Never before had Daniel Bergner seen a spectacle as bizarre as the one he had come to watch that Sunday in October. Murderers, rapists, and armed robbers were competing in the annual rodeo at Angola, the grim maximum-security penitentiary in Louisiana. The convicts, sentenced to life without parole, were thrown, trampled, and gored by bucking bulls and broncos before thousands of cheering spectators. But amid the brutality of this gladiatorial spectacle Bergner caught surprising glimpses of exaltation, hints of triumphant skill.The incongruity of seeing hope where one would expect only hopelessness, self-control in men who were there because they'd had none, sparked an urgent quest in him. Having gained unlimited and unmonitored access, Bergner spent an unflinching year inside the harsh world of Angola. He forged relationships with seven prisoners who left an indelible impression on him. There's Johnny Brooks, seemingly a latter-day Stepin Fetchit, who, while washing the warden's car, longs to be a cowboy and to marry a woman he meets on the rodeo grounds. Then there's Danny Fabre, locked up for viciously beating a woman to death, now struggling to bring his reading skills up to a sixth-grade level. And Terry Hawkins, haunted nightly by the ghost of his victim, a ghost he tries in vain to exorcise in a prison church that echoes with the cries of convicts talking in tongues. Looming front and center is Warden Burl Cain, the larger-than-life ruler of Angola who quotes both Jesus and Attila the Hun, declares himself a prophet, and declaims that redemption is possible for even the most depraved criminal. Cain welcomes Bergner in, and so begins a journey that takes the author deep into a forgotten world and forces him to question his most closely held beliefs. The climax of his story is as unexpected as it is wrenching. Rendered in luminous prose, God of the Rodeo is an exploration of the human spirit, yielding in the process a searing portrait of a place that will be impossible to forget and a group of men, guilty of unimaginable crimes, desperately seeking a moment of grace.
"A powerful book, hard to forget . . . Carcaterra is an excellent writer, changing pace here and there but never letting the reader go. . . . Sensitive, humorous, and harrowing, featuring dialogue with perfect pitch."--The Denver Post "A gut-wrenching piece of work . . . Lorenzo] Carcaterra's graphic narrative grips like gunfire in a dark alley."--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution "A terrifying account of brutality and retribution, searing in its emotional truth, peopled with murderers, sadists, and thugs, but biblical in its passion and scope."--People
A tour de force of investigative journalism-this is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar's criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented access to important players including Colombian president Cisar Gaviria and the incorruptible head of the special police unit that pursued Escobar, Colonel Hugo Martinez-as well as top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden has produced a gripping narrative that is a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world."
A collection of some of the finest works of crime journalism from the past year includes Jon Krakauer's The Mormon Murders James Ellroy's Stephanie Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s insider's view on the Michael Skakel's trial, A Miscarriage of Justice and Scott Turow's To Kill or Not to Kill. Simult
On March 16, 1978 Aldo Moro, a former Prime Minister of Italy, was ambushed in Rome. Within three minutes the gang killed his escort and bundled Moro into one of three getaway cars. An hour later the terrorist group the Red Brigades announced that Moro was in their hands; on March 18 they said he would be tried in a "people's court of justice." Seven weeks later Moro's body was discovered in the trunk of a car parked in the crowded center of Rome.The Moro Affair presents a chilling picture of how a secretive government and a ruthless terrorist faction help to keep each other in business. Also included in this book is "The Mystery of Majorana," Sciascia's fascinating investigation of the disappearance of a major Italian physicist during Mussolini's regime.
Dismissed by the police as mere adjuncts to or gofers for male gangs, girl gang members are in fact often as emotionally closed off and dangerous as their male counterparts. Carrying razor blades in their mouths and guns in their jackets for defense, they initiate drive-by shootings, carry out car jackings, stomp outsiders who stumble onto or dare to enter the neighborhood, viciously retaliate against other gangs and ferociously guard their home turf.But Sikes also captures the differences that distinguish girl gangs-abortion, teen pregnancy and teen motherhood, endless beatings and the humiliation of being forced to have sex with a lineup of male gangbangers during initiation, haphazardly raising kids in a household of drugs and guns with a part-time boyfriend off gangbanging himself. Veteran journalist Gini Sikes spends a year in the ghettos following the lives of several key gang members in South Central Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Milwaukee. In 8 Ball Chicks, we discover the fear and desperate desire for respect and status that drive girls into gangs in the first place--and the dreams and ambitions that occasionally help them to escape the catch-22 of their existence.
Edgar and Anthony Award Winner
Selected by the Literary Guild
" Remarkable...A true crime classic."
Enter the workday of real policemen. Follow fifteen detectives, three sergeants, and a lieutenant, whose job it is to investigate Baltimore's 234 murders. You will get a cop's-eye-view of the bureaucracy, the highs of success, the moments of despair, and the non-stop rush of pursuits, anger, banter, and violence that make up a cop's life. Now an acclaimed television series, this extraordinary book is the insider's look at what you have always wondered about.
BLOW is the unlikely story of George Jung's roller coaster ride from middle-class high school football hero to the heart of Pable Escobar's Medellin cartel-- the largest importer of the United States cocaine supply in the 1980s. Jung's early business of flying marijuana into the United States from the mountains of Mexico took a dramatic turn when he met Carlos Lehder, a young Colombian car thief with connections to the then newly born cocaine operation in his native land. Together they created a new model for selling cocaine, turning a drug used primarily by the entertainment elite into a massive and unimaginably lucrative enterprise-- one whose earnings, if legal, would have ranked the cocaine business as the sixth largest private enterprise in the Fortune 500.
The ride came to a screeching halt when DEA agents and Florida police busted Jung with three hundred kilos of coke, effectively unraveling his fortune. But George wasn't about to go down alone. He planned to bring down with him one of the biggest cartel figures ever caught.
With a riveting insider account of the lurid world of international drug smuggling and a super-charged drama of one man's meteoric rise and desperate fall, Bruce Porter chronicles Jung's life using unprecedented eyewitness sources in this critically acclaimed true crime classic.
An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech--largely by machete--it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title. With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda's genocidal logic in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges of survival and on how the new leaders of postcolonial Africa went to war in the Congo when resurgent genocidal forces threatened to overrun central Africa. Can a country composed largely of perpetrators and victims create a cohesive national society? This moving contribution to the literature of witness tells us much about the struggle everywhere to forge sane, habitable political orders, and about the stubbornness of the human spirit in a world of extremity. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.