Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Ghettoside A True Story of Murder in America NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE USA TODAY AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder a rele

  • Title: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
  • Author: Jill Leovy
  • ISBN: 9780385529990
  • Page: 266
  • Format: Paperback
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in AmericaNATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times BoNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in AmericaNATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review The Washington Post The Boston Globe The Economist The Globe and Mail BookPage Kirkus Reviews On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder a ghettoside killing, one young black man slaying another and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs Ghettoside is a fast paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.Praise for Ghettoside A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement Jill Leovy is a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain Dwight Garner, The New York Times Masterful gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it Los Angeles Times Moving and engrossing San Francisco Chronicle Penetrating and heartbreaking Ghettoside points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men s lives USA Today Functions both as a snappy police procedural and significantly as a searing indictment of legal neglect Leovy s powerful testimony demands respectful attention The Boston Globe Gritty, heart wrenching Everyone needs to read this book Michael Connelly Ghettoside is remarkable a deep anatomy of lawlessness Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal Leovy writes with grace and artistry, and controlled but bone deep outrage in her new book The most important book about urban violence in a generation The Washington Post Riveting This timely book could not be important Associated Press Leovy s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard won insights and it serves as a crucial, 366 page reminder that black lives matter The New York Times Book Review A compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black on black homicide an important book, which deserves a wide audience Hari Kunzru, The GuardianFrom the Hardcover edition.

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    About "Jill Leovy"

    1. Jill Leovy

      Jill Leovy is an award winning reporter for the Los Angeles Times She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

    645 thoughts on “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America”

    1. i grew up in a tiny village located in the smallest state in the u.s. whose residents were mostly elderly transplanted french canadians. it was a very docile environment. from there, i went directly to nyc for college, and despite what the warriors or west side story may have taught youwe don't have a lot of gang activity around here. not like in l.a anyway. no one here hails cabs to perform drive-byse bulk of my knowledge of west coast gang culture comes from rap music, the shield, and my poorl [...]

    2. Like the schoolyard bully, our criminal justice system harasses people on small pretexts but is exposed as a coward before murder. It hauls masses of black men through its machinery but fails to protect them from both bodily injury and death. It is at once oppressive and inadequate… This is a book about a very simple idea where the criminal justice system fails to respond vigorously to violent injury and death, homicide becomes endemic.There is a plague loose in the land. A dark, long-time res [...]

    3. We love murder.Let me clarify that statement. We love murder as entertainment when the victim is some poor innocent blonde woman that our hero detectives avenge with a little help from the geeks in the crime lab, and the whole thing is wrapped up in an hour. Or about 45 minutes with commercials if it’s on network television.This book is non-fiction so it certainly doesn’t have the appeal of a tidy TV solution, and it digs into the whole sociology of a community where murder is common and the [...]

    4. Good reason to read it: superb writing. The characters though are so hackneyed. There is Supercop, the ordinary, world-weary father of teenagers who just wants to do his best. The police team who mostly don't care at all, it's only one Black shootin' another. The forensics guy who thinks he can do better than computers (he can). The victim - a boy with a shining face full of the possibilities of life, bleeding to death on the pavement from a bullet in his head, "I'm so tired, " he says, and dies [...]

    5. If it’s sadness you’re after, we have it right here by the bucketful One 16 year old kid named Devin Davis on May 11 2007 walked round the corner from St Andrews Place onto 80th Street, Los Angeles, and closed his eyes and pointed a gun towards two other black kids. One of the shots hit one of them in the head, an 18 year old named Bryant Tennelle, who was the son of an LA detective, and he died.(Bryant Tennelle) Some time later Devin was questioned and confessed pretty quickly. It turned ou [...]

    6. This is an important book. Despite overall crime rates falling nationally, black homicide rates remain stubbornly high. And this is only the most lethal of problems facing inner-city neighborhoods. Failing schools. Concentrated poverty. Mass incarceration. All these things work together to create a world apart, known colloquially as the ghetto. It’s a touchy subject that touches on just about every third rail in American life. To even begin a discussion you have to avoid getting tripped up on [...]

    7. Wow. This is an incredible book about murder in South Los Angeles. Jill Leovy was on the police beat for the LA Times, and she spent 10 years following homicide detectives and reporting on different murder cases.Ghettoside goes in-depth into one case in particular, the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Bryant Tennelle, who was the son of an LA police detective. You could say Bryant was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that he was killed because he was wearing the wrong [...]

