Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

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Written in solitary confinement, Kody Scott’s memoir of sixteen years as a gangbanger in Los Angeles was a searing best-seller and became a classic, published in ten languages, with more than 300,000 copies in print in the United States alone. After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, twelve-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers, earning the name “Monster” for committing ...
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Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

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Overview


Written in solitary confinement, Kody Scott’s memoir of sixteen years as a gangbanger in Los Angeles was a searing best-seller and became a classic, published in ten languages, with more than 300,000 copies in print in the United States alone. After pumping eight blasts from a sawed-off shotgun at a group of rival gang members, twelve-year-old Kody Scott was initiated into the L.A. gang the Crips. He quickly matured into one of the most formidable Crip combat soldiers, earning the name “Monster” for committing acts of brutality and violence that repulsed even his fellow gang members. When the inevitable jail term confined him to a maximum-security cell, a complete political and personal transformation followed: from Monster to Sanyika Shakur, black nationalist, member of the New Afrikan Independence Movement, and crusader against the causes of gangsterism. In a document that has been compared to The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Shakur makes palpable the despair and decay of America’s inner cities and gives eloquent voice to one aspect of the black ghetto experience today.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
``Monster'' Kody, today known as Sanyika Sakur, spent 16 years as a ``gangbanger'' in South Central Los Angeles. His account begins at age 11, when he was inducted into the ranks of the Crips, and ends hundreds of bodies later with Scott serving a seven-year prison term for beating a crack dealer. Throughout, he successfully conveys a sense of the siege mentality that prevails every minute of every day, due to the daily barrage of gang-on-gang violence. Names of derivative Crip gangs e.g., Rollin' Sixties, Hoovers, Grape Street Watts Crips and gang members e.g., Li'l Hunchy, Tray Ball, Huckabuck flit across the pages in a confusing manner, but Scott pushes the narrative forward with scarcely a glance backward, and, ultimately, names and incidents are not important. Unfortunately, Scott was in prison during the violence that followed last year's Rodney King incident and thus sheds little light on the peace treaty forged between the Bloods and Crips. Although unrepentant, Scott today is dedicated to ending gang violence. Recommended for most collections.-- Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal''
Kirkus Reviews
L‚on Bing's study of L.A. gangs, Do or Die (1991) featured on its cover an awesomely muscular African-American male, naked to the waist, wearing sunglasses and wielding an automatic weapon. That man was "Monster" Kody Scott, who here tells his electrifying life story: an angry, stunningly violent odyssey through gang warfare and prison to redemption. The acknowledgements page reveals Scott's continued wrath: "Bullet-proof love is extended to Muhammad Abdullah and the Islamic Liberation Army...Teflon bullets are sent to the sell- outs." Scott is still fighting, only now for the New Afrikan Independence Movement, dedicated to creating a separate black nation. But, then, the author has always been at war: Drafted at age 11 into a "set" of the "ghastly gang army" of the L.A. Crips—an army of "children gone wild in a concrete jungle"—he shot his first man, a rival Blood, that same year, and for the next 15 years led a life spent defending his set by word, fist, and bullet: "I liked to see the buckshot eat away their clothing, almost like piranha fish." Much of Scott's memoir is a horrifying chronicle of gang combat—shootings, betrayals, retaliations (Scott was shot six times in one ambush)—almost tedious in its unrelenting machismo and bloodshed, made palatable mostly by the author's deep knowledge of gang lore. Eventually, jail stints punctuate the street fighting; finally, in 1983, Scott, behind bars, meets a radical Muslim who teaches him that the real battle is with the white oppressors—a lesson that takes hold in the late 80's in Folsom Prison, where, amid outrageous depravity, Scott renounces "gangsterism" to embrace his new struggle. Today,Scott, 29, is back in prison, serving seven years for "a healthy beating" he gave to an unrepentant crack dealer. A savage document of the street that gives, and asks, no quarter. Anyone who wants to know why L.A. burned will find the chilling answer here. (First printing of 65,000; first serial rights to Esquire)
From the Publisher

“A shockingly raw, frightening portrait of gang life in South Central Los Angeles today.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“I propose to open my mind as wide as possible to allow my readers the first ever glimpse at South Central from my side of the gun, street, fence, and wall.” –Monster Kody Scott

Monster is unquestionably one of the most disturbingly authentic triumphs of the human spirit ever executed in print.” –Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140232257
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 109 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(73)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 110 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    Trick Or Treat?

