Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

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9780385529990: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
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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 America

NATIONAL 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—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect . . . Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.”The Boston Globe

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: There’s a statistic that surfaces early in Jill Leovy’s fundamentally important book Ghettoside that should catch your attention: black men compose about 6% of the country’s population, yet they are the victim in nearly 40% of homicides. And who’s killing those black men? The answer is most often other black men. Leovy, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, explores the culture of black violence, specifically in South Central LA, describing a world that seems to exist hermetically sealed off from the rest of the city. With nearly zero mobility and little policing, the people of South Central are left to fend for themselves—further amplifying the devastating drumbeat of gangs and violence. Leovy builds her book around one family’s story: Wally Tennelle, an LA cop, has refused to move his wife and kids out of his Watts neighborhood. Then his youngest son is murdered (unlike most murders in the area, this one was covered by the local media). Through the gathering of evidence, the roundup of suspects, and the trial that ultimately comes to be—all spearheaded by John Skaggs, a very dedicated and capable LA homicide detective—Leovy makes the argument that what places like South Central need is more policing, not less. They need more attention—not debate, finger pointing, and inaction. – Chris Schluep

About the Author:

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