After finishing the book I bought eight copies in paperback for others to read. This is not an easy read, but it is a "must read".
This work of investigative history reveals the roots of racial inequality in American Justice; the secret 'mission' of the prison-industrial complex, the racism inherent to the justice system, and how it relates to the 'social caste' system in America. This book is a revelation AND truly revolutionary.
Plantation Prison System: The New Slavery in Neo-Feudal America
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
This a very dense yet understandable expaination of a common corruption of US justice.
It revealed the silent struggles of those people whom we, despite our race, consider as the others. It brought in sharp relief the perils of casual drug use and poverty. If you enjoyed the book the Working Poor, this book is the other side of the page. I would also add that the overriding sense of the fallacy of exceptionalism, as applied to any group. In brief, most people are not exceptional, yet should you need to be above average to live a good life, and have a secure future? Should poverty or race magnify your lack of exceptionalism often to the level of tragedy. Should a teenage indescretion doom you to never being eligble to vote, or be eliglble for any public assistance, including basic food security. And can we afford to keep and increasingly large segment of the population in custody or supervision?
Although scenes are not relevant to this book, the most compelling understanding that I gained was the impact of many seemingly innocous supreme court decisions.
The stories about how grandmothers have been evicted from public housing because their grandson was arrested for drug possesion in a nearby park. Also, the explaination of pretex stops as a policy to search vehicles.
We should all be aware of this and many other forms of corruption that are rife in the US justice and legislative systems. If not from a sense of fairness, then from a sense of self peservation. As this population becomes more diverse these kinds of injustices are the meat and gravy of widespread social unrest. As our economy becomes increasingly dependent on machines, websites, and automation more and more people will be forced out of the mainstream of American life, and into the disenfranchised. Remember the history of the French revolution.
I recommend this book to everyone - it contains ideas that we, as a free democracy must face - how can we assure equal opportunity for all.
This book provides shocking statistics, surveys and testimonials arguing that the War on Drugs has become a war on young black men and is moving a huge percentage of these men into the control of our prison system, often for trivial amounts of drugs.
I thought the narrator read as if this book were a story instead of the important thesis it is. Occasionally the narrator put the emphasis on the wrong words in a phrase, suggesting she was just reading words and not understanding the facts she was reading. Lastly, she pronounced 'lenGth' as 'lenth' and often pronounced 'd' as 't' as in 'Baldwin', 'administration', 'would' and others. It is not the Government 'Accountability' Office, either.
A sobering look at our legal system (along with education and affirmative action) and the horrific effect it has had on the lives of black men (and thus all of us interested in a fair society).
'The War on Drugs' uses the 'Shock and Awe' of our legal system to annihilate the lives of black men.
Is the United States still a racially divided country - using the legal system to discriminate against young black men?
Not only is the 'War on Drugs' lost, but it has annihilated an entire segment of our population - young black men.
How our legal system, through the 'War on Drugs' has destroyed the lives of young minorities, especially blacks.
This book has at least 30 new and inter-related concepts about the war on drugs, the massive incarceration of black men, arrests for tiny amounts of drugs the horrible life of anyone who becomes a felon. the problems with a 'color-blind' society and much more. Slavery and Jim Crow laws in their time may not have been as bad for young black men as the war on drugs is today.
This book also touches on other better-understood systemic problems in today's society, including unequal housing opportunities, unequal education opportunities, the failures of affirmative action and more. These huge intractable issues, along with the author's main topic, the unfairness of the implementation of the war on drugs, provide a grim picture of how difficult it will be to change society to provide 'justice for all'.
The author is an attorney and writes like one. The exact same line is repeated over and over again. Alexander has way of listing facts and then subtly introduce an opinion to try to present it as another fact. I guess I feel the book is poorly edited.
Listening to Jefferson and Hamilton
Very good performance.
Alexander is kind of all over the place. She list a lot of problems but very few solutions. She contradicts herself a lot i.e. she states in the beginning of the book that this book is only going to deal with Black men, but then through out the entire book she includes hispanics. The book left me with the feeling there was nothing a single person could do.
This is another book that I wish audible.com would include the meta data for the book. The author does not reference her sources in the text of this version of the book so I have no way to look at the information and studies she is quoting from.
