There are a lot of important books on this list, but I hope this one is the most influential. It is said of the Velvet Underground that everyone who heard their first album started a band, and I suspect that a significant number of the readers of this book immediately became activists. What other reaction is appropriate, when the case made by this book — that the American carceral system is largely a racialized means of social control — is so well documented and compelling? Ten years on, the influence of this book is felt more than ever. The work demanded by this book is continuing, just like the relevance of Michelle Alexander’s analysis. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Named one of the most important nonfiction books of the 21st century by Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Chronicle of Higher Education, Literary Hub, Book Riot, and Zora
A tenth-anniversary edition of the iconic bestseller — "one of the most influential books of the past 20 years," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education — with a new preface by the author
"It is in no small part thanks to Alexander's account that civil rights organizations such as Black Lives Matter have focused so much of their energy on the criminal justice system." Adam Shatz, London Review of Books
Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S."
Now, ten years after it was first published, The New Press is proud to issue a tenth-anniversary edition with a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today.
"Alexander is absolutely right to fight for what she describes as a 'much-needed conversation' about the wide-ranging social costs and divisive racial impact of our criminal-justice policies." Newsweek
"A call to action for everyone concerned with racial justice and an important tool for anyone concerned with understanding and dismantling this oppressive system." Sojourners
"Invaluable . . . a timely and stunning guide to the labyrinth of propaganda, discrimination, and racist policies masquerading under other names that comprises what we call justice in America." Daily Kos
"Devastating. . . . Alexander does a fine job of truth-telling, pointing a finger where it rightly should be pointed: at all of us, liberal and conservative, white and black." Forbes
About the Author
Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar. She is a former Ford Foundation Senior Fellow and Soros Justice Fellow, has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, and has run the ACLU of Northern California's Racial Justice Project. The New Jim Crow is that rare first book that has received rave reviews and won many awards and prizes; it and Alexander have been featured in countless national radio and television media outlets. Alexander is a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary and an opinion columnist for the New York Times. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.