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The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption Hardcover – April 24, 2012


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The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption + Official Negligence : How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062194437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062194435
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rodney Glen King is known for being the victim in a notorious police brutality case with the Los Angeles Police Department on March 3, 1991. King was born in Sacramento, California, to Odessa King. His father, Ronald King, an alcoholic, died at age forty-two. King grew up in Pasadena, California. In 2008, King was a cast member on VH1's second season of Celebrity Rehab, a popular TV show hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky that seeks to help celebrities become clean and sober.



Lawrence J. Spagnola is the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling My Appetite for Destruction by Steven Adler; and Christopher Award-winning writer of the Emmy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated television movie The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. He is a Harvard graduate and a Rockefeller Fellow.


More About the Author

Rodney Glen King (born April 2, 1965 in Sacramento, California) is best known for his involvement in a police brutality case involving the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. King has three children. He is engaged to marry Cynthia Kelley, who was a juror in the civil suit he brought against the City of Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

It lets you know who Rodney King really is inside.
Philip LoPresti
There is a tragic honesty on these pages, and Spagnola captures Rodney's voice and puts us in the room with this tortured soul.
Chris Frank
In addition to the narrative, I really liked the honesty of this book.
Jonathan Wiedemann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Chris Frank on April 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a shattering but illuminating story of a man I thought I knew but did not really know at all. Now I get a lot of his pathetic past and understand why King seemed doomed to repeat his mistakes. There is a tragic honesty on these pages, and Spagnola captures Rodney's voice and puts us in the room with this tortured soul. There's a lot of revealing material in here, and the chapter about his beating is one of the most brutally shocking passages I've ever read.

Rodney may have waited 20 years to tell us his story, but in a way, it was worth it.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Wiedemann on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
After living through all this in LA and hearing about Rodney's troubles with the law over the years, I didn't think the book would have many surprises, but it does. There's bribes by the mayor, racial remarks by the cops, and lots of manipulation and greed from his attorneys. The chapters on Rodney's father's abuse and the beating at the hands of the LAPD are brutal. It is a compelling read.

In addition to the narrative, I really liked the honesty of this book. In a world where everyone seems to be padding their resume, sugar-coating the truth, and trying to look good to get on a reality tv show, this is an honest, 'warts and all' story. Rodney King doesn't try to look good or bad - he comes off as a normal guy who got dragged into an extra-ordinary situation, and he tells it like it is without posturing or positioning himself. Co-writer Lawrence Spagnola must have won over his trust because King really opens up about his alcoholism and the sad way he keeps messing up. Rodney seems to be using the book to say he intends to clean up his life. I hope so, he deserves better than the cards life has dealt him so far. Only time will tell...
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
From the news media we read today the following: `Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday June 17, 2012. He was 47. Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King's fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. There were no preliminary signs of foul play.'

This book was written by Rodney King with the aid of Lawrence J. Spagnola. The story is not always told with sophistication but always with a raw truthfulness that makes that moment in history and in the significance of racial equality important to read. `King had been drinking the night of March 3, 1991, when he engaged in a high-speed chase with the LAPD, who finally pulled him over. What happened next shocked the nation. A group of officers brutally beat King with their metal batons, Tasered and kicked him into submission--all caught on videotape by a nearby resident. The infamous Rodney King Incident was born when this first instance of citizen surveillance revealed a shocking moment of police brutality, a horrific scene that stunned and riveted the nation via the evening news. Racial tensions long smoldering in L.A. ignited into a firestorm thirteen months later when four white officers were acquitted by a mostly white jury. Los Angeles was engulfed in flames as people rioted in the streets. More than fifty people were dead, hundreds were hospitalized, and countless homes and businesses were destroyed. King's plaintive question, "Can we all just get along?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Bailes on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
March 3, 1991 has publicly defined Rodney King's life. When someone says Rodney King our minds turn to that shaky video, and we are reminded of that dark and grim historical moment. The publication of The Riot Within could not have been timelier. Though there was no way of predicting Trayvon Martin's death, Rodney King's narrative reminds us that injustice and bigotry are not new. What led to a shooting in Florida or a beating in California did not begin at those moments, but started generations before.

King, in the wake of the beatings and riots, had become not a human with a story, a life, but a mere video clip. During one courtroom hearing he says, "Man, I was so sick of watching it. Over and over and over. Like it was the only moment of my life." King's journey wrestles with his life story, as well as the constant reminders that he is nothing more than a video clip.

His journey required facing an abusive, alcoholic father, his own alcoholism, and the need for forgiveness. He tells the story of the first time he realized that he was "different," that he wasn't white and what that meant. "Maybe every black kid can think back to the day when the whole world changed and they had to have who they were and why that was different explained to them. That was one sad day, and we need to dedicate ourselves to removing that day from every black kid's calendar." His own journey can serve to illuminate the reality that for white people, like myself, I don't have one of those days on my calendar. Yet this illuminates a need for redemption as well--redemption with the larger human family.

Told are the stories of the past, present, and hopeful future. Chronicling his times in courtrooms, with Dr.
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