    Trick or Treat? I'd say trick, you remember those kids that came to the door trying to be bad in their costumes. This is what this book is. As a gang unit Police Sargeant I can tell you this book is mythological. The type of fairy tells used in gang recruiting. If this man's body count is true, somewhere around a combat Navy Seal Unit, we would have him arrested for P.C. 187. (Their is no statue of limitations on these crimes.) This is a good book for one reason only, it shows the young what not to be and how lost the young can be with out the right influences. The character's ghost writer fails to make any points and it has no take away or conclusions. This book glorifies gang violence for the sake of glorifying violence. A good book for the young to see what confusion rests in the minds of those with no mentors.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2010

    Not worth the money it took to publish

    I love reading nonfiction and I was excited to get started on this book. The beginning was captivating, detailing how kids get involved in gang life and why, and most interesting - what really goes down behind the scenes. I was hooked. However, as the story went on, I felt like it took a bit of a racist turn for the worse. I understand people are different, but I try not to see color or judge. But, I felt like this author had an excuse for everything. I hated the way he said white people were "americans" and black people were "afrikans". Honestly, there's a reason we all in America and he should be thankful that he doesn't live in Africa. He is american whether he likes it or not. Just because I'm italian doesn't mean I'm from Italy. I was born here - I'm american. He talks about how racist white people are but he never sees the flip side about why people - ALL people - have negative feelings for those involved in gang life, no matter WHAT color you are. How can he not understand that? Weird how he got out of jail, and went right back in.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2009

    Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur aka Monster Kody Scott

    Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member is about the events of the life of young man who is a Crip from Eight Tray Gangster.

    At the young age of eleven, Kody Scott joined the Los Angeles gang the Crips, to be more specific, Eight Tray Gangster. Slowly but surely, Kody transforms from an eleven year old boy, to a brutally powerful gang member who gets involved with drugs and feels nervous without a gun. He is thrown in jail and shot at much of his lifetime, only to come back with even more hatred to anyone, or anything, that threatened his set. He had the reputation to brutally murder others that sometimes repulsed even his fellow gang members. This earned him the name Monster. Later, he meets a Muslim priest named Muhammad who inspires him to change his ways. He learns about the oppressed and with the help of the CCO, Consolidated Crip Organization, furthered his studies of knowledge and heritage.

    Sanyika Shakur's book gives insight to the reality of the gang world and how it hypnotizes the minds of our youth.

    This is a must read for teens and young adults. Monster makes you really understand the lifestyles of the gang world and revolutionaries.

    This book is an eye opener to the dramatic events happing in the streets which we have thus tried to shy away from as a society. By reading this book, we can further understand the reality of gang life and what fuels the young minds joining the gang world, trying to become an "O.G." I truly hope that this book will teach those wishing to join the gang life the dangers and consequences of their actions. Maybe one day we will see rival gang members finally getting along.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2005

    No Rhyme Or Reason Self Promotions

    I will give Kody this, he has mastered the art of self promotion and ghetto bravado. But so has has every rapper who ever made it. This act, from every other person hustiling a book to a C.D., since Muhammad Ali to the present, is played out. This book says nothing, answers no questions, provides no message. It communicates no redemption and offers no postive take away what so ever. You get the impression the ghost writer had to work hard to sort out some type of rhyme or reason of this memoir of murderous mayham, for the sake of just that. As a black man, this Black on Black crime in our black communites is discouraging. Black is beautiful and Scott hurt black people, which is wrong. (I think the ghost writer failed Scott in sorting out the reasons for it all.) The writer did communicate well some of the chess games that are played in the street, when you are set tripin' and just trying to stay alive. Scott is an intellgent man and once said, 'we fight for our lives over the Hood and did not own one brick in it.' His Ghost writer failed him in this work, it is empty and it will leave you only with a Question Mark. In fact, I give this book and sum it up with just that, five question marks?????

