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America on Fire

The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

Elizabeth Hinton

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William Collins
23 September 2021
A New York Times Notable Book Best Books of 2021: TIME, Smithsonian New York Times Book Review • Editors' Choice

A radical reckoning with the racial inequality of America’s past and present, by one of the country’s leading scholars of policing and mass incarceration

Between 1964 and 1972, the United States endured domestic violence on a scale not seen since the Civil War. During these eight years, Black residents responded to police brutality and systemic racism by throwing punches and Molotov cocktails at police officers, plundering local businesses and vandalizing exploitative institutions. Ever since, Americans have been living in a nation and national culture created, in part, by the extreme violence of this period.

In America on Fire, acclaimed professor Elizabeth Hinton draws on previously untapped sources to unravel this extraordinary history for the first time, arguing that we cannot understand the civil rights struggle without coming to terms with the astonishing violence, and hugely expanded policing regime, that followed it. A leading scholar of policing, Hinton underlines a crucial lesson in the book – that police violence precipitates community violence – and shows how it continues to escape policy makers, who respond by further criminalizing entire groups instead of addressing underlying socioeconomic causes.

Taking us from the uprising in Watts, Los Angeles in 1965 to the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Hinton’s urgent, eye-opening and much-anticipated America on Fire offers an unprecedented framework for understanding the crisis at the country’s heart.

Imprint:   William Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 32mm
Weight:   480g
ISBN:   9780008443849
ISBN 10:   000844384X
Pages:   416
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Elizabeth Hinton is an associate professor of history, African American studies, and law at Yale University and Yale Law School. Author of the critically-acclaimed From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, she lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Reviews for America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

'[A] groundbreaking, deeply researched and profoundly heart-rending account of the origins of our national crisis of police violence against Black America ... America on Fire is more than a brilliant guided tour through our nation's morally ruinous past. It reveals the deep roots of the current movement to reject a system of law enforcement that defines as the problem the very people who continue to seek to liberate themselves from racial oppression.' Peniel E. Joseph, New York Times '[A] trenchant study ... Illustrate[s] the origins and legacies of the rebellions that sprang from police incursions in Black life' Boston Globe 'Hinton's passionate, occasionally gritty approach is the opposite of a gauzy PBS series: she drills down into the granular, highlighting the courageous men and women who stood tall in a hail of bullets.' Oprah Daily, 'Best Books to Pick Up This May' 'Few historians are defter at helping us make sense of our present than Elizabeth Hinton ... What emerges most clearly across the whole of the book is an urgent history of today' The Metropole 'An indispensable account of the devastating cycle of police violence and community violence in the United States from the 1960s to the 2020s ... Essential to any understanding of the state of the nation, and the way from here.' Jill Lepore, bestselling author of These Truths: A History of the United States 'In this powerful, eye-opening book, Elizabeth Hinton reframes our understanding of the origins of the current struggle for racial justice ... No book could be more timely.' Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Fiery Trial and DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University

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