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Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America Hardcover – January 27, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: There’s a statistic that surfaces early in Jill Leovy’s fundamentally important book Ghettoside that should catch your attention: black men compose about 6% of the country’s population, yet they are the victim in nearly 40% of homicides. And who’s killing those black men? The answer is most often other black men. Leovy, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, explores the culture of black violence, specifically in South Central LA, describing a world that seems to exist hermetically sealed off from the rest of the city. With nearly zero mobility and little policing, the people of South Central are left to fend for themselves—further amplifying the devastating drumbeat of gangs and violence. Leovy builds her book around one family’s story: Wally Tennelle, an LA cop, has refused to move his wife and kids out of his Watts neighborhood. Then his youngest son is murdered (unlike most murders in the area, this one was covered by the local media). Through the gathering of evidence, the roundup of suspects, and the trial that ultimately comes to be—all spearheaded by John Skaggs, a very dedicated and capable LA homicide detective—Leovy makes the argument that what places like South Central need is more policing, not less. They need more attention—not debate, finger pointing, and inaction. – Chris Schluep
“Masterful . . . gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it.”—Los Angeles Times
“Moving and engrossing.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Penetrating and heartbreaking . . . Ghettoside points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men’s lives.”—USA Today
“Functions both as a snappy police procedural and—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect . . . Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.”—The Boston Globe
“Ghettoside is fantastic. It does what the best narrative nonfiction does: It transcends its subject by taking one person’s journey and making it all our journeys. That’s what makes this not just a gritty, heart-wrenching, and telling book, but an important one. From the patrol cop to the president, everyone needs to read this book.”—Michael Connelly
“Ghettoside is remarkable: a deep anatomy of lawlessness.”—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
“[Leovy writes] with grace and artistry, and controlled—but bone-deep—outrage in her new book. . . . Ghettoside, if there’s any justice, will be the most important book about urban violence in a generation.”—David M. Kennedy, The Washington Post
“Riveting . . . This timely book could not be more important.”—Associated Press
“Told with the chilling detail and gripping pace of a prime-time drama.”—The Economist
“Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights—and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter.’ ”—The New York Times Book Review
“A compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black-on-black homicide, and the beginnings of a policy prescription for tackling it . . . an important book, which deserves a wide audience.”—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian
“Ghettoside has many successes: its complicated portrait of the LAPD, the humanity it lends to the families of murder victims, and its ability to engage readers from a historical and current-day context (the sundry facts Leovy provides throughout the book never overwhelm).”—Jason Parham, Gawker
“A brave book . . . It is not often that I pick up a work of non-fiction and picture the movie unfolding before my eyes. . . . [Ghettoside] offers a calm dissection of America’s oldest epidemic. . . . [Leovy’s] knowledge makes for lapidary prose that crackles with insight. It is also deeply humane.”—Financial Times
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The story is about south central in Los Angeles and the killing of black youth killing each other. The author totally nerd out and gave a lot of facts and statistics-one was that during the peak of killing there were more deaths in South Central then Iraq. And the indifference of the police, media and overall society.
But this story was different because Byrant Tennelle a 16 year old kid killed was not a gangbanger , he was a nice kid who father happens to be a police officer.
The story is tragic and you enter a world where there are invisible walls and lawlessness-where they cannot rely on police to solve crimes but they take care of it on there own. Where one blames the other for lack of solving any shootings and yet the final chapter gives hopes-from unexpected places having nothing to do with the area or police. And last, police are in the media and attention is given to the abuses and lack professionalism of cops and very little is said of hero cops like Los Angeles police officer John Skaggs who see a kid murdered and see him as it was his kid and pursue it relentlessly and aggressively.
This book is a powerful testament to cops like Skaggs and the indifference of society of blacks killing blacks. Many would think as some cops one less black thug to worry about but is actually more complicated then that. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Last year I gave this book, along with The Hate U Give, to a number of friends. Several of them kind of put off reading them (“Oh, I don’t want to depress myself,” “I know all this stuff,” “It’s/They’re not really my thing). Every single person immediately gave both books to other people as soon as they finished. Read both—they are not literary Brussels sprouts!
I also keep a copy of each in my little free library.
Top international reviews
How to correct this, to reduce the incidents and the overall gang mentality is a long term issue. It does though have to start at street level. What's the real driving force here, money and money from drugs. Reduce and/or stop that, well perhaps stopping it is an insurmountable task!
Overall a very interesting read, a little long at times but a gripping insight into gang life in. L.A.