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Insightful

    I read this book many years ago when it first came out. I was an undergrad at the time and this book had me captivated. I couldn't put the book down! Later, when I began working with kids in boys homes, residential treatment centers, and public schools, and now that I'm a school counselor, I find that the stories from this book have stayed with me. The book is very insightful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2007

    News Flash

    Cody Scott is back in the Penn. So much for the redemption his Ghost Writer did not communicate on this book anyway. A three striker, wave good by to 'Sanyanka.' This a good book only from the stand point that he shows young people the path of a loser. But the young with no fathers do tend to idolize losers, gangsters and other such criminals. Los Angeles is a city of young men with no fathers, who will kill you as soon as look at you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Got to read this!

    This book is a very good example of sociology in many ways. It shows the many different cultures inside the larger American culture. It shows how people strive to be different from one another, even in the smallest ways. This ranges from wearing different colors all the way up to murder. This book, in almost every way possible, depicts some sort of mod mentality, whether it¿s a group effort or an individual effort for the bettering of a group. L.A. gang wars have been and still are raging to this day. This book starts off with the initiation of Kody Scott, also known as Sanyika Shakur, into his gang, the Crips. He tells many stories of murder, drugs and prison, all of which are an everyday occurrence in the life of a gang member. In and out of prison for most of his life, he grew larger and larger on a scale that measures one¿s reputation. After about thirteen years of being in constant trouble, Sanyika converted to the NAIM, an organization that promotes peace throughout the world. Sanyika wrote this book while doing a seven-year sentence for protecting his family against the same things he was once so heavily involved in. The way Sanyika wrote this book was very effective. He started off by showing the very realistic life style of a gang member, to open the readers¿ eyes to what¿s going on in the real world. As the book goes on he shows his transformation and how there¿s more to life. This tactic is done to try to persuade the youth of America to stop gang life. Not only is this book a valuable piece, but it¿s also a very powerful piece. It helps me see things from a different point of view. I no longer take the small luxuries of life for granted, because as shown in this book, they can be taken away so quickly.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2006

    Alright...I guess

    This was an alright book if you knew that you were going to be graded on it, but other than that i wouldn't really recommend it (unless you were from South Central L.A.).

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2005

    Even The Ghost Writer Could Not Sort This Out?

    Even the Ghost Writer could not make rhyme or reason out of this tangled web of confusion. This is a true example of the confusion that rules they young mind of those with no positive mentors. The Ghost writer really sounds confused as she tries to sort out some rhyme or reason for this murderous mayhem. Scott claims the body count of a Navy Seal unit. If his claims are true, he will be going back to prison for the rest of his life. The self-hate of black genocide is disturbing and then he claims Black Nationalism? The only hope for our black families in America is a revival of faith and Fathers taking responsibility for their sons. Cody¿s Father, an L.A. Ram, did not as most gangsters¿ fathers do not either. Scott turned to his neighborhood gangs name and it's identity because his father did not give him his identity in his family last name. He turned to the gang as all gangsters because his father was not there with love, discipline and guidance to go with it. L.A. is not unique; they were shooting in Oakland, San Francisco, New York in the 70's before Scott was born. For young people who think this is something to look up to, they need a tour of a prison or the city morgue. This all where this life leads too along with very low level menial jobs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    True

    Best non fiction

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    MUST READ! AGAIN AND AGAIN!

    I highly reccomend this book for true crime buffs or otherwise. I first read thi book in high school. I have repeatedly picked it up to reread it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Awesome book!

    One of my all time favorite books!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Great book

    Couldn't put it down!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    You won't be able to put it down!

