crack

Rocks and Riches: How Crack Cocaine Affected America

It was no coincidence that the crack cocaine epidemic exploded during a time of dramatic transformation in the U.S. economy, says David Farber, author of a new book. In a conversation with TCR, he argues that, even as it destroyed lives and fueled mass incarceration, it provided a passport for some young men into the prevailing 1980s lifestyle of greed and amorality. 

MLK

Written Into Law: The Legacy of African-American Subjugation

A new book offers a timely look at the ugly history of race-based laws. In “Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law In Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana” professors Ariela J. Gross, of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and Alejandro de la Fuente, of Harvard University, trace how colonial-era laws used to subjugate people of color still resonate in our justice system.

James LaRossa

‘Gladiator’ or ‘Bionic Mouth’? The Making of a Mob Lawyer

James LaRossa’s clients included unsavory figures such as mob bosses Paul Castellano and Vincent Gigante. But the controversial New York trial lawyer’s defense career really began when he quit his job as a federal prosecutor after a collision over with Robert Kennedy over a terrorism case, LaRossa’s son tells TCR in a conversation about his recently published memoir.

rapper

Rap on Trial: How an Art Form Became a Courtroom Weapon

Since at least the early 1990s, rap music lyrics have been used in criminal court as evidence in cases of violence, usually involving young people of color. The authors of a new book discuss with TCR why this has become a distortion of a musical genre that emerged as a source of creative expression and upward mobility for many at-risk youth.

John Gotti

The Rise and Fall of the ‘Teflon Don’

The late Mafia boss John Gotti’s crime empire was facilitated by a group of murderous underlings whose eventual exposure led to a shakeup in New York’s organized crime hierarchy—and the Mob’s slow fade from power, journalist Anthony DeStefano, the author of a new book, tells TCR.

Charles Mansn

The Man Who Murdered the Sixties

Fifty years ago Friday, on Aug. 9, 1969, pregnant movie starlet Sharon Tate and four friends were murdered in her Hollywood home by followers of Charles Manson, a self-styled prophet of revolution. In his new book, TCR contributing editor David Krajicek writes that the killings continue to fascinate—despite the many shocking acts of American violence since.