Cover Image: Crack


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Member Reviews

It was the eighties and everything was about making money. Reaganomics gave the promise that everyone could be rich with some smarts and initiative. So what were poor African-Americans using as their method to achieve this American Dream? Crack.

With a 40% unemployment rate for African-American teenagers in 1984, there weren’t any other ways to get rich quick in the poor neighborhoods where most lived. There was definitely no shortage of buyers. However, once the gangs moved in and took over crack sales, the homicide rate of those same teenage boys skyrocketed. The only way to expand their market was by taking over some other gang’s territory—usually involving extensive bloodshed on both gangs’ part.

Interesting and important information about both the Crack epidemic and the cocaine one that preceded it. However, it is very “academically” presented. While that makes sense considering the publisher, just be aware that this is an incredibly well-research study and not a pop-culture type book. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!

Thanks to Cambridge University Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A interesting, yet somewhat uninspiring, book on the phenomenon of crack cocaine. Lays out the history of crack in America. Describes how crack decimated the inner-cities, and destroyed the family structures of people living there. 
Where I did feel the book got interesting was in the descriptions of distribution of crack by different gangs. All the pertinent gangs are covered. The Gangster Disciples, Black P-Stone Nation/El Rukns, the Latin Kings, Bloods and Crips. Their leaders, Jeff Fort, Rick Ross, Rayful Edwards. 
Having served for over 20 years as a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee, it was like a trip down memory lane for me. I witnessed the incarceration of so many young black men, sentenced to horrific terms for dealing only tiny amounts of crack. I thought then, and still do, that the mandatory sentences were a real tragedy.  
The book would probably serve well as a guidebook to beginning correctional officers, law students, and college-age political science majors.
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A fascinating, page turning deep dive into the world of crack cocaine. A definite addictive read (see what I did there?!).
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This book was so dry.  I normally devour these types of reads and to be honest, I could not even finish it.  Too much information and presented in a way that basically bore me.
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