Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America

Geoffrey Canada

Brought up on the streets of the South Bronx, where learning to fight was simply a matter of survival, Geoffrey Canada knows about street violence firsthand. When crack and handguns flooded the inner cities in the ‘80s, violence spiraled out of control, becoming a deadly epidemic. Determined to provide some hope for the future, Canada has returned to the ghetto as a Harvard-educated adult to teach children’s strategies for survival: Hit the ground—sound advice when someone is pointing a gun in your direction but you are not the primary target. Not a bad test question for use in our urban schools:When someone points a gun in your direction but doesn’t want to shoot you in particular, you should
a) run into the nearest building.
b) yell and scream and run away.
c) stand still.
d) hit the ground
Each week, another innocent child is shot while amateur gunmen blast away at targets real and imagined. It’s a sad state of affairs in this country when as they enter kindergarten our children need to be taught not only the ABCs but more importantly what to do when they hear shots or see people pointing guns. NN

Publisher: Beacon
Hardback: 224 pages

Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder

Aram Saroyan

May-September husband and wife Andrea Claire and Robert Sand seemed to have a happy marriage until wheelchair-bound Sand was found murdered in their Palm Springs house. Soon any illusion that they and their marriage had been anything other than utterly bizarre was shattered. First, information came out that Andrea had worked as a call-girl, her husband had been a client, and the essential nature of their relationship had not changed since the marriage and had included SM role-playing. Under investigation by the police, Andrea began to report attacks by people she claimed were associates of her late husband, in which she would receive scratches to her body, and knives would be inserted in her rectum. Then followed a murderous attack on her new boyfriend. Brought to trial for her husband’s death, her defense turned on the question of her sanity after a lifetime of abuse. Fascinating tale of the grotesque which lurks behind the manicured lawns of suburbia. NN

Publisher: Barricade
Hardback: 366 pages

The Riverman: Ted Bundy and the Hunt for the Green River Killer

Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D.

The Pacific Northwest has more than its share of serial murderers, and Robert D. Keppel has been involved in the search for many of them, including Ted Bundy and the elusive Green River Killer, as well as consulting on other high-profile cases including the Atlanta child murders. Once Bundy was behind bars Keppel spent hours interviewing him to gain insight into the mind of a killer who hunted humans. In a tale stranger than The Silence of the Lambs, Keppel describes how while on death row Bundy became an important part of the task force whose job it was to find the Green River Killer, and how he shared important information with investigators right up to the eve of his execution. NN

Publisher: Pocket
Paperback: 475 pages

The Mystery Religions and Christianity

Samuel Angus

Mystery religions were a feature of the Greek and Roman worlds at a time when those societies were becoming increasingly multicultural due to the expansion of economic and political empires. These religions were a reaction to the mixing of cultures and the exposure of previously isolated communities to the possibility of many different belief systems—and thus many different gods—which raised the question: How could one be sure that one’s own god was the right one, or the most powerful? Mystery religions were characterized by the hedging of bets, the incorporation of aspects of many religions as well as magic in the face of a myriad of choices. The author contends that these religions had an early and lasting influence on the Christian Church. NN

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 359 pages

Macho Sluts

Pat Califia

Short stories with the theme of (mostly) lesbian SM. Subjects range from the family that is a little more disciplined than most, to an unusual test of a new partner’s mettle: “I want a gang, a pack, a bunch of tough and experienced top women. I’ll leave the exact number up to you, but I don’t want just a threesome in warm leatherette. I would rather it not be women Roxanne already knows. And no novices, they would just get in the way. Once you get that group together I want to give them Roxanne, and if she makes me proud I want her to belong to me, wear my rings. If she still wants me. She might decide it’s too much, or maybe she’ll tumble for one of the other tops.” NN

Publisher: Alyson
Paperback: 298 pages

The Marquis de Sade: A New Biography

Donald Thomas

“De Sade’s greatest crime, in the view of posterity, was the creation of a fictional world whose cruelty and sexual extravagance were a libel upon the society in which he lived. The truth was that the leaders of that society, in the name of moral example, devised the most ingenious forms of judicial cruelty and paid men well for inflicting them on other men and women, while crowds looked on as if at a circus of mortality. When de Sade was 17, Damiens was executed with satanic ingenuity for his attempt on the life of Louis XV. In the name of law and morality, the victim’s hair was seen to stand on end under such torment.”
Imprisoned for much of his adult life, less for his sexual transgressions than for embarrassing his in-laws, de Sade is remembered for the celebration of cruelty in his writings, and has an entire proclivity named after him. Yet as a citizen judge after the French Revolution he risked his own life in opposition to the death penalty. This biography looks at de Sade the man, in the context of his time, and evaluates without sensationalism his legacy. NN

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 326 pages

Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps

Emmett Grogan

During the Summer of Love, the Diggers combined street theater and thievery to feed the hoards who had made their way to San Francisco, tantalizing the media who wished to pigeonhole their activities and most of all to find out about their mysterious spokesman Emmet Grogan. In his autobiography Grogan reveals all, although one suspects this master trickster is being selective and creative in his revelations. From playing ringolevio (an elaborate and violent game of tag) on the streets of New York, to teen-junkiedom, cat burglary, life on lam in Europe, and a brief stint with the IRA, to his arrival in San Francisco in the mid-’60s, Emmet Grogan’s is a life lived on the liminal edge of society. NN

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 500 pages

A Time To Die: The Attica Prison Revolt

Tom Wicker

Wicker was at Attica, invited by the prisoners, along with Bobby Seales, William Kunstler and others, to be an observer to the hostage negotiations. He experienced first-hand the initial elation of the prisoners who felt they had beaten the system, the churning fear of notorious D yard, and the terror and anger of the townspeople and guards. A novelist and respected journalist, Wicker writes of the background to the siege, including a potted history of the American penal system and the conditions which existed in the prisons prior to the 1971 revolt. Finally, A Time To Die describes the bloody ending to the revolt, and its aftermath which included vicious reprisals against the inmates by the prison’s guards. NN

Publisher: University of Nebraska
Paperback: 342 pages

JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot To Assassinate John F. Kennedy

L. Fletcher Prouty

“Colonel Prouty… sets the stage for Dallas in all its horror. He explains the true inner myth of our most staged public execution, the ‘Reichstag Fire’ of our era, behind whose proscenium, blinded by the light of surface-event television, the power of the throne was stolen and exchanged by bloody hands. He shows us that Kennedy was removed, fundamentally, because he threatened the ‘system’ far too dangerously. Colonel Prouty shows us the Oswald cover story and how it has successfully to this day, my movie notwithstanding, blinded the American public to the truth of its own history.” Alternative history source material for Oliver Stone’s JFK, from the hereforeto