By the end of the book I think a better title for this book would have been "Why is everyone stupid except me?" Alexander claims prosecutors and DAs are criminals, judges are too stupid to understand the laws they are charged to uphold, and public defenders just don't care. Since the author is an attorney and thus an officer of the court isn't she bound to report of file claims of moral or criminal wrong doings in the league system?
In this book the reader learns that everyone is at fault for the current preponderance of black men incarcerated in the United States today.Well except her and civil rights organizations. After she gives a brief list of the things civil rights organizations are doing wrong including being top heavy with attorneys (such as herself) she states that these organizations can't be held responsible for the problems in the judicial system today.
There are however plenty of people who are to blame. From my memory they are; white men, rural whites, poor whites, automakers, steel mills, the U.S. government, Presidents Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Johnson, and Roosevelt, Dick Cheney, universities, people who don't see color, people who see color, every man who has ever been a policeman or firefighter, people who support affirmative action, people who don't support affirmative action, black police chiefs, black police officers, the justice department,blacks who marry outside of their own race(this comment really shocked me coming from someone preaching this love and understanding message), the prison system, and I am sure the are more but you get the point.
Alexander paints society with a very wide brush. If one officer is bad then they all are. And she applies this idea to many of the groups listed above.
I was also left with the feeling when I was finished with the book that Alexander feels that young black men are too weak, poor, or uneducated to do anything for themselves. I feel she gives the part of society that she is saying we as a society need to lift up, very little credit for being strong and independent.
There is a good story here that needs to be told but this book did not do it very well.
This book documents the war on drugs with all of its impact on our society. While the war may benefit the owners of commercial jails, the impact on people of color is tragic. It is hard to imagine that this book cn be ignored, and change is inevitable if .it is widely read by intelligent and honest people.
All that is necessary for evil totriumph is for good people to do nothing. I doubt that anyone, even Republicans, will read this book and not seek change..
eye-opening, chilling, anger-producing
Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States
It's much more than a tidbit - it's a call to action for me and my fellow U.S.ers to become aware of what we've allowed to happen because of our indifference to what's going on with the imprisonment of young black men while young white men are ignored for the exact same actions.
Everyone should read this book and then alert others to what's going on.
While the disproportionate level of black incarceration reported in this book is shocking enough to rally the objective minded into accepting the idea that racial bias is to blame, with deeper thought we can see how easily disparate causes may be conflated in this issue.
Is it honest to lump the high number of incarcerated black males into the same group as if all of them are victims, even if the legacy of unfair discrimination prejudices us in that direction? How many of the jailed group got there legitimately? The idea that the “get tough on crime” philosophy decried in this work is a conscious effort to herd black men into jail is the sort of comment that depends heavily upon white guilt, a tactic worn threadbare from overuse. Are we expected to follow some kind of quota system so that only a proportionate number of black offenders are taken off the street?
The author insists that the war on drugs is a vehicle of oppression. But having identified it as such, why does she not encourage resistance to this exposed enemy? Why not rally African-Americans to reject illegal drugs and the culture that sustains those drugs, now that the way forward is clear? Instead she uses the malady as an excuse, blaming the usual suspects, as if a group can truly grow strong by compelling another group to lift them out of a pit. Nay! I have seen and known far too many tough and admirable African-Americans to buy this argument.
And as other reviewers have noted, to conveniently leave out the pivotal detail about Ricky Ray Rector’s execution—that he damaged his own brain with a suicide attempt—leaves a hole in her credibility one could drive a truck through.
The New Jim Crow lays out facts that support the way many minorities have felt for decades.
I particularly enjoyed the education I received on the implementation of the War on Drugs and its unusual timing.
Her ability to encapsulate the the spirit of the person who was speaking in that moment was fascinating. Whether it be a male or female, she was able to fluxuate her tone to embody that person's essence.
The most moving part of the book was when she broke down the response to Drinking and Driving vs. the response to crack cocaine sales and usage. It was at this juncture that all doubt about what was being said in this book was extremely irrefutable.
Assata was my all time favorite book until I heard this fascinating truth. This book is as big of a "must read" as Roots, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, The Miseducation of the Negro, etc. Thank you so much Ms. Alexander for this rivoting tale.