A Colony in a Nation

A Colony in a NationColony in a Nation, A by Christopher L. Hayes
Published by Recorded Books on March 21, 2017
Format: audiobook
Genres: Criminal Justice, Nonfiction, Politics & Social Sciences
See it @ Goodreads
four-half-stars

Synopsis


New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award-winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation. America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a post-racial world, yet nearly every empirical measure--wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation--reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first "law and order" president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis. Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential "broken windows" theory to the "squeegee men" of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists--in a place we least suspect. A Colony in a Nation is an essential book--searing and insightful--that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.

My thoughts on this book

In a Christian Science Monitor book review Nick Romeo, notes:

The title comes from a phrase that Richard Nixon used in a 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention. “Black Americans,” he said, “do not want more government programs which perpetuate dependency. They don’t want to be a colony in a nation.” Hayes argues that in the half-century since Nixon’s speech, white America has subjugated a colony of the unfree within its own borders.

The idea that the criminal justice system is divided into two systems, one for whites and one for black has come to the forefront of American political discourse. Hayes does a good job of providing us with overwhelming evidence that there still is a large amount of racial bias. Police departments have become more militarized since 9/11 and that has become very evident when you see protest marches on the television. Hayes describes how “white fear” has led to politicians and the police to institute in some areas of the country a warfare mentality. We need as a nation become aware of our tribal instincts and the need to rise above those.

Hayes is an excellent writer, very readable, sometimes I feel his writing is better than his interviewing as seen on All in with Chris Hayes. This was an audiobook and it was read by the author. I am a fan of Chris Hayes and look forward to hearing and reading more from him.

About Christopher L. Hayes

Christopher Loffrado Hayes (/heɪz/; born February 28, 1979) is an American liberal political commentator, journalist, and author. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes, a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC. Hayes formerly hosted a weekend MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes. He remains an editor at large of The Nation magazine.

El Paso

El PasoEl Paso by Winston Groom
Published by Recorded Books on October 4, 2016
Format: audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Western
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three-stars

Synopsis


Three decades after the first publication of Forrest Gump, Winston Groom returns to fiction with this sweeping American epic.
Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early 20th century, Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this sprawling saga of heroism, injustice, and love. An episodic novel set in six parts, El Paso pits the legendary Pancho Villa, a much-feared outlaw and revolutionary, against a thrill-seeking railroad tycoon known as the Colonel, whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico.
But when Villa kidnaps the Colonel's grandchildren in the midst of a cattle drive and absconds into the Sierra Madre, the aging New England patriarch and his adopted son head to El Paso, hoping to find a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt the generalissimo down.
Replete with gunfights, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso, with its textured blend of history and legend, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the waning days of the frontier.

My thoughts on this book

I have to say I love the cover for this book. It really draws you in, I could hardly wait to listen to this book. Expecting the second coming of Edna Ferber’s Giant I settled in for a good listen.

Take a fading railroad tycoon from Boston, an adopted son trying to hold together his fathers railroad,two small children and Mexican Revolutionary and you have the makings for EL Paso. I have to say it is a great story line, rich gringos with their multi million acre ranches with hundreds of thousands head of cattle and one desperado out to prove to the world just how notorious he is should make a great read. I just couldn’t take the book seriously, there wasn’t the depth needed to make this a serious work of historical fiction. Simply put the characters lacked depth, and that detracted from the story.

Promise Falls Trilogy

Promise Falls TrilogyBroken Promise by Linwood Barclay
Series: Promise Falls #1
Published by Recorded Books on July 28th 2015
Format: audiobook
See it @ Goodreads
three-half-stars

Synopsis


From the New York Times--bestselling author comes the first novel in an explosive trilogy about the disturbing secrets of a quiet small town.
After his wife's death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can't find a way to stop his descent.
Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David's cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David's mother asks him to check on her, he's horrified to discover that she's been secretly raising a child who is not her own--a baby she claims was a gift from an "angel" left on her porch.
When the baby's real mother is found murdered, David can't help wanting to piece together what happened--even if it means proving his own cousin's guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla's mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.
Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past . . . in blood.

My thoughts on this book

I have seen good reviews for Linwood Barclay’s books so I decided to give them a try. I chose the Promise Falls Trilogy for starters. The third book Twenty-Three is not available to me yet. No matter…
The first book Broken Promise started a little slow for me, but it did pick up. The story-line is very good and well plotted. The characters were interesting and I enjoyed that we were getting the story from different perspectives. At the end of Barclay’s wrapped up the story very nicely leaving a few dangling story lines for the next book in the trilogy.


Far From True was even better, the plot tighten up and Barclay made better use of his characters in this book. The twists and turns were better. At the end of the book Barclay has done it again wrapped up some of the dangling story lines but one and that is hopefully what the last book, Twenty-Three will do when it is released November 1 of this year.

I am looking forward to it…