    8. This is a masterpiece. If this doesn't win the National Book Award and a ton of other awards, then literary awards are really and truly bankrupt. I was a fan of Leovy's Homicide Blog (the original name for The Homicide Report), in so far as someone can be a "fan" of a project to catalog every homicide in LA county. Still, it felt like important work, and this book continues in its steps. The point of the Homicide Report was to bring attention -- in whatever way possible -- to every homicide, reg [...]

    9. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy is a history and the study of a murder case in South Los Angeles. Leovy is a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the creator of The Homicide Report. Ghettoside opens with the shooting death of Bryant Tennelle a young black man. Tennelle death seems random as he had no gang affiliations. He was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. In the city, especially the area south of I-10, hundreds of people are murdered in a typica [...]

    10. This is not a perfect book. In her passion for the subject and her glowing respect for LA Homicide Detective John Skaggs, Leovy's effusive praise can feel overstated, venturing into fangirl territory -- as if she were writing up an application essay to have Skaggs knighted or appointed to sainthood. But I'm going to cut her some slack since this book is extremely well researched, and powerfully presented. Leovy has been embedded for years in the crime area she is writing about -- the infamous So [...]

    11. Important. Devastating. Brilliant. Compelling. This book educates on the literal lack of reporting of murders occurring in South Central Los Angeles (what?!t on the news at all?) and then brings every aspect of the neighborhoods, the police, the families, the victims, and the life cycle into the reporting to form a cohesive, well-written book that asks the right questions and glimpses the possible answers. The author shows compassion to the plight of the community and the dire need to break the [...]

    12. I struggled a lot with this one. I went into it very interested in the subject and was excited, and it just did not live up to my expectations. First, the same message is sent about 10 million times, in the same format every time. With that, the author mentions many cases that follow the same pattern. I think it would have been more effective to stick with the Tennelle case while focusing on the human interest element of the story. I felt bombarded with cases and could not keep them straight and [...]

    13. When I saw that my friend Julie was reading this 2015 ARC with an iconic aerial view of a LAPD patrol car on the cover, it made me wonder, yet again, what the heck was going on back in the 'hood. All reports I'd heard regarding violent crime in the City of Angels since I left it a decade ago seemed to indicate that violent crime was on the rapid decline. I pretty much had to see if Ms. Leovy could provide added insight to refute what I'd heard about the decline of murder and other violent crime [...]

    14. First posted at rivercityreadingI went into Jill Leovy’s book Ghettoside with high expectations. Since its release in January, there has been praise seemingly everywhere, with The Washington Post even calling it “the most important book about urban violence in a generation.” I can’t help but wonder if we read the same book.It’s easy to cheer for many statements made early in Ghettoside, as Leovy discusses how “police forces have historically preoccupied themselves with nuisance abate [...]

    15. Rating: 4* of fiveIt took me, the guy who reads a book in a day, quite a while to finish this one. GHETTOSIDE is a vivid, eye-opening, matter-of-fact indictment of generations worth of neglect, oppression, and indifference on the part of the larger republic towards African-Americans, and men in particular.My review isn't a sweet little nosegay. It's a jeremiad.

    16. Leovy's thesis is powerful: We owe inner city African-Americans better crime solving - the victims of black on black violence (particularly murder) deserve to have perpetrators caught. In contrast to much received wisdom, Leovy - who was "embedded" with an LAPD homicide squad - makes a passionate (and often convincing) case that what black inner city neighborhoods need most from the police is more policing: for murderers to be caught, for victims not to be written off as somehow less than innoce [...]

    17. In Ghettoside, the author asserts that black on black murder among young men, is so rampant in areas like South LA because the justice system has failed the people in these communities by under-enforcing the law. This creates a lack of trust in police, contributes to vigilante style justice, and subsequently discourages witnesses from coming forward, etc. Besides being a broad narrative that focuses on the police and murder investigations in marginalized black communities, Ghettoside also focuse [...]

    18. New review - Just re-read this. Still a great book that reveals even more on a second reading. In particular read with (before, after or during) Between the World and Me. Note while the first time I read this was a Netgalley ARC, my re-read was of my personal (brought) hardcover edition.Older review: Disclaimer: ARC read courtesy of Netgalley. This book will undoubtedly be compared to David Simon’s Homicide. This is a good and a bad thing. A good thing because if the comparison might get more [...]

