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Blood in the Fields: Ten Years Inside California's Nuestra Familia Gang Hardcover – September 1, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Blood in the Fields is a fascinating yet troubling look at a generation grappling with identity. It is a powerful account, one crafted with sensitivity and sharp human insights, of another Mexico within the United States. Julia Reynolds is a masterful storyteller." —Alfredo Corchado, author of Midnight in Mexico and Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News

“Both chilling and sad—so many lives lost, so many households ruined, and so many hearts torn apart. Blood in the Fields is a must-read for anybody interested in stopping the cycle of violence for safer communities.” —Gabe Morales, author, trainer, gang specialist, and founder of the International Latino Gang Investigators Association

"Journalist Reynolds’s debut offers a well sourced account of the most important criminal organization you’ve never heard of: Nuestra Familia." —Publishers Weekly



"A sprawling, literary true-crime effort that will reward patient readers with its gloomy account of an unstoppable, violent subculture." —Kirkus

"Reynolds skillfully limns the tough lives, heartlessness, misgivings, and bad decisions made for the sake of family and the home country of Mexico...A riveting tale of a monster of criminality that is still not dead but merely changing shape." —Booklist

About the Author

Julia Reynolds coproduced and wrote the PBS documentary Nuestra Familia, Our Family, and reported on the northern California gang for more than a decade. She currently works as a staff writer at the Monterey County Herald and has reported for National Public Radio, the Discovery Channel, The Nation, Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, and more.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613749694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613749692
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reynolds humanizes the gang members. She made me understand that the cultural forces on them since their childhoods have been to equate murderous actions with loyalty to the cause of defending the honor of their organization. She's not excusing their violence by any means. Rather, she's portraying it in context. I live near Salinas where much of the action occurs, so I know the places and people she describes and I find her descriptions believable. I changed my thinking as a result of reading this book. Now I gauge community issues such as affordable housing, local educational opportunities, even urban design through a broader lens, one that now includes what effect those community issues could have on the young hispanic people I see around me everyday, some of whom may be struggling with issues associated with belonging to the Nuestra Familia. Since finishing reading "Blood in the Fields" a few weeks ago, I've thought about it several times daily since. For me, reading this book was a viewpoint-changing experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Salinas hero was lost in September 2014. This book triggered his symptoms of PTSD two weeks before he passed. He was an unrecognizable person for those two weeks. Someone asked him if he heard about this book and if he knew he was mentioned in the book. He did not so we ordered the book. After he began reading, he asked that I not read this book until he was done, stating he wanted to make sure he was portrayed in a good light. I agreed. He passed away before he finished the book. His book marker still in place. He never made it to the section that talks about him. Did I read the book or other? He asked me not to until he finished; I promised not to; but, I loved him with all my heart and every ounce of energy I had, i had to read it.

Nearly five months after his passing, I have finished reading the book. Both myself and my loved one were born and raised in Salinas. Our upbringings similar and our exposure to violence and death caused by the Nuestra Familia's "Cause" undeniable. Before my loved one passed, he stated that the details in this book were so accurate. He called others that he knew were familiar with the details to find out who the author was, and how she knew the details? Another indication that he did not read much of the book. His personality changed quickly upon opening the book. His only comment was that the book was accurate.

I read the entire book. The book is accurate. I recall many of the murders in the news, the names, and even know some people that were affiliated in some way with gang life, and the Nuestra Familia. The graphic descriptions of the Salinas area are accurate and bring back memories. I know this book was written from the account of people in the Nuestra Familia, primarily Little Mondo. My disappointment in the book was the lack of comparison to the accounts of law enforcement, healthcare workers, and impact on the Salinas social system.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Impressive Journalistic work. An engaging eye opener provoking rage, sorrow, and a plethora of thoughts about current issues. A reality unknown to most of America and a cause to deliberate the current immigration issue of young illegal aliens crossing our southern border. All that aside this is Non Fiction written in a style as to engage the reader in a bond with the characters. Some characters invoke empathy while other characters are despised and the entire work reads like a well written novel. As an exposé the reader gains insight of life in a gang and the fallacy of prison as solution to curtail mafia rule by means of imprisoning the gangs’ leaders. A criminal life style that can only perpetuate as more young people seek survival by any means available which again leads to the issue young illegals crossing our border into America. It is no reflection on the Hispanic population in general much as the Italian mafia is no reflection on the Italian population in general, but telling it as it is there will be some who will judge against Hispanics in general. That is unfortunate as that surely is not the intent. This is a well written work by an obviously very talented author addressing one of the criminal gang and drug elements invading our society. I commend Julia Reynolds and highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Compelling and fast-paced account of a sad cultural phenomenon that continues to fester in rural California neighborhoods. Without falling into hagiography, Ms. Reynolds reveals the honest and human character of those immersed in a destructive lifestyle that many of us have only considered an abstraction, and unworthy of our attention. Blood in the Fields provides fascinating detail and honest reporting that can only be achieved by a writer who spent years in the research.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow, although there is a lot of intense information throughout this book, Ms. Reynolds writes it flawlessly and without seeming effort. The book flows like a movie and you truly get to know and care about the persons interspersed within. She has obviously done tremendous research for this book as it shows in the detail and depth to which she has gotten to know the people, places and situations she learned about. This book was based on a difficult subject, but it was an incredibly easy and fascinating read.
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