Undercover Reporting and the Disturbing History of For-Profit Prisons in America

Book review: American Prison, by Shane Bauer (Amazon / Book Depository) The United States imprisons a higher portion of its population than any country in the world. In 2017 we had 2.2 million people in prisons and jails, a 500 percent increase over the last forty years. We now have almost 5 percent of the world’s population and nearly a quarter of its prisoners. This … Continue reading Undercover Reporting and the Disturbing History of For-Profit Prisons in America

Beautiful Country Burn Again

Book review: South and West, by Joan Didion I am trying to place myself in history. I have been looking all my life for history and have yet to find it. The resolutely “colorful,” anecdotal quality of San Francisco history. “Characters” abound. It puts one off. In the South they are convinced that they are capable of having bloodied their land with history. In the West … Continue reading Beautiful Country Burn Again

Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

Book review: Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Amazon / Book Depository) In the last decade, but especially the last few years, we’ve seen an especially polarizing shift between the American political left and right, culminating in the election of a previously non-politically-involved narcissistic billionaire (or is he?) bully with an inferiority complex. But even before that menace was in the White House, the unrest … Continue reading Tea Partiers in Their Own Words

Fact and Memory, Punishment and Forgiveness

Book review: The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich Book Depository What is offered here is my interpretation of the facts, my rendering, my attempt to piece together this story. As such, this is a book about what happened, yes, but it is also about what we do with what happened. It is about a murder, it is about my family, it is about other families whose … Continue reading Fact and Memory, Punishment and Forgiveness

New Orleans’ Most Notorious Unsolved Mystery

Book review: The Axeman of New Orleans, by Miriam C. Davis Book Depository New Orleans is a city that incomparably fascinates. It holds such a strong allure – consistently drawing masses of tourists, both at Mardi Gras time and outside of it, to see what makes this lakefront city so special. Even following devastating natural disasters like the hurricane that rocked the city to its … Continue reading New Orleans’ Most Notorious Unsolved Mystery

Death, Drugs, and the Darkness of a Louisiana Bayou Small-Town

Book review: Murder in the Bayou, by Ethan Brown (Amazon / Book Depository) Between 2005 and 2009, eight women were murdered, their bodies discarded outdoors on roadsides and in the waters of the small town of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish, a county in the Louisiana bayou. The population of Jennings is only 10,000, so obviously such a large number of murders didn’t go unnoticed, … Continue reading Death, Drugs, and the Darkness of a Louisiana Bayou Small-Town