles, Sowell is also a follower of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, who insisted that free market solutions are available for every social problem. This short book begins with what amounts to an impatient declaration that life isn’t fair. Some nations are wealthy because of geographical advantages, and some people are wealthy because they’re smarter than others. “Some social justice advocates may implicitly assume that various groups have similar developed capabilities, so that different outcomes appear puzzling,” he writes. In doing so, he argues, they fail to distinguish between equal opportunity and equal capability. Sowell is dismissive of claims that Black Americans and other minorities are systematically denied a level playing field: Put non-white kids in charter schools, he urges, and presto, their math scores will zoom northward as compared to those in public schools. “These are huge disparities within the same groups, so that neither race nor racism can account for these huge differences,” he writes, clearly at pains to distance himself from the faintest suggestion that race has anything to do with success or failure in America. At the same time, he isn’t exactly comfortable with the idea that economic inequalities exist, and he tries to finesse definitions to suit his convictions: “The terms ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ are misleading in another and more fundamental sense. These terms apply to people’s stock of wealth, not their flows of income.” As for crime? Give criminals more rights, he asserts, as with Miranda v. Arizona, and crime rates go up—an assertion that overlooks numerous other variables but fits Sowell’s ideological slant.For those satisfied with blame-the-victim tidbits of received wisdom.
Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023
Page Count: 224
Publisher: Basic Books
Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023
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