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

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

4.5 109
by Sanyika Shakur
     
 

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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

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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:
9780871135353
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
05/01/1993
Pages:
383

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Monster 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
MrDubVee2 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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?????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
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Best non fiction
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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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Danny King More than 1 year ago
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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