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S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. Hardcover – July 1, 2014
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“Castaneda's page-turner, told with easygoing charm and great skill, is an unstinting unveiling of who got away with what and when and how Castaneda followed the action and found himself.” ―Booklist
“An engrossing portrait . . . . Castaneda writes movingly of the unlikely wellsprings of solidarity and hope in communities that society has written off.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Castaneda offers himself not just as chronicler but as a participant in the larger urban blight and recovery story of DC itself . . . Elegant . . . Scathingly honest . . . A powerful, propulsive, narcotically fueled cri de couer for an entire city.” ―Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight, in BookForum
“Dramatic . . . Explosive and informed by good reporting.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“It's hard to find a better perspective . . . . This work is a page-turner. Recommended for readers especially interested in the war on drugs or DC and for fans of David Carr's The Night of the Gun or HBO's The Wire.” ―Library Journal
“Castaneda was an addict whose double life would have to come crumbling down. That it did, and S Street Rising chronicles his ordeal and recovery--he's been clean for more than two decades now--while also portraying the nation's capital under the onslaught of an epidemic, drug-fueled crime wave.” ―Penthouse Magazine
“A tense, unflinching chronicle . . . S Street Rising is a gritty and utterly convincing street-level portrait of a dark chapter in the city's history, reflected in the dark mirror of Castaneda's own addiction.” ―Washington Post
“A gritty and utterly convincing street-level portrait of the 1990s.” ―Washington Post, "50 Notable Works of Nonfiction"
Top Customer Reviews
Castaneda gives us the inside story -- in more ways than one. As a crime reporter for the Washington Post, Castaneda had the insider's perspective on the unprecedented ruthlessness of the crack trade and its intersection with what may have been the most inept and corrupt government of any major American city. Castaneda is rightly unsparing in his depictions of Barry and his henchmen (notably former police chief Larry Soulsby) and, with one partial exception, of the dealers who addicted their neighbors and then reaped obscene profits from their misery. But Castaneda also introduces us to Lou Hennessy, a gifted DC homicide cop whose dedicated and creative approach to his job was one of the reasons the epidemic finally broke. And he tells us the story of Pastor Jim, who bought a boarded-up building being used as a stash house and (after giving the neighborhood dealers a chance to move their inventory) renovated it into a church at the crack trade's epicenter, S Street NW, that gives the book its name.
Castaneda's insider perspective goes beyond his day job, though.Read more ›
These qualities all come through as driving forces of Ruben Castaneda’s journalistic career, as described in his new memoir S Street Rising: Crack, Murder and Redemption in D.C.
From an early assignment for the L.A. Herald Examiner covering the notorious 1985 earthquake in Mexico City to his years of covering crime and also police misconduct for The Washington Post, the memoir’s pages sizzle with the energy and excitement Castaneda felt at being a journalist, chasing down stories and sources and seeking truth and justice.
Though he doesn’t spell out the connection, one can also see these qualities manifested darkly in Castaneda’s struggle with addiction, described in raw and painful detail. The multi-faceted memoir shows Castaneda ably turning his perceptive reporter’s eye on his own past and his own psyche, documenting how the increasingly reckless pursuit of alcohol, cocaine and related dicey situations nearly destroyed his career, his relationships and even his life.
S Street Rising interweaves a significant number of story lines: celebrating the essence of journalism, shedding light on newsroom politics, exploring the complicated relationships between sources and reporters, showcasing the best and worst of the police force in the nation’s highly segregated Capitol, chronicling the saga of a neighborhood during the crack epidemic, profiling local characters including an unorthodox grassroots church. And revealing his own tortured but ultimately successful battle with chemical demons.
The book implicitly drives home the point that people addicted to drugs are not a class of their own to be feared, disregarded, looked down upon and locked up.Read more ›
Casteneda intertwines the story of the creation of the New Covenant Church that grew out of the rubble of S Street and became a beacon of light to the community with its outreach and social programs into the underworld of prostitutes and drug dealing. S Street Rising should be required reading in high schools given the frank openness with which Reuben Casteneda discusses how easily a person can become addicted to crack and the havoc the addiction wreaks on both the addict and those around him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A smart, insightful view of what it's like to be a cop, reporter, reformer and junkie in one of America's toughest cities. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kelly Hayes-Raitt
S Street Rising tells an inspiring true story of how a few strong, dedicated individuals made the difference in turning a community's history of havoc and despair into hope,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robertojohn
This book was a fascinating and truly in depth look at the 90's crack boom and how it affected Washington DC. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was completely engaging and felt like a huge bowl of truth. I picked it up because I just moved to DC and I wanted to learn about the city where I live. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
The title is misleading, for this is not a book about S Street. Nor has S Street "risen." An easy read; it does not seem like the crafted work of a seasoned journalist and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by ten33
Should be required reading for anyone who has lived or currently resides in the District. A great story about the crack epidemic, written in an approachable yet journalistic style.Published 4 months ago by Lauren Elizabeth Friedman
I loved everything about this book. Cannot recommend it highly enough. If you have every lived in DC or plan to - or just love the city - definitely read!!!Published 5 months ago by Chelsea Herskovitz
Ruben Castaneda's story stuck in my head several days after finishing this heart-pounding book. Highly recommended for anyone interested in what D.C. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alex Friedman
I was a patrol officer in the Fifth District and was not in on the upper management stuff but I remember this well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marcello N. Muzzatti