The Algiers Motel Incident

Overview

In 1967 three black men were killed and nine other people brutally beaten by, as John Hersey describes it in The Algiers Motel Incident, an "aggregate of Detroit police, Michigan State Troopers, National Guardsmen, and private guards who had been directed to the scene." Responding to a telephoned report of sniping, the police group invaded the Algiers Motel and interrogated ten black men and two white women, none of whom were armed, for an hour. By the time the interrogators left, three men had been shot to death...

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Overview

In 1967 three black men were killed and nine other people brutally beaten by, as John Hersey describes it in The Algiers Motel Incident, an "aggregate of Detroit police, Michigan State Troopers, National Guardsmen, and private guards who had been directed to the scene." Responding to a telephoned report of sniping, the police group invaded the Algiers Motel and interrogated ten black men and two white women, none of whom were armed, for an hour. By the time the interrogators left, three men had been shot to death and the others, including the women, beaten.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books
Hersey's extremely careful and cogent account of the Algiers Motel incident does not suggest that [the law enforcement officers involved] conspired to do anything... It suggests strongly the contrary: that they were doing what came naturally to them, and doing it with gusto.

— Edgar Z. Friedenberg

American Sociological Review

This is a brilliant book, a tour de force..

Newsweek
Hersey's book is based on months of personal investigation and contains evidence never before made public. He ransacked every available piece of documentation. Thus armed, he tried to work out a tentative scenario of events and, more important, used his data to build up what may be the truest picture yet of the white policeman's role in the ghettos... His collage of interviews, fact, and intuition... jells into a forceful dossier against racism in the U.S. system of justice.

— R.A. Sokolov

New York Review of Books - Edgar Z. Friedenberg

Hersey's extremely careful and cogent account of the Algiers Motel incident does not suggest that [the law enforcement officers involved] conspired to do anything... It suggests strongly the contrary: that they were doing what came naturally to them, and doing it with gusto.

Newsweek - R.A. Sokolov

Hersey's book is based on months of personal investigation and contains evidence never before made public. He ransacked every available piece of documentation. Thus armed, he tried to work out a tentative scenario of events and, more important, used his data to build up what may be the truest picture yet of the white policeman's role in the ghettos... His collage of interviews, fact, and intuition... jells into a forceful dossier against racism in the U.S. system of justice.

Booknews
Originally published in 1968, Hersey's account of this 1967 Detroit police murder of three young black men and beating of several others is reprinted here with a new introduction. Hersey interviews many subjects--police, victims, and witnesses--in depth, and examines court proceedings, choosing as the main characters in his account the three police officers accused of masterminding the assault and one of their young victims. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801857775
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/19/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 418
  • Sales rank: 1,484,128
  • Product dimensions: 0.93 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Hersey won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his first novel, A Bell for Adano. He is the author of Hiroshima and many novels, including The Wall, The Child Buyer, Under the Eye of the Storm, and Blues. He died in 1993. Thomas Sugrue is an assistant professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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