Inside the L.A. Riots: What Really Happened and why It Will Happen Again

Inside the L.A. Riots: What Really Happened and why It Will Happen Again

by Don Hazen

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
These two books offer an alternative view of the Los Angeles riots of April-May 1992, based on a sympathy for the rioters, with the aim of explaining the social and political circumstances that brought about these riots and that will, if unchanged, fuel future riots. Both claim to be the first on the subject, but what they share is haste of execution. One is a set of raw reactions from the first week after the riot and the other a journalistic collection, mostly newspaper articles written during or immediately after the riots. Neither title provides distance or analysis. Rodney King and the L.A. Rebellion is by most acknowledged standards unacceptable. Poorly written, this book is full of spelling, grammar, and vocabulary mistakes; a faulty table of contents; and unfortunate advertising. It is an inarticulate celebration of black racism, offering half-baked analyses and an all-consuming Caucasian conspiracy theory, in which Magic Johnson and President Mobutu of Zaire appear on the side of the ``lowlife, racist dogs.'' Perhaps it should be judged by some other standards, but why bother? It offers no enlightenment on the subject of the riots, just unseemly applause from the safety of the sidelines, and its useful shelf life can be measured in nanoseconds. In Inside the L.A. Riots (a collection of 71 pieces drawn from such avatars of the independent press as the LA Weekly and New York's Village Voice ), no one has a nice word to say about the Los Angeles police, and there is barely a mention of crack dealing and murder by street gangs. The result is a full if often repetitive picture of one side--but one side only--of the riots, with signal contributions by Ron Curran, Frank Chin, and Michael Ventura.-- Timothy Christenfeld, Columbia Univ.

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