    I loved this book it was great. I am one of those readers who are easily bored or doze off while reading a book. This book was different completely different. It was filled with action and is great at keeping the attention of readers who are easily distracted. It is filled with twists and turns throughout the book that one would never see coming. It gives great insight as to what being in a gang is like and the commitment it requires. From initiation at a very young age, "Monster" Kody Scott was a dedicated gang member. Through the drugs, combat, prison, and alcohol, Sanyika takes you through it all. Some of the events and interactions that take place between rival gangs and the depth that Sanyika goes into when describing these events and interactions are unbelievable. The descriptions in this story created a very vivid mental picture for me. It is as if I was an "Eight Tray" right there with. Sanyika gives the book a real feeling. While reading this book, it feels almost like Sanyika had brought you along with him and you experienced everything with him I feel as if I had visualized everything Kody had done and heard every interaction Kody had between his friends, family, and enemies. The way Sanyika uses slang and vulgar words in the dialogue within this book also added to the very real feeling of the book. Sanyika takes the reader on a journey through southern Los Angeles and shows them what it's like to actually live in a neighborhood that he did. On the contrary, this book is not just about gangs, fighting, and hostility. Through Kody's thrill life of being a south central gangster, he questions whether or not being a gangster is really who he is. This deeper meaning inside of Monster makes the reader think about with all the events in their life leading to now, who are they?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    5 stars

    I found this book to be quite realistic. I also reach for it when writing. If you are someone who needs to understand gangs and gang members I would recommend this book - as it is written "from the inside."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    excellent

    This book is one of the best I have ever read. Graphic and descriptive it will keep you entertained and astonished. POWERFUL!

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    This book changed my life.

    An outstanding tale of overcoming the odds you're dealt and the 'monster' within.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Great book, offers insight to youngsters that are in gangs or want to join gangs and shows them the "real" life of a hardcore gangbanger. This book should turn kids away from the gangbanging lifestyle.

    I read the book as a senior in high school. As I read the book, it kept me reading unlike alot of books that one reads in high school. I was never bored, or wanted to stop reading. There were points where I couldn't read fast enough. I thought the book showed exactly the nitty-gritty about being in that lifestyle. I have had a past of crime and violence and drugs and he really hit the nail on the head with this book. With intense writing, it seemed sometimes like I was right there with him dodging bullets. It is very unfortunate how easy and how gangs recruit nowadays, and also how the young kids fall right into it. Like I said earlier I've had alot of experience with the jail system and court system. I can relate to Shakur on one thing, the not having a father and your "boys" are doing it and you want to be a part of something and have people always have your back,(so he thinks). I thought this book was a perfect example of a typical street gangbanger that moved up the ranks and jus became another statistic. Thanks for your time.
    jayfreeze

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    Very Good Book (:

    My Personal Response

    The Autobiography Of an L.A. Gang Memeber
    pages:404

    This book cached my attention from the beginning.It has a constant cycle of violence that never stops.Like any other gang in LA it was just about the color red and blue. The main character by the name of Monster was only 11 years old when this started.These guys were just youths looking up to the older guys either dead or in a jail. As the story continued the violence got bigger from stabbings, to shootings, the robberies.One of my best parts in the book was when he finds out that he was a daughter in the way from a woman by the name of Candice. He continued to live his life as a thug till one day he got shot and almost killed. He went to jail were he had to be in Crips organization or else they were going to kill him. In the prison it was way different everyone drifted away from each other by the color of their skin. As he did time in the prison he got really close to the Muslim Community he tried to find himself with them but they just would accept him as one of them. He eventually worked is way into the black nation were he was welcome. After that he he learned to get away from all the violence and find the true meaning in peace. When he got out of jail he devoted his time and energy trying to raise his daughter. And after everything he had been through from street violence to gang wars till he got out he decided to change his identity and his appearance to Sanyika Shakur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    The realiest book out!!!!(Retired Gang member from Eight Tray Hoover)

    Monster Kody is not lieing in this book. he is keeping it 100% real with every body about how the gng life is and I think that this is what every young person that is going through something or that is already getting involved into this kind of life style needs to read. He goes into detail about gang life and what he experienced to give us a fully painted picture of how the gang life messed him, his hommies, and the victims that was hurt in the process of him and his gang tring to make there reputation better and known to rival gangs/gang members. If this book is hard to understand for you then you really don't need to venture, or even think about venturing into this kind of life style. trust me this life style only cause's death, hurt and alot of people pain that sticks and damages people through out the years. I thank you monster kody for giving me and every body eles a better look on gang life and the damage it cause's.................


    If you can change then i can change!!!!!!!

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