Cover Image: To Poison a Nation

To Poison a Nation

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Member Reviews

To change the future, we must learn from the past. This book is an excellent resource to learn from when one wants to gain more knowledge into the criminal justice system in the United States. Readers will be exposed to a long forgotten story and how the events in 1900 are rooted into events in 2021.
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To Poison a Nation by Andrew Baker is a detailed account of a rarely mentioned event and the subsequent effects on policing in the United States on the whole.

The oft repeated sequence of events when a movement threatens to unite Black and white workers is highlighted here in, if not the, then one of the first instances of what can be called Jim Crow policing. Though in honesty it can simply be called policing in the United States. Police harassment and violence toward Blacks, particularly during times when progress might be on the horizon, is nothing new and this incident, the murder and the rioting, created the playbook for the white supremacist paramilitary units we know today as police departments. If it looks like people are coming together to try to make this country live up to it's lofty founding documents, the police make sure that violence ensues and  any potential improvements to society are stopped.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the beginnings of our paramilitary white supremacist police departments, as well as those who might simply want to read a dark chapter in New Orleans/Louisiana/southern/United States history.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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A meticulous excavation of a forgotten chapter in American history, that is, how white businesses and political leaders crushed the nascent interracial alliance forming between white and black laborers in New Orleans. Andrew Baker, a Bates College professor, documents the mobilization of the New Orleans police force  to enforce White supremacy in the name of established white business interests. Utilizing the manhunt for Robert Charles, who shot a white police officer, as point of entry, Baker recreates the volatile race and class relations  that characterized the Jim Crow era and gave birth to modern repressive police techniques. It is a fascinating story that needs to be told; however, the daily lives of African Americans fade into the background as does Robert Charles' murder. In fact, readers who assume that this murder is the primary focus of the book based on the book's subtitle and the description provided by the publisher may feel cheated. That said, this is a powerful story that sheds much light on contemporary issues with policing and systemic racism.

I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A story of police violence that exposes the historical roots of today's criminal justice.

This was such an eye opening book! I absolutely loved how well this book.was researched the author did an outstanding job writing this amazing book! 
This book will take you on a journey that will break your heart ANF hopefully open some eyes!
I loved the story most of it. Its heart breaking at best. But something that needs to be talked about. 

Thank you.NetGalley and New Press for letting me read this amazing ebook! So very much appreciated!
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