An engaging work by a drug dealer turned advocate.



Wade explores his journey through crime, punishment, and redemption in this debut motivational memoir.

The author started selling cocaine at age 15. A poor kid growing up in San Francisco’s Sunnydale projects, he saw it as one of the few lucrative employment options available to him. “Instead of leaving school with biology books,” Wade remembers, “I had a brick of cocaine and a 9-millimeter pistol in my backpack.” The author spends the first third of the book describing his life as a young drug dealer, from riding around in a $400 to $500 car with $50,000 in the back seat to landing in juvenile hall—referred to as “Gladiator School”—to escaping from two kidnappers who snuck up and placed a shotgun barrel on his neck. Wade only fully grasped the consequences of his actions when, at 29, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. That’s when his real story began: more than a decade’s worth of self-examination and self-improvement that led to a profound transformation. From a drug dealer who spent seven years on the FBI’s wanted list, Wade reformed himself into the executive director of a nonprofit organization, a guest lecturer at Stanford Law School and UC Berkeley, and a reflective memoirist: “I offer my counter narrative to many of the common conceptions that some people have about drug dealers, people who go to prison, and people who grow up in the inner city.” Wade is a natural raconteur, and his account of his life both before and during his time in prison makes for compelling reading. His post-prison success is remarkable, and while some of the lessons he wishes to impart read as standard motivational fare, his musings on the ways in which criminals are treated in this country—and the ways in which disadvantaged youth are tempted into crime—are worthy of consideration. The author manages to embody both the successes and failures of the American experience, and in his life the reader gets the opportunity to consider who society deems deserving of punishment and who remains worthy of rehabilitation.

An engaging work by a drug dealer turned advocate.

Pub Date: May 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9986167-0-4

Page Count: 282

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2017

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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