True Crime Book Reviews

BLOOD AT THE ROOT by Patrick Phillips
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"An impressive reckoning with a shameful piece of the past that 'most natives of Forsyth would prefer to leave…scattered in the state's dusty archives or safely hidden in plain sight.'"
A history of white supremacy's endurance in a Georgia county. Read full book review >
ADNAN'S STORY by Rabia Chaudry
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"For Serial and true-crime fans, this book is a page-turner perfect for a quiet weekend."
"If there is one takeaway from this story, it should be this—the criminal justice system is not just deeply flawed, it is broken." That is how attorney and U.S. Institute of Peace senior fellow Chaudry summarizes the murder conviction and appeals of Adnan Syed, the subject of the Serial podcast. Read full book review >

TO PROTECT AND SERVE by Norm Stamper
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A vivid, well-written, vitally important book."
Most of the nation's approximately 18,000 police departments receive scathing criticism from one of their own: an author who began as a San Diego beat cop in 1966 and rose to become a police chief in Seattle. Read full book review >
THE LYNCHING by Laurence Leamer
HISTORY
Released: June 7, 2016

"An engrossing true-crime narrative and a pertinent reminder of the consequences of organized hatred."
A powerful account of how a Ku Klux Klan-sanctioned lynching in Mobile, Alabama, paved the way for legal victories against such hate groups. Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 1, 2016

"First-rate reporting and a seminar in how to employ context in investigative and historical journalism."
A veteran journalist uses a variety of lenses to illuminate the dark story of the Black Legion, an association of murderous (white) domestic terrorists who briefly thrived in the upper Midwest. Read full book review >

THE BOYS IN THE BUNKHOUSE by Dan Barry
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 17, 2016

"Gently, empathetically, and indelibly, Barry conveys a tale of unthinkable brutality."
A gripping indictment of society's treatment of "losers." Read full book review >
THE LONG SHADOW OF SMALL GHOSTS by Laura Tillman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: April 5, 2016

"A Helter Skelter for our time, though without a hint of sensationalism—unsettling in the extreme but written with confidence and deep empathy."
A haunted, haunting examination of mental illness and murder in a more or less ordinary American city. Read full book review >
THE WAY OF THE GUN by Iain Overton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 22, 2016

"A passionate mix of rhetoric and travelogue, Overton's book takes the gun debate into impressive new territory."
In Overton's first book, the British journalist travels the globe to see how the logic of the Second Amendment has affected people beyond America's borders. Read full book review >
WHILE THE CITY SLEPT by Eli Sanders
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"An exceptional story of compelling interest in a time of school shootings, ethnic and class strife, and other unbound expressions of madness and illness."
Disturbing, sometimes-horrifying story of true crime and justice only partially served. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"A well-organized, deeply researched work that ably digests the Balkan war, the criminals, the criminal court, and its legacy."
A bracing history of the hunt for Balkan war criminals and the seminal establishment of the Hague Tribunal in 1993. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A ghastly, dizzying descent into the coldblooded clannishness of the Southern racist mindset."
A dogged pursuit takes a journalist into uncomfortable corners of her Southern family's complicity in a small-town lynching. Read full book review >
THEY ALL LOVE JACK by Bruce Robinson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A ripping good read, strange, suggestive, and memorable."
A wild ride down the back alleys of London in the service of "Ripperology." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jeff Chang
September 20, 2016

In the provocative essays in journalist Jeff Chang’s new book We Gon’ Be Alright, Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, personal writing, and cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. “He implores readers to listen, act, and become involved with today’s activists, who offer ‘new ways to see our past and our present,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations.” View video >