RaveThe Washington PostCoates’s book... stands out among a growing confessional literature regarding the role of Black prosecutors in a criminal legal system that disproportionally investigates, arrests, charges and imprisons African Americans. While most works in this genre read as elaborate apologias, Coates immediately strikes a different tone. With brutal honesty and descriptive precision, she reveals the complex moral universe in which prosecutors live but far too many refuse to confront. Indeed, reflecting on her four years as a prosecutor, Coates bravely owns her shortcomings and admits to episodes of moral cowardice early in her stint at the U.S. attorney’s office ... She grapples with the power of her office and refuses the \'luxury of wearing sociological blinders\' when evaluating what prosecutorial conduct is appropriate. If more prosecutors thought like this, perhaps our criminal legal system would live up to its ideal of equal justice under law.
RaveThe Washington PostThis is the story Hinton tells with historical precision and analytical rigor ... sobering ... forces the reader to confront the limits and the failures of the civil rights movement ... Not since Angela Davis’s 2003 book, Are Prisons Obsolete?, has a scholar so persuasively challenged our conventional understanding of the criminal legal system. To be clear, Hinton does not think she’s merely engaged in an academic exercise to \'reframe\' narratives or \'recharacterize\' norms. Her work is far more consequential. She offers in America on Fire a vivid description of historical events. She provides an account — as her subtitle suggests — of an \'untold\' story. Hinton tells this story with clarity, and her conclusions should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers. She charts a course to move beyond rebellions. The question, however, is whether the United States has the political will to do it.
RaveThe Washington Post... fascinating ... Brooks recounts with vivid detail her experiences in the police academy and as an officer on patrol. She writes with the ease of a novelist rather than the characteristic precision of a legal scholar. To be clear, this is a good thing. Through her stories, Brooks avoids a didactic, finger-waving lecture on the virtues or failings of the criminal justice system. Instead, she paints word pictures of the tensions that bedevil urban policing. She allows the reader to reach conclusions about the state of policing, how race and class intersect with criminality, and whether the tools of policing address the needs of citizens ... While Tangled Up in Blue does not, by any means, operate as an apologia for police, it at times elides the responsibility of officers in creating a \'Dickensian\' narrative that Brooks abhors ... a wonderfully insightful book that provides a lens to critically analyze urban policing and a road map for how our most dispossessed citizens may better relate to those sworn to protect and serve.