A harrowing prison memoir, the first to date by an inmate who is behind bars at the Cuban penitentiary that has become a byword for an American gulag. Slahi was caught up early in the post-9/11 sweep, suspected of having played a role. … After turning himself in for questioning in his native Mauritania, Slahi was "rendered" to Jordan and interrogated for eight months before the Jordanians decided he was innocent. A Marine prosecutor recalls that the CIA, managing Slahi's fate, "just kind of threw him over to U.S. military control in Bagram, Afghanistan," from which he was sent to Guantánamo in 2002. There he has remained, yet to be charged with a crime … Slahi may or may not be a reliable narrator; readers are called on to suspend disbelief. By his account, of course, he is not guilty. His memoir is essential reading for anyone concerned with human rights and the rule of law.
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy
Jill Leovy's powerful new book…is old-school narrative journalism…a serious and kaleidoscopic achievement…Nestled inside the story of one gang-related killing is a well-made and timely argument…that transcends a single death. Ms. Leovy suggests, six decades after the start of the civil rights movement, that the "impunity for the murder of black men" remains America's great and largely ignored race problem…Like an orchestra, Ghettoside needs time to warm up…Yet once it gets rolling, it is tidal in its force…Ms. Leovy's greatest gift as a journalist [is] her ability to remain hard-headed while displaying an almost Tolstoyan level of human sympathy. Nearly every person in her story—killers and victims, hookers and soccer moms, good cops and bad—exists within a rich social context…[Leovy's] a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain.
New sources reveal the perilous journeys of fugitive slaves. Prolific historian Foner, winner of the Pulitzer, Bancroft and Lincoln prizes, traces the convoluted trail known as the Underground Railroad in the roiling decades before the Civil War. Drawing on rich archival sources, including the papers of Sydney Howard Gay, a prominent New York abolitionist who scrupulously documented his cases, Foner uncovers the tireless, dangerous work of a handful of determined abolitionists and the quests of thousands of black men, women and children to achieve freedom. … "You don't know, you can't…," wrote Gay to a Boston abolitionist, "just what my position is….You are surrounded by a people growing in anti-slavery; I by a people who hate it." Foner brings to life fraught decades of contention, brutality and amazing acts of moral courage.