... 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.
Brooks has an anthropologist’s ear for the language of policing, jumping from the reports full of passive-voice bureaucratese to the darkly humorous, profanity-laden shoptalk. She zips from hilarious descriptions of going to the bathroom while overloaded with clunky gear to bone-dry observations ... Anecdote by anecdote, she builds to a cautious analysis of how 'even normal, careful, lawful policing often ends up compounding devastating social inequalities,' even if few officers display overt racism. Her style recalls the work of immersion journalists like George Plimpton, Ted Conover and Barbara Ehrenreich—who happens to be Brooks’s mother. Brooks makes this part of the story, nesting in a book on policing a beautifully written mini-memoir about growing up the daughter of a famous activist and writer ... her self-awareness gives her insight into the practical, adrenaline-hungry tendencies that may attract people to police work ... It’s easy to imagine the criticism she’ll get, but her calm, considered tone, grounded in experience, is itself an achievement.
... revealing and well-written ... Brooks manages to see all this clearly ... Tangled Up in Blue helps us see the deep complexities of policing and their effects on men and women in uniform ... Provocative, intelligent, and useful, Tangled Up in Blue will help many readers understand the nuances shaping the present crisis in American policing.
The book questions the way policing is done, while illustrating how hard it is to do the job ... Brooks is compelling on the everyday details of the work ... Brooks is careful to underline that crime remains a painful, frightening burden to the people who live where it is prevalent. She sympathises, too, with the stress that can turn cops cynical ... Yet she also indicts police training and culture for overemphasising the job’s danger, making officers too ready to shoot.
Rosa Brooks’s Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City promises without question to be the cop memoir for the late 2010s and early 2020s. An accomplished scholar, journalist, and author who has moved in the loftiest legal, nonprofit, and foreign policy circles, Brooks brings a distinctive perspective to the police memoir genre, which boasts few women’s voices to begin with ... As an account of what policing can be like for police themselves, Tangled Up in Blue is singularly frank, and its depictions of the civilians who encounter police possess a rare mixture of empathy, self-consciousness, and well-hedged appeals to context. But Brooks’s book is also about more than just policing as an institution, or even her own experiences as a cop: It is a deeply personal family memoir, and a meditation on questions of race, class, gender, and family inheritances. Some readers may find it enthralling; others may find it distasteful. Whatever the case, it is certainly revealing, sometimes painfully so ... Tangled Up in Blue...is at once constrained yet layered in its focus: It is a story about policing made up of stories of policing, collected by someone who came to policing as part of her own personal story ...Tangled Up in Blue delivers aplenty. Brooks is an excellent narrator with a keen eye for detail, and she embraces with gusto the access her new gig gives her ... Brooks does not look away. Throughout, she is unsparing in her descriptions of how cops are trained, how they relate to one another, and what the job entails ... Brooks’s reflections on police training are astute ... Brooks, to her credit, seems far more honest about her reasons than most, and her book is revealing. It would be reductive to say that Brooks simply uses the streets of Washington’s poorest neighborhood and the traumas of its denizens as stages and props ... It would be simplistic also to see this book as just a giant plug for the new 'Innovative Policing Program' at Georgetown that Brooks founded ... But it would also be naïve to see Tangled Up in Blue as not these things.
Her sorrow, empathy, and frustration are evident as she describes routine police calls where she and her partners tried to mediate family disputes, serving not only as law enforcers but also as default social workers ... Blending memoir with sharp commentary on social justice issues, Brooks's empathetic work is ideal for readers curious about policing and police reform in the United States.
Through evocative storytelling coupled with research and analysis, she explores what on-the-ground policing in a low-income neighborhood looked like for her ... A thoughtful, piercing read, Tangled Up in Blue creates nuanced portrayals of her fellow officers, the members of the community they served, and the people affected by the criminal justice system in the U.S.
... a nuanced and revealing chronicle ... This immersive, illuminating, and timely account takes a meaningful step toward bridging the gap between what American society asks of police and what they’re trained to deliver.
... provocative ... Brooks ably shows how the truth [about policing] is...complex, and the anecdotes she offers along her beat demonstrate the complicated relationships among authority, violence, gender, race, and other elements. Some of the officers she portrays are noble civil servants, others dead weight, others just this side of psychotic—very much like the people they both serve and combat. The author’s look at the Dickensian 'secret city' is both revealing and appalling, and she delivers sometimes-surprising news along the way ... A thoughtful book that offers abundant material to rile up—and edify—Blue Lives Matter and Defund the Police advocates alike.