If you read The New Jim Crow, you should follow it up with this book. The author takes the opposing view of Michelle Alexander on many fronts, and also presents the County Prosecutor as the most "powerful" position in the criminal justice system. If you are someone looking to learn about the prison system in the United States, this is a must-read. If you are someone looking to work on reform, this is a must-read. Overall, the book is great to get an understanding of how the prison works, and how it could work.
Sly James was Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, from 2011 to 2019. There are not many books on municipal government, so this was an interesting read. Sly was mayor in a strong-mayor system. His position was full-time, meaning that he was the leader of the Executive branch of government, while the City Council, which would have a President, ran the Legislative branch. Sly has an every-other-chapter strategy, with one chapter being his personal story, and the next being about politics. Personally, I felt like his take on municipal government was quite refreshing, but had a cynical view on partisan politics. He had a plan he called the Four E Agenda: Education, Employment, Efficiency, and Enforcement. He was a lawyer before becoming Mayor, and a Marine during the Vietnam Era prior to that. He's a passionate individual, and the residents of Kansas City were lucky to have him as the City's leader for eight years.
This book is eye-opening. There is really no other way to put it. A lot of people end up spending little time with the justice system over the course of their life, but it is important to know how that system affects your life (and of course those unjustly caught up in the system). There is a lot of injustice baked into our justice system. This book breaks down why prosecutors are the most powerful folks in the law enforcement arena, and how their actions amplify the already biased policing system. The book takes you briefly back to slavery, and then how Jim Crow laws affected our country. The book suggests that it is socially unacceptable to discriminate openly on race in modern times, but explains how so many other factors (unconscious and conscious) contribute to unequal justice between white and black/brown people, even after the eras of slavery and Jim Crow. This is a must-read for anyone interested in racial justice, and one of the first books I will now recommend to others for reading.
This book is an intersection of my favorite band and a comic book. Rush's album A Farewell to Kings was made into a graphic novel. The book chronicles the creation of the album. With great songs like Closer to the Heart, the opener with the same name as the album, and their epic songs on the album Xanadu and Cygnus X-1, the album will not disappoint. Any progressive rock fans, classic rock fans, or really comic book fans, will enjoy this read.
All of us who live in Metro Detroit know that there was a major event in the late sixties in the City of Detroit. This book reviews the events from many different perspectives. Throughout you can tell that even naming the event there is no consensus. Some folks want to call it a riot, some a revolution, and some an uprising (among others). After reading through most of the book so far, I believe it to be a combination of all. It started out more as a riot (one definition: "a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd"), due to an onlooker at the blind pig throwing a glass bottle at a police officer. From there much violence ensued. But after that point, as most uprisings or revolutions came much good (remember that the Boston Tea Party was a destruction of the East India Company's tea). The bad relationship between the citizens of Detroit and its police department came to public light, and some issues were addressed. Of course, to this day, there is of course much work to do.
Something I like to do is read books by folks running for office, or folks already elected to office. It not only helps me think about my journey as a public servant, but also the events surrounding the day, and what that person thought was important. Joe Biden's book helps put things in perspective. He talks about how he juggled home life and work life, even when Vice President of the United States.
It was also interesting to hear the Vice President's take on his son's illness, after I had so recently gone through a ruptured brain aneurysm. He had described hospital visits, and I was now listenting to what it feels like from the other side, as I spent eleven days in the ICU.
Overall, the book shows that Joe Biden is compassionate, and one who thinks deeply about how his decisions affect others. This is the kind of person that I want representing me, even I do not agree with them 100% of the time (what government official do you ever agree with 100% of the time?). I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to hear stories about the Obama administration, being an elected official in general, or just read (or listen, as I did!) a good political book.