    19. a much longer version of what I think about this book can be foundhere. Here's the uber-short version:Ms. Leovy reveals in her book that African-American men have been "the nation's number one crime victims," only six percent of the population, but a staggering "40 percent of those murdered." Her book focuses on the area of Los Angeles formerly known as South Central; more specifically, she zooms in on the Watts area, and part of her thesis is that more often than not, "the idea that murders of [...]

    20. So in the minority on this one. (Should note, I finally abandoned at about page 170 to pursue other reading material.)Unfortunately, I did not like Leovy's style of story telling. She took way too long to get into the main story and much of the initial 100 pages is repetitive. I found the biographical chapters of the various detectives involved to be trite and overly scripted. The underlying premise, that in various black communities, an ineffective policing leads to a vigilante style of justice [...]

    21. Many years in the making, this recounting of the deaths of young black men in the neighborhood of South Los Angeles has the intellectual and emotional impact of a rubber mallet struck hard against the head. It is sickening, anger-inducing, and confounding, like listening to the litany of femicides in Book Four of Roberto Bolaño’s masterpiece, 2666. Only the facts elicit this reaction, for Leovy’s writing is dispassionate, cool and clear, which is the only way we could get through this horri [...]

    22. The thesis of this book is simple: the reason areas like south Los Angeles have so much gang-related violence is that law enforcement doesn't place a high priority on solving the murders that do occur. The city therefore sends the message that murder in these areas will go unpunished and, by extension, that the lives of those murdered, be they gang members or others, don't matter. This lack of justice creates a vacuum that the residents then fill with their own form of justice.Leovy restates thi [...]

    23. This is a masterpiece. Informative, nuanced, compassionate, efficiently told, entertaining, heartbreaking. Every American should read this book.

    24. This is an interesting and informative book about a serious problem that goes ignored by most of American society: the extraordinary number of young black men who are murdered every year, most often by other young black men. (Despite the title – the book is set in Los Angeles – this isn’t just a big-city or inner-city problem; the same thing happens even in rural areas.) The author embedded in a “ghettoside” investigative division for several years, and the book focuses primarily on th [...]

    25. Sometimes I read a book full of alarming statistics, but it fails to move me. Then other times I read a book like this one, when the author weaves statistics and research into a story, when the writing is vivid and the details compelling, when I feel like I've learned something in a way that matters, and when that knowledge has, on some level, changed how I think. Jill Leovy is a gifted writer. She puts words together in a way that paints a portrait of images and emotion. I didn't just read the [...]

    26. Strangely, I didn't love this book. It has all the elements present that should make a nice popular sociology read, but I found it rather tedious even though the central argument that over-policing actually causes violence was intriguing. Some factual information here was well-presented and used for novel, to me, sub-arguments -- I found the history of black on black violence interesting -- but I found overall this never seemed to really get off the ground. I think Leovy needed to decide whether [...]

    27. Fourteen years of research, conveyed through skilled, compelling narrative and ethnography. If you have any interest in understanding our broken criminal justice system, the ties between slavery, racism, incarceration, and urban violence, and what lies behind the declarative statement "Black Lives Matter," this book is essential reading. This book couldn't be more timely or necessary to our national conversation.

    28. This is a superb journalistic work on detective investigations of homicide in Los Angeles in the Watts (South Central) area. It gives an intensely human angle. It is centred on the streets and its’ people.We see how hard the detectives can pursue a case and the years it can take to train and make a good detective. They have to be on the streets and understand the lingo and the code of the inhabitants. They must probe and interview potential witnesses, family members, accomplices over and over [...]

    29. This is a story of the epidemic of murders of young African American men in South Central LA and adjoining neighborhoods. It tells the story of a dogged detective, John Skaggs, who is determined to solve these cases which are underreported. Skaggs faces families who don't believe the police care or try to investigate. Skaggs never tries to disabuse them of their doubts. He gains the trust by working the cases without giving up. When the son of a police detective is murdered, we see in detail the [...]

    30. It wasn't until I began reading/listening to Richard Price's The Whites that I could begin to nail down why I wasn't more ecstatic about this book. I'm completely sympathetic to Leovy's arguments and and I agree with those who say it's an important discussion of the neglected tragedy/travesty of black-on-black crime. But I'm now wondering if it would've had a greater impact on me if it weren't written as narrative that focused on one family and a couple of detectives whom I didn't find terribly [...]

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