20 October 1999
Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisisby Christian Parenti
Lockdown America documents the horrors and absurdities of militarized policing, prisons, a fortified border, and the war on drugs. Its accessible and vivid prose makes clear the links between crime and politics in a period of gathering economic crisis.
San Francisco Bay Guardian, 29 September 1999
2 September 1999
21 September 1999
11 October 1999
Baltimore City Paper, 3 November 1999
The Progressive, December 1999
The Christian Science Monitor
“Exhaustively documented ... deserves a full hearing from anyone serious about ending the often horrific realities of the criminal justice system.”—Washington Post Book World
“Essential reading for those in law enforcement and politics who are attracted by the rhetoric of zero tolerance.”—Times Literary Supplement
“Terrifying, informative and gripping.”—New York Press
- Verso Books
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- 6.43(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.08(d)
What People are saying about this
While there has been no shortage of books in recent years on the failures of the American criminal justice system, what separates Parenti's from the others are his gripping descriptions of gang sweeps, border raids, and jailhouse violence... His excellent on-the-ground reporting is paired with a radical--but rarely raving--class analysis of the police and prison crisis.
Meet the Author
Christian Parenti is the author of The Soft Cage and The Freedom, and is currently writing a book on Afghanistan. He is a visiting fellow at the CUNY Graduate School’s Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and his articles appear regularly in The Nation. He lives in New York City.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book tells the absolute and ethical truth which provides open minds with a greater understanding as to why and how society is where it is today and the perspective provides that hope can still prevail and that there are solutions, society needs to just be willing to move forward and be moral and ethical in their personal lives as well as in their employment opportunities.
Mr. Parenti has written a book about the system and what actually is happening in the court rooms, police stations, and prisons of America. Regarless of Parenti's political ideology and personal background he has indeed presented the reader with actual facts. The arguement here is valid, and begs the reader to ask, "what does this mean to me?" From my experience with the prison system, I can say that everyone in this country needs to start paying attention, and asking questions. 'O Freedom!' What is your price ? Review, former Corrections Officer.
When I embarked upon this book, I expected a fair, analytical study of the American criminal justice system. What I got was anything but that. Parenti makes no secret of the fact that he has an agenda in this book. While I concede that Parenti is a bright man who clearly knows a great deal about the criminal justice system, the problems with this book were many: 1. Conspiracy Theory - I could not help but get the impression that this book promulgated a giant conspiracy theory. Parenti unambiguously asserts that the primary function of the law is to oppress African-Americans. While racism exists in this Country, I believe it a bit looney to believe that every law and every police initiative serves the primary function of advancing hate against minorities. 2. One-Sided - He tells many tales of police brutality, botched investigations, etc. but NEVER mentions anything that the criminal justice system has done to protect Americans. There are two sides to every story and Parenti ignores that fact. 3. Childish Insults - Parenti obviously harbors a great deal of anger towards the Republican Party and police departments nationwide. He often lets those feelings manifest themselves in a childish, often acidic manner. He calls Rudy Giuliani a 'ghoul,' he sarcastically calls Dan Quayle a 'towering intellect,' he calls Reagan's federal court appointees 'mean-spirited anti-crime zealots,' and he even goes so far as to mock the way New York Police Chiefs dress while off duty. 4. 250 Pages Of Complaining - All Parenti does in this book is complain. This makes it rather unfulfilling. Complaining is fine, but if you complain you should offer up some kind of solution to the problem. Parenti gives no ideas, no solutions, no recommendations as to what should be done to ameliorate the criminal justice system. The fact that Parenti is so biased certainly takes all credibility away from him. If you are looking for a scholarly, fair-minded study of the American criminal justice system, I HIGHLY recommend that you skip this book and look elsewhere.