Featured New Release of the Week: The Black and The Blue by Matthew Horace

This week we branch out into our first nonfiction book, again from NetGalley. Today, we’re looking at The Black and The Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement by Matthew Horace.

Now, this one was a bit interesting for me. You see, even up until the week before I started this site, I had been active in fighting police brutality for most of the last decade. Indeed, I was fighting police brutality before America had heard names like “Walter Scott”, “Michael Brown”, “Tamir Rice”, and numerous others. My story truly began with some cops illegally questioning me – a smart yet unpopular “weird” lower middle class white kid in the suburbs – without so much as a parent or school counselor, much less a lawyer, present. But my story really picked up when I began hearing names like “Kathryn Johnston” and “Jonathan Ayers”, then I was following online as some online acquaintances were harassed as they drove across America searching for liberty. They would found CopBlock.org soon after, and for the next several years I would be involved in that project locally, regionally, and even nationally at various levels. As recently as earlier this year, I finally created my own website to track all instances of people killed by police in America yet allow some basic reporting on the issue, something no other website did anywhere near the level I did.

So make no mistake about it, while I gave up that life completely when I came into this new world of book blogging and putting my efforts into books and publishing, I have a very strong and still quite recent history of doing everything I can to illuminate and bring awareness to the issue of police brutality in America.

Which is why coming into this book was so interesting for me. For someone like me to sit there and read the words of not just a cop, but someone who actively trained other cops for years, knowing all that I know? It was actually an interesting and at least somewhat pleasant experience.

Structure wise, this book probably wasn’t as comprehensive as I would have liked, and I indeed recommend the far superior book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police by Radley Balko, written over a year before #BlackLivesMatter became a thing, from that side. This book instead takes a personal look at a few instances from Horace’s own career as a cop, from his days on the streets of Baltimore to his ascendancy into the upper echelons of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms while also spending a good chunk of the book examining Chicago, Ferguson, and New Orleans in detail. There are a few grammar issues, mostly misplaced words similar to the clearly intended word.

Overall narrative wise, the book flows well and is an interesting and fairly easy read. The transitions are fairly seamless, and the sections allowing cops from all levels to discuss different topics worked well with the chapter they were placed with. The story was much more balanced than I expected from someone in Horace’s position, while still lacking in certain key areas to my tastes – but surely too much attention in certain areas for the tastes of someone more pro-cop than myself.

Overall this is in fact a book I recommend, just at the 3 star level and with recommending that Balko’s book be read as well. To me, it really does add a voice that can be missing from these conversations at times, and while Horace never does what is really needed, he does in fact seem like someone at least willing to hear all sides – even if he has his own preconceived notions that will not change regardless.

And the obligatory Goodreads/ Amazon review:

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A Month of Reading: July 2018: Starting A Blog and Reading An Entire Series

July 2018. The month I finally gave up politics completely and embraced something I’ve loved for far longer – reading.

It was the month I started this very blog just a few short weeks ago, and the month I finally read a series that I’ve had at least one book from for nearly 5 years, and whose author I’ve known for 6 years – we share a small book club on Facebook where he is one of about 70 or so author members and I run the monthly Group Read subgroup. And those two things pretty well dominated my month in reading.

Overall, I read 14 books in July 2018, per my Goodreads list (which I’ve become devout regarding updating when I finish a book). This pushed me into unknown territory at 81 books on the year – a new personal record. Of the 14 in July, 7 were from Brett Battles’ PROJECT EDEN series. Of the remaining books, 5 were Advance Review Copies (and 3 of those were from Lake Union Publishing) while the other two were new releases from friends – including Jeremy Robinson, who I will be meeting for the first time in just 16 days.

There 14 books accounted for over 3700 pages of (Kindle) text at an average length of over 260 pages each.

I only read one series on the month, so best series of the month goes to PROJECT EDEN by Brett Battles.

Most interesting book of the month I will give to The Same Blood by M. Azmitia, for the simple reason that it was good, yet very far out of the norm for me in virtually everything about it – particularly with it being a long form narrative poem.

I only read one book that was remotely humorous in tone, so funniest book of the month goes to #SecondCivilWar – Letters: Letters from America’s Second Civil War by U. Ray Moran (a pen name of a friend for this effort, though I’ll not reveal who it is). If you’re already sick of politics and political news and 2018 Election coverage, this book is for you.

Overall best book of the month, I think I’m going to have to give to The Space Between by Dete Meserve. It was simply a very wild ride, and I loved the fact that a female NASA scientist got to play a lead role, even if her job wasn’t the main plot of the book.

Below the break, the entire list, in date completed order – with links to my Goodreads reviews of each.
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