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Marion Barry: The Politics of Race First Edition Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0945167389
ISBN-10: 0945167385
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born on a Mississippi cotton plantation in 1936, sharecropper's son Marion Barry rose to become mayor of Washington, D.C., only to self-destruct through drug and alcohol abuse. In a dramatic, revealing biography, Voice of America reporter Agronsky charts Barry's trajectory from courageous civil rights worker to compromised bureaucrat, to "race-baiting" mayor who silenced his critics with divisive rhetoric while his administration festered with scandals, corruption and mismanagement. Agronsky does a terrific job of digging out the details of the setup, sting and arrest of Barry by FBI agents and police, and of recreating the trial that hastened his downfall. Barry's legacy, in the author's opinion, is increased mutual distrust between blacks and whites and prejudice that will take a long time to heal. First serial to Penthouse; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this chronicle of the life of former Washington, D.C., mayor Barry, journalist Agronsky relies heavily on newspaper accounts and trial transcripts to examine in comprehensive detail Barry's arrest on drug charges and his subsequent trial. While he adds little new information on or insights into these well-publicized aspects of Barry's life, Agronsky presents a far more interesting discussion of Barry's earlier years as a civil rights activist, particularly his work as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Surprisingly, Agronsky devotes relatively little attention to Barry's career as mayor of the nation's capital. A more thorough investigation of Barry's relationships with city council members, local administrators, and federal officials would have strengthened the book. Of interest to politically informed general readers.
- Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: British Amer Pub Ltd; First Edition edition (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945167385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945167389
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Johnson on March 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of those undiscovered treasures that really should have been more popular than it was. A lot of us know that Washington D.C.'s mayor was arrested for crack cocaine, but we really never got the inside story just from reading the papers. Agronsky dug deeper, and presents his findings in such a way that it makes for fascinating reading.
Marion Barry's behavior is presented in a non-judgmental manner, I thought. Indeed, Barry's actions spoke for themselves. We all saw the surveillance tape of Barry smoking the crack pipe, but Agronsky gives us the full story of what went on behind the scenes. Yes, it was disturbing to see the mayor of this country's capital city smoking crack cocaine; however, as Agronsky reveals, Barry at first resisted smoking the crack, because he wanted to lay off the pipe. It was only after a lot of prodding that Barry finally took a few hits.
...Was he set up? Judge for yourself.
To me, it was interesting how nobody was blameless in the whole Barry crack scandal. To be sure, Barry himself was a scumbag. (He went up to the hotel room to cheat on his wife, which itself is bad enough.) But the feds who busted him did not strike me as being much higher in character than Barry.
My only gripe with the book is that it was not long enough. Agronsky relates the story of the sting operation in rich detail, but by the end of the book, he fast-forwards through time, squeezing months into each chapter.
Agronsky is a superb investigative reporter, and I wish he would write more books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sharon R. Neuhaus on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting book. Living in DC for 36 years and remembering him as Mayor, Councilman, etc. it rang true. Ah, Marion, you did not disappoint us. It was always something.....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BlackMagic on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains a lot of facts about civil rights and paints a great picture of where Mr. Barry first started his political career. It's a tough read because it is a mixture of facts, conversations, and deception.
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By Linda Hopkins on March 1, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good book
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