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When Crack Was King
When Crack Was King: A People's History of a Misunderstood Era | Donovan X. Ramsey
8 posts | 8 read | 16 to read
A kaleidoscopic account of the crack cocaine era and a communitys ultimate resilience, told through a cast of characters whose lives illuminate the dramatic rise and fall of the epidemic The crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s is arguably the least examined crisis in American history. Beginning with the myths inspired by Reagans war on drugs, journalist Donovan X. Ramseys exacting analysis traces the path from the last triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement to the devastating realities we live with today: a racist criminal justice system, continued mass incarceration and gentrification, and increased police brutality. When Crack Was King follows four individuals to give us a startling portrait of cracks destruction and devastating legacy: Elgin Swift, an archetype of American industry and ambition and the son of a crack-addicted father who turned their home into a crack house; Lennie Woodley, a former crack addict and sex worker; Kurt Schmoke, the longtime mayor of Baltimore and an early advocate of decriminalization; and Shawn McCray, community activist, basketball prodigy, and a founding member of the Zoo Crew, Newarks most legendary group of drug traffickers. Weaving together riveting research with the voices of survivors, When Crack Was King is a crucial reevaluation of the era and a powerful argument for providing historically violated communities with the resources they deserve.
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fredthemoose
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Important, well-researched, and well-written book weaving together the history, sociology, and politics of the crack epidemic with the stories of several people caught up in it.

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ncsufoxes
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Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Such an interesting examination of the crack/cocaine era of the 1980‘s. I remember growing up during the whole Say No to Drugs program in school. Now as an adult to go back & read about how messed up the policies were (police, drug enforcement, prisons, Iran-Contra Affair). Reflecting now & realizing how so many of these (bad) policies continue to affect so many communities to this day.

ncsufoxes April review #bookspin 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 3mo
16 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Amie
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Pickpick

This was very interesting and informative. Even though this is very far removed from my lived experience, it is relevant, recent U.S. history that has had an influence on our culture, laws, policing, and more.

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SaraBeagle
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Some of my favorite non-fiction from this year. When Crack was King definitely hit the top of the list!

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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

This book looks at how crack came to be, then how it came to be popular, as well as the racist governmental response to it. It weaves in the stories of 4 people impacted by crack in different ways. Really good information, but frankly I found my attention straying. A low pick for me.

NBA longlist, nonfiction

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bio_chem06
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Pickpick

I started this book because the author is a fellow Ohio native, and it was so good. Giving voices to a generation/race of people who were misunderstood and unjustly labeled.

jlhammar Sounds good. Just made the National Book Awards longlist, I think. 10mo
9 likes1 comment
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Megabooks
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An extraordinary look at the crack epidemic. Ramsey writes about its toll through the eyes of three people deeply affected by it. Their stories were the heart of this book, but he also looks at global, national, and local political forces that mostly harmed and rarely helped people and communities mired in the epidemic. Highly recommend!

Cinfhen Already stacked but sounds GREAT 😊 12mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen it was a great work of nonfiction! 12mo
83 likes6 stack adds2 comments
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Christine
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Fantastic must-read book if you want to better understand the crack epidemic/War on Drugs - something I thought I understood pretty well, but I still learned a ton from this. Very well-written, and the inclusion of stories of people who experienced the epidemic firsthand made this truly special and incredibly impactful. (Even the acknowledgments were moving!)

56 likes7 stack adds