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Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang Hardcover – July 28, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After being physically and emotionally abused by his mother and her live-in boyfriend, Colton Simpson moved in with his grandmother. She took care of him and brought him to church, but Simpson still became Li'l Cee. This was his name among the Crips, and on the night he was initiated into the gang-the same day that he hit a home run in Little League-he shot two men at a gas station. He was ten years old. In this often enthralling and emotional memoir, Simpson takes readers inside his life with the gang, from the time he joined through his 16-month prison sentence and to his leaving the Crips. Some passages are quite graphic and can drag on a bit too long, and some of Simpson's turns of phrase can seem a bit awkward or overdramatic. ("The tumbling dominoes of my life events lose their velocity.") But the world Simpson evokes with Pearlman's help is fascinating, and his narrative is clearly heartfelt. For those readers willing to look, the book provides a window into an often misunderstood way of life.
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From Booklist

The Crips, one of two notorious L.A. street gangs that have attained national prominence, is a famously difficult organization from which to retire alive. Colton "C-Loc" Simpson did, however, and now provides an insider's perspective on day-to-day life in the Crips, the gang's history (including quite a bit about its rival, the Bloods), and the plight of growing up in the 'hood while wanting a better life. To free himself from poverty and constant physical danger, Simpson made some changes. His former wife Gina once accused him of "acting White." He replied, "You think I'm some bourgeoisie Negro? My changes aren't negative and White. They're positive and pro-Black"--which reveals both changed attitude and just how wide the racial-cultural gulf has become. Though gritty, Simpson's story is by no means hopeless. "Life is something to live and do, not to verbalize," he says shortly before signing off with "In Struggle, Little Cee (Loc, no more)." This unvarnished portrayal of gang life is enlightening and even inspiring about a subject badly in need of illumination. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312329296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312329297
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hot Sauce on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As an ex gangmember myself, my "review" is really a "critique" and is from an entirely different perspective. First off, when I consider/read this type of information, my first objective is to consider the source. In this case that would be "Li'l Cee". And he is well respected within the gang ranks and one of the few who has the street and prison rep(reputation) along with the literary skills to write such a powerful piece. Second objective, is his story credible or is it just a good piece of fiction? Well, I've personally walked the line (did time) with Li'L Cee and know and/or witnessed alot of the incidents he spoke about as well as did time with the individuals he spoke on and everything was as he wrote. There was a couple of exceptions & that was some names were changed to protect the guilty. From this insider's perspective, this books gets 5 stars.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ice T sets the tone for "Inside the Crips," writing in the forward that "masculinity is at a premium in the 'hood; wealth is defined by violence, aggression, and strength. Gang wars are no stupider than other other war. Crips are even more powerful in penitentiaries - prison doesn't teach good citizenship. It teaches violence."

Carlton Simpson, author and central figure, is the son of a former professional baseball player (7 years with L.A. Dodgers). Carlton's father left home when he was four, and he was abused by his mother; Carlton nonetheless received love and strong guidance living with his grandmother. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough - he left after a Little League game to be "jumped into" the Crips, and then shoot two bloods - all at the age of ten.

Expelled from school for selling drugs, his grandmother tried sending him to two others, with no success. Carlton's education ended with the 8th grade. Numerous shootings and jewelry store robberies later he is caught, and sentenced to seven years in juvenile. Out in half the time at age 19, he continues his destructive behavior.

Gang warfare is greatly intensified within prison confines - one wonders how anyone makes it out in one piece. Guard abuse and brutality adds to the danger. Regardless, upon release Carlton returns to his modis operandi.

Six months after being released, Simpson is again arrested and sentenced to 24 years for robbery and attempted murder (shooting and seriously wounding a bystander who tried to stop him). At age 33 Simpson is again paroled, having supposedly gained insight on the pointlessness of ganbanging, while blaming White people for much/most of his problems.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Massie on June 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before I read this book, I came and read these reviews, and I wondered why are people talkin about monster's book, when this is about Colton's book. Now after I have read this book I see why, this book is very similar, just replace killing crips with killing bloods, I could have even sworn I remeber some passages that are the same,(EX. How the prisoners treated the busters in jail), and there are some people mentioned in both books, besides that, I thought it was an intresting book, it gives very detalied descripsions about what goes on in the life of a crip. A lot of people don't realize that growing up in gang neiborhoods, being in a gang isn't so much by choice, my father grew up in San deigo, he had been around some of the gang members, lil brothers and cousins. When he was old enough, he was asked to join the bloods, when he said he'd think about it, they chased him home, everyday until he decided that he would join. These books give a lil insite to their world and lets people see what's it really like, in these streets, and gives knowledge to the young ones hoping they would choose a different path. Although I thinks Mosters book is a better read, this book is also very good, if intresed, you should definetly read one of these books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jmix323 on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with hot sauce. Im from South Los Angeles, born and raised here on Hyde Park and 10th ave. I been from the Rollin 60's since I was 10 years old and im 25 now. Definately has to check the source. He mentions a few of my big homies in the book, I asked around and cuz name definately is well respected. This is an inside look on how we live and grow up. A must read for anybody who wants to see how we live and those who considering being a part of this foolishness. Come see how we live before you judge us. Reading these reviews disgust me. People feel we all stupid. I now have a college degree and so do a bunch of my homeboys. Excellent book, too bad they used it against him.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Beverly on September 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have to say I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it,I found it to be exciting,and it gave me a look into another type of life alot of people can't dream of living. This book inspired me to work with youth that need to learn another way of living. Ann Pearlman and Colton Simpson together have told a true life story that would make a wonderful movie. This book leaves you wanting to know more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By methodmike on March 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've read Kody Scott's 'Monster' and Terrell Wrights 'Home of the Bodybags' all great reads and this is no exception. Book kept me interested and I finished it pretty quickly.

for anyone who reads these gangbanger autobiographys, you will enjoy this one.
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