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1 Hawthorne Sociology- Crime

S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C.

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S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. Cover

ISBN13: 9781620400043
ISBN10: 1620400049
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During the height of the crack epidemic that decimated the streets of D.C., Ruben Castaneda covered the crime beat for the Washington Post. The first in his family to graduate from college, he had landed a job at one of the countrys premier newspapers. But his apparent success masked a devastating secret: he was a crack addict. Even as he covered the drug-fueled violence that was destroying the city, he was prowling S Street, a 24/7 open-air crack market, during his off hours, looking for his next fix.

S Street Rising is more than a memoir; its a portrait of a city in crisis. Its the adrenalin-infused story of the street where Castaneda quickly became a regular, and where a fledgling church led by a charismatic and streetwise pastor was protected by the local drug kingpin, a dangerous man who followed an old-school code of honor. Its the story of Castanedas friendship with an exceptional police homicide commander whose career was derailed when he ran afoul of Mayor Marion Barry and his political cronies. And its a study of the city itself as it tried to rise above the bloody crack epidemic and the corrosive politics of the Barry era. S Street Rising is The Wire meets the Oscar-winning movie Crash. And its all true.

Review:

"A streetwise reporter takes a walk on Washington's wild side in this gritty but unfocused memoir. Castaneda began his career as a Washington Post metro reporter at the height of the city's crack cocaine and murder epidemics of the late 1980s and early 1990s, covering countless drug-related homicides and the city's notorious mayor Marion Barry, who was arrested on narcotics charges while in office. Going a little too far with his research, Castaneda became a crack addict, binging away his money while fretting that dealers might recognize him at crime scenes and blackmail him. He paints an engrossing portrait of this woozy, lubricious demimonde and of the S Street ghetto where he scored, with vivid portraits of crack-addicted prostitutes he befriended, a pastor who was also a drug kingpin, and of a charismatic police captain trying to reform the department and stem Washington's chaos. Once Castaneda gets clean, the episodic narrative sputters unevenly; he recounts tense crime set pieces, including a bloody shooting spree at police headquarters, but also much feckless office politics as he tussles with editors over assignments and raises. At his best, Castaneda writes movingly of the unlikely wellsprings of solidarity and hope in communities that society has written off. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

An award-winning journalists gritty, redeeming, page-turning memoir of a city on the brink.

About the Author

Ruben Castaneda worked for twenty-two years as a staff writer at the Washington Post. His Washington Post Sunday magazine piece on struggling with addiction while covering the police beat won first place in feature writing from the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Front Page Awards. He is the recipient of numerous other journalism awards. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

SeattleBookMama, November 5, 2014 (view all comments by SeattleBookMama)
This book is remarkable, and I am not the tiniest bit surprised that its writer has won multiple awards. He began life as a journalist, and in part, that’s what this is about. It is a memoir at least four times over. Seamlessly, Castaneda weaves the history of S Street, a formerly down-and-out part of Washington, DC that holds deep personal meaning for him; his own personal story ; the history of local police and in particular, the use of gratuitous violence and what happens to those who try to shut that shit down; and also the memoir of a local street ministry and after school program linked to S Street and the area’s revival. It is braided together evenly and I cannot find a flaw in it (and I am picky). At the end, he ties the whole thing together and puts a bow on it, and my jaw dropped. Did he just do that? Yes, he did! A big thanks to Net Galley and Bloomsbury for the ARC. It's one of the best I have seen in a long time.

My initial thought was that it takes titanium cojones to not only write about the DC crack epidemic while being addicted to it (as well as alcohol), and THEN to come out and write a risky but much lauded magazine article about his own journey doing same, and his subsequent recovery (sixteen years, at the time this was written), and then, after all of that, to write a book about it.

But it’s not just about guts. There are multiple essential messages he wants us to receive, and his strong word-smithery and pacing make it easy to keep turning the pages. The narrative is smooth as glass, transitions so natural they are hard to find. Twice I went back to the opening pages to make sure this was actually nonfiction, because it bears the crafting of a well-paced thriller. And it is highlighted by the journalistic integrity of the writer in what he recognizes is a dying craft: the investigative newspaper reporter.

Looking through the pages of my own city’s less-than-laudable local press as well as TV news coverage, I see two types of journalists, for the greater part. One is the phone-it-in writer. Typically, it is an article about a corporation or organization and the subject of the piece has really done the writing. It shows up as news without anybody double checking the self-aggrandizement done by the firm in question. Easy story.

The other is the heartless story-at-all-costs. Castaneda confesses to being an adrenaline junkie, and the reader must recognize that to keep the hours a journalist keeps for the salary provided, there would have to be a secondary payoff, that of satisfaction. But I do see journalists who go too far, the ones who will approach a mother whose babies have perished in a fire moments before, stick a microphone in her face, and bark, “Tell us how you are feeling at this time, ma’am.” Our author has a couple of sticky ethical decisions he has to make, decisions of integrity versus alpha-journalistic behavior, and he comes down more often than not on the side of the angels, and at least once, he does so at great cost to his career. This is really admirable.

I have read over 200 memoirs, and yet there has never been one like this one. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781620400043
Author:
Castaneda, Ruben
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Journalism-Reference
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20140731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
History and Social Science » American Studies » Drugs and Culture
History and Social Science » Journalism » Reference
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime
History and Social Science » Sociology » Drugs

S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781620400043 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A streetwise reporter takes a walk on Washington's wild side in this gritty but unfocused memoir. Castaneda began his career as a Washington Post metro reporter at the height of the city's crack cocaine and murder epidemics of the late 1980s and early 1990s, covering countless drug-related homicides and the city's notorious mayor Marion Barry, who was arrested on narcotics charges while in office. Going a little too far with his research, Castaneda became a crack addict, binging away his money while fretting that dealers might recognize him at crime scenes and blackmail him. He paints an engrossing portrait of this woozy, lubricious demimonde and of the S Street ghetto where he scored, with vivid portraits of crack-addicted prostitutes he befriended, a pastor who was also a drug kingpin, and of a charismatic police captain trying to reform the department and stem Washington's chaos. Once Castaneda gets clean, the episodic narrative sputters unevenly; he recounts tense crime set pieces, including a bloody shooting spree at police headquarters, but also much feckless office politics as he tussles with editors over assignments and raises. At his best, Castaneda writes movingly of the unlikely wellsprings of solidarity and hope in communities that society has written off. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
An award-winning journalists gritty, redeeming, page-turning memoir of a city on the brink.
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