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Blood in the Water

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Originally published in hardcover in 2016 by Pantheon Books.
Published by Vintage on 08/01/2017
Book details: 752 pages.

The Trials of Nina Mccall

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"In 1918, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Nina McCall was told to report to the local health officer to be examined for sexually transmitted infections. Confused and humiliated, Nina did as she was told, and the health officer performed a hasty (and invasive) examination and quickly diagnosed her with gonorrhea. Though Nina insisted she could not possibly have an STI, she was coerced into committing herself to the Bay City Detention Hospital, a facility where she would spend almost three miserable months subjected to hard labor, exploitation, and painful injections of mercury. Nina McCall was one of many women unfairly imprisoned by the United States government throughout the twentieth century. Tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of women and girls were locked up (usually without due process) simply because officials suspected these women were prostitutes, carrying STDs, or just 'promiscuous.' This discriminatory program, dubbed the 'American Plan,' lasted from the 1910s into the 1950s, implicating a number of luminaries, including Eleanor Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Earl Warren, and even Eliot Ness, while laying the foundation for the modern system of women's prisons. In some places, vestiges of the Plan lingered into the 1960s and 1970s, and the laws that undergirded it remain on the books to this day. Scott Stern tells the story of this almost forgotten program through the life of Nina McCall"--Dust jacket.
Published by Beacon Press on 08/18/2019
Book details: 368 pages.

Whose Detroit?

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America's urbanites have engaged in many tumultuous struggles for civil and worker rights since the Second World War. In Whose Detroit?, Heather Ann Thompson focuses in detail on the struggles of Motor City residents during the 1960s and early 1970s and finds that conflict continued to plague the inner city and its workplaces even after Great Society liberals committed themselves to improving conditions. Using the contested urban center of Detroit as a model, Thompson assesses the role of such upheaval in shaping the future of America's cities. She argues that the glaring persistence of injustice and inequality led directly to explosions of unrest in this period. Thompson finds that unrest as dramatic as that witnessed during Detroit's infamous riot of 1967 by no means doomed the inner city, nor in any way sealed its fate. The politics of liberalism continued to serve as a catalyst for both polarization and radical new possibilities and Detroit remained a contested, and thus politically vibrant, urban center. Thompson's account of the post-World War II fate of Detroit casts new light on contemporary urban issues, including white flight, police brutality, civic and shop floor rebellion, labor decline, and the dramatic reshaping of the American political order. Throughout, the author tells the stories of real events and individuals, including James Johnson, Jr., who, after years of suffering racial discrimination in Detroit's auto industry, went on trial in 1971 for the shooting deaths of two foremen and another worker at a Chrysler plant. Bringing the labor movement into the context of the literature of Sixties radicalism, Whose Detroit? integrates the history of the 1960s into the broader political history of the postwar period. Urban, labor, political, and African-American history are blended into Thompson's comprehensive portrayal of Detroit's reaction to pressures felt throughout the nation. With deft attention to the historical background and preoccupations of Detroit's residents, Thompson has written a biography of an entire city at a time of crisis.
Published by Cornell University Press on 05/15/2017
Book details: 304 pages.

The Attica Turkey Shoot

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“Malcolm Bell’s powerful story of the Attica prison uprising . . . has the ring of truth” (Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and historian). The Attica Turkey Shoot tells a story that New York State did not want you to know. In 1971, following a prison riot at the Attica Correctional Facility, state police and prison guards slaughtered thirty-nine hostages and inmates, and tortured more than one thousand men after they had surrendered. State officials pretended they could not successfully prosecute the law officers who perpetrated this carnage, and then those same officials scurried for shelter when a prosecutor named Malcolm Bell exposed the cover-up. Bell traveled a rocky road to a justice of sorts as he sought to prosecute without fear or favor—in spite of the deck officials had stacked to keep police from facing the same justice that had filled the Attica prison in the first place. His insider’s account illuminates the all-too-common contrast between the justice of the privileged and the justice of the rest. Also included in this book is evidence from recently uncovered tapes that Gov. Nelson Rockefeller knew his order for troopers to attack could cost the lives of hundreds of inmates and all of those hostages. The Attica Turkey Shoot highlights the hypocrisy of a criminal justice system that decides who goes to prison and who enjoys impunity in a nation where no one is said to be above the law.
Author: Malcolm Bell
Published by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. on 03/21/2017
Book details: 416 pages.

Hell Is a Very Small Place

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“An unforgettable look at the peculiar horrors and humiliations involved in solitary confinement” from the prisoners who have survived it (New York Review of Books). On any given day, the United States holds more than eighty-thousand people in solitary confinement, a punishment that—beyond fifteen days—has been denounced as a form of cruel and degrading treatment by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Now, in a book that will add a startling new dimension to the debates around human rights and prison reform, former and current prisoners describe the devastating effects of isolation on their minds and bodies, the solidarity expressed between individuals who live side by side for years without ever meeting one another face to face, the ever-present specters of madness and suicide, and the struggle to maintain hope and humanity. As Chelsea Manning wrote from her own solitary confinement cell, “The personal accounts by prisoners are some of the most disturbing that I have ever read.” These firsthand accounts are supplemented by the writing of noted experts, exploring the psychological, legal, ethical, and political dimensions of solitary confinement. “Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for twenty-three hours a day, for months, sometimes for years at a time? That is not going to make us safer. That’s not going to make us stronger.” —President Barack Obama “Elegant but harrowing.” —San Francisco Chronicle “A potent cry of anguish from men and women buried way down in the hole.” —Kirkus Reviews
Published by New Press, The on 11/11/2014
Book details: 256 pages.

Global Convict Labour

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In Global Convict Labour, nineteen contributors offer a global and comparative history of convict labour across many of the regimes of punishment that have appeared from the Antiquity to the present.
Published by BRILL on 06/08/2015
Book details: 524 pages.

The Punitive Turn

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The Punitive Turn explores the historical, political, economic, and sociocultural roots of mass incarceration, as well as its collateral costs and consequences. Giving significant attention to the exacting toll that incarceration takes on inmates, their families, their communities, and society at large, the volume’s contributors investigate the causes of the unbridled expansion of incarceration in the United States. Experts from multiple scholarly disciplines offer fresh research on race and inequality in the criminal justice system and the effects of mass incarceration on minority groups' economic situation and political inclusion. In addition, practitioners and activists from the Sentencing Project, the Virginia Organizing Project, and the Restorative Community Foundation, among others, discuss race and imprisonment from the perspective of those working directly in the field. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, the essays included in the volume provide an unprecedented range of perspectives on the growth and racial dimensions of incarceration in the United States and generate critical questions not simply about the penal system but also about the inner workings, failings, and future of American democracy. Contributors: Ethan Blue (University of Western Australia) * Mary Ellen Curtin (American University) * Harold Folley (Virginia Organizing Project) * Eddie Harris (Children Youth and Family Services) * Anna R. Haskins (University of Wisconsin–Madison) * Cheryl D. Hicks (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) * Charles E. Lewis Jr. (Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy) * Marc Mauer (The Sentencing Project) * Anoop Mirpuri (Portland State University) * Christopher Muller (Harvard University) * Marlon B. Ross (University of Virginia) * Jim Shea (Community Organizer) * Jonathan Simon (University of California–Berkeley) * Heather Ann Thompson (Temple University) * Debbie Walker (The Female Perspective) * Christopher Wildeman (Yale University) * Interviews by Jared Brown (University of Virginia) & Tshepo Morongwa Chéry (University of Texas–Austin)
Published by University of Virginia Press on 11/15/2013
Book details: 352 pages.

Building the Prison State

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The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized nation in the world—about 1 in 100 adults, or more than 2 million people—while national spending on prisons has catapulted 400 percent. Given the vast racial disparities in incarceration, the prison system also reinforces race and class divisions. How and why did we become the world’s leading jailer? And what can we, as a society, do about it? Reframing the story of mass incarceration, Heather Schoenfeld illustrates how the unfinished task of full equality for African Americans led to a series of policy choices that expanded the government’s power to punish, even as they were designed to protect individuals from arbitrary state violence. Examining civil rights protests, prison condition lawsuits, sentencing reforms, the War on Drugs, and the rise of conservative Tea Party politics, Schoenfeld explains why politicians veered from skepticism of prisons to an embrace of incarceration as the appropriate response to crime. To reduce the number of people behind bars, Schoenfeld argues that we must transform the political incentives for imprisonment and develop a new ideological basis for punishment.
Published by University of Chicago Press on 02/19/2018
Book details: 379 pages.

The Meaning of Life

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“I can think of no authors more qualified to research the complex impact of life sentences than Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis. They have the expertise to track down the information that all citizens need to know and the skills to translate that research into accessible and powerful prose.” —Heather Ann Thompson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Blood in the Water From the author of the classic Race to Incarcerate, a forceful and necessary argument for eliminating life sentences, including profiles of six people directly impacted by life sentences by formerly incarcerated author Kerry Myers Most Western democracies have few or no people serving life sentences, yet here in the United States more than 200,000 people are sentenced to such prison terms. Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project argue that there is no practical or moral justification for a sentence longer than twenty years. Harsher sentences have been shown to have little effect on crime rates, since people “age out” of crime—meaning that we’re spending a fortune on geriatric care for older prisoners who pose little threat to public safety. Extreme punishment for serious crime also has an inflationary effect on sentences across the spectrum, helping to account for severe mandatory minimums and other harsh punishments. A thoughtful and stirring call to action, The Meaning of Life also features moving profiles of a half dozen people affected by life sentences, written by former “lifer” and award-winning writer Kerry Myers. The book will tie in to a campaign spearheaded by The Sentencing Project and offers a much-needed road map to a more humane criminal justice system.
Published by The New Press on 12/11/2018
Book details: 204 pages.

America's War for the Greater Middle East

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In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for ohero kids- Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents' expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public-postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age. Advance praise for The Most Dangerous Place on EarthoIn sharp and assured prose, roving between characters, Lindsey Lee Johnson plumbs the terrifying depths of a half-dozen ultra-privileged California high school kids. I read it in two chilling gulps. It's a phenomenal first book, a compassionate Less Than Zerofor the digital age.o-Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of All the Light We Cannot SeeoAn astonishing debut novel, Lindsey Lee Johnson's The Most Dangerous Place on Earthplunges the reader into the fraught power dynamics between (and among) high school teachers and students with both nuance and fearlessness. With a stunning constellation of characters' voices and a fiercely compelling story, it's impossible to put down, or to forget.o-Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Meand Dare MeoThe Most Dangerous Place on Earthis a deftly composed mosaic of adolescence in the modern age, frightening and compelling in its honesty. . . . A terrific debut, and one that I didn't want to put down.o-Julia Pierpont, New York Timesbestselling author of Among the Ten Thousand ThingsoIn her superb first novel, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, Lindsey Lee Johnson deftly illuminates a certain strain of privileged American adolescence and the existential minefield these kids are forced to navigate. Elegantly constructed and beautifully written, it reads like Jane Austen for this anxious era.o-Seth Greenland, author of I Regret Everything and The Angry BuddhistFrom the Hardcover edition.
Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks on 08/18/2019
Book details: 451 pages.
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