On books about the police

Can you recommend a good book on this “fuck the police” stuff? I want to look deeper into this.


Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko
If you only read one book about police in America, this is the one. It’s well researched, politically balanced, and it will let you decide for yourself whether you wanna say “fuck the police.”

Our Enemies in Blue by Kristain Williams
Again, if you’re only looking to read one book, this is another great one to consider. It’s also well researched and incredibly thorough, but its entire premise is “fuck the police,” and the author makes no excuses for his position.

Police Brutality: An Anthology edited by Jill Nelson
I haven’t read this, but it looks like a decent collection of essays.

Brotherhood of Corruption by Juan Antonio Juarez
Juarez is an unreliable narrator and a poor writer, but there is still a lot of brutal, street-level truth to be found in this book.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
This is a seminal work. A must read. It’s less about police and more about systemic racism, but you need to understand the big picture.

Crook County by Nicole Van Cleve
This hasn’t been published yet, but I got my hands on an advance copy and it’s a groundbreaking indictment of the court system.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This is a personal book about the realities of being black in America, but it’s beautifully written and touches on police violence, so it goes on the list.

Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky edited by Mitchell and Schoeffel
Honestly, you can’t read enough Chomsky. This collection is a great starting point. Focus on his ideas about state power, but by all means, go wherever it takes you.

Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
This book is the most difficult, but it’s also the most important. It’s a philosophical masterpiece about society’s relationship with incarceration. It will challenge you. Accept the challenge.


4 thoughts on “On books about the police

  1. KG says:

    The most interesting thing, to me anyway, about Discipline and Punish is that the title really is the key to the book, and arguably, the biggest thing to get your head around. He means “discipline” and “punish” as verbs, which even now, as I type this comment, I keep trying to write as “punishment” (ie a noun). This may seem very semantic, but its actually his whole point – processes meant to control and render docile people’s minds. Punishment is not a singular, one off event, but continues to chip away at people, always trying to render them completely docile in both mind and body.

  2. I Read Your Shit A Lot says:

    Is Crook County the book by the friend of yours that proves what we already know to be true about racism in the court system?

    (Before you get weirded out by my near direct quote – I didn’t memorise it, but your description of the book rang a bell and I searched for that old post of yours. It’s “On someone who knows the system”.)

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