"The book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis. Stretching beyond the typical scope of an academic text, Hinton's book is more than an argument; it is a revelation." ---New York Times
With more than 7 million Americans incarcerated or on parole or probation, leading to scholarly analysis and journalistic accounts of mass incarceration, and another 43 million living below the established poverty guidelines, Hinton's book is timely indeed…The nuanced analysis moves the research in criminology and poverty to heights not reached by others. This readable text is a must read for anyone working in these fields of research.
Hinton demonstrates that from the beginning the Kennedy-Johnson War on Poverty was a battleground of ideas and policies between mostly grassroots struggles to extend the benefits of the New Deal to communities of color, and top-down efforts to construct the foundations of the urban carceral state…Hinton’s cautionary tale is a must read for activists.
History News Network - Tony Platt
Rich with details and synthesis that give the reader fresh insights into how the well-meaning policies of the Kennedy and Johnson eras went awry.
Los Angeles Review of Books - Priyanka Kumar
Hinton’s careful excavation of the bipartisan federal drivers of mass incarceration is a significant contribution to the scholarly literature…Hinton challenges the prevailing understanding of mass incarceration’s roots…Hinton has written a work of history, but most readers will see its contemporary implications as clearly as she does. Having shown how federal policy helped drive up the number of people incarcerated by or under the supervision of the criminal-justice system, she enables us to imagine how it might help bring the numbers down.
The Nation - James Forman Jr.
Hinton’s book constitutes the most comprehensive analysis of the historical roots of mass incarceration to date. Those wanting to deepen the understanding of this history that they may have gained from
The New Jim Crow, the Golden Gulag and The First Civil Right would do well to seriously engage this wonderful work.
Hinton’s well-researched book is filled with historical anecdotes painting a colorful picture of the nation’s persistent struggle with crime since President Johnson coined the phrase ‘War on Crime’ more than fifty years ago…
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime is smart, engaging, and well-argued.
National Review - Lauren-Brooke Eisen
An extraordinary and important new book.
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime requires slow and careful reading for anyone seeking to grasp the full implications of this exceedingly well-researched work…The book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis…Hinton’s book is more than an argument; it is a revelation…There are moments that will make your skin crawl…This is history, but the implications for today are striking. Readers will learn how the militarization of the police that we’ve witnessed in Ferguson and elsewhere had roots in the 1960s…A reader cannot help reckoning with the truth that the problem of police brutality and mass incarceration won’t be remedied with technology and training. Those of us who believe in the principles of democracy and justice would do well to witness, as detailed in Hinton’s pages, the shameful theft of liberty in this so-called land of the free.
New York Times Book Review - Imani Perry
At a moment when policing’s impact on African Americans and mass incarceration have again become topic of national conversation, Hinton’s book is significant for its reminder that both liberals and conservatives share the blame.
Washington Post blog - Jeff Guo
The Guardian - Steven W. Thrasher
A clear-eyed and timely book, it traces the country’s cannibalistic prison industrial complex back to the social welfare programs created by Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. This history is heartbreaking, but it is one that affects an enormous percentage of the country…Read it and voteespecially for the state legislators, judges, and district attorneys who exert the greatest influence over the system.
Brooklyn Magazine - Molly McArdle
A superb work that is a major and timely contribution to the history of mass incarceration. It powerfully resets and sharpens the debate among scholars on the interaction of federal and state dynamics in shaping the modern carceral state.
An outstanding bookclear, compelling, and essential. Hinton excavates the deep roots of police militarization, surveillance of minority communities, and the punitive shift in urban policy. Her argument that liberals were key architects of the war on crime is a necessary and even urgent corrective to conventional thinking about mass incarceration.
Hinton's (history & African and African American studies, Harvard) detailed, documented chronicle illuminates how America developed the world's largest prison system.
A Harvard historian examines the origins of "the foremost civil rights issue of our time." Over the past two years, deadly confrontations between police and young African-Americans, the demonstrations and movements these incidents inspired, and subsequent commentaries by writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates have forced the issues of aggressive police practices and mass incarceration to the forefront of our national consciousness. Now comes Hinton (History and African and African-American Studies/Harvard Univ.; co-editor: The New Black History: Revisiting the Second Reconstruction, 2011) to remind us that these problems were a long time in the making. As the author demonstrates, President Richard Nixon's war on crime, Ronald Reagan's war on drugs, and George W. Bush's war on terror played roles in ratcheting up the militarization of police forces and the surveillance of the inner city. All contributed mightily to the vastly disproportionate numbers of African-Americans and Latinos currently filling our prisons. But Hinton goes even further back to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs and the unfortunate yoking of anti-poverty legislation with anti-crime laws. This unprecedented infusion of the federal government's authority, muscle, and dollars into crime prevention—primarily through the aegis of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration—distorted and eventually overwhelmed efforts to combat unemployment, address housing, and improve education. Academic readers will appreciate Hinton's archival deep dive into the various and successive congressional acts responsible, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes not, for what amounts in her terms to criminalizing poverty. She discusses the prevailing social science theories that informed those laws—James Q. Wilson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan take a beating—and frequently cites official reports and informal intergovernmental communications that expose the policymakers' thinking. General readers will be appalled at her portrayal of outrageous police practices, all fueled with LEAA money, that contributed to the agency's reputation as a "bureaucratic monster." Those whose politics differ from Hinton's will likely be inclined to quarrel with her diagnosis, but they'll be obliged to grapple with her fact-filled, scholarly argument.