RaveThe Washington Post... penetrating ... by turns searing, informative and funny, as Jackson explores both serious issues and absurdities of his life and his city ... Jackson renders all of this, along with some nuanced and well-researched Baltimore and Maryland history, with a literary flair. The essays at times have an almost stream-of-consciousness feel.
RaveThe Washington PostIt’s an old story line that somehow never gets old ... One could be excused for wondering whether there is any more to say about Baltimore and crime. But the gripping new book We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption puts that concern to rest ... Fenton touches on the larger issues raised by the shocking activities of the Gun Trace Task Force members, but he doesn’t linger there. His focus is on the characters in the unit and the fascinating twists and turns of the investigation that eventually brought the rogue cops to justice. Among the many striking revelations in the book is how casual the officers were about their crimes.
Michael Eric Dyson
PositiveThe Washington PostSome passages in the book are almost poetic, as Dyson riffs from one subject to the next and from the historical to the contemporary with the improvisational flair of a jazzman. But some other sections raise eyebrows ... In other places, Dyson relies more heavily on the big truth of narrative rather than the narrower, often complicated truth revealed by individual facts ... Dyson stands on firmer ground when his book offers ways to reimagine the police by parceling some of their unceasing responsibilities to social service agencies and when he calls out the tyranny of cancel culture.
MixedThe Washington PostThis might sound like a niche tale about food deserts and the prevalence of fast food in predominantly black neighborhoods. But it is actually a book of big, sweeping ideas that goes far in portraying fast-food restaurants as yet another burden on black America. Probably too far ... In her telling, fast-food corporations, shortsighted civil rights leaders, politicians, the government and unwitting black capitalists conspired to saturate black communities with fast food, imperiling black health. That is certainly one take. Maybe the problem, though, is not the presence of too many fast-food restaurants in black communities but the absence of so many other businesses and institutions.
Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
RaveThe Washington PostAnyone interested in learning more about the incalculable damage done to African Americans and, really, all of America in the decades following Reconstruction ought to read historian Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s absorbing new book, The Original Black Elite ... His story illuminates an often-overlooked corner of history that resonates even today, in the era of Black Lives Matter and a new president who never seems to consider the continuing impact of the nation’s tortured racial history ... The many facts Taylor marshals in her compelling book are at times hard to keep straight, as she ducks down side streets from the main artery of the chronology of Murray’s life. But the book is well worth the effort it takes to keep up. Murray often spoke of 'the virus of race madness,' and Taylor’s work drives home in a personal way just how virulent it was, even to those best equipped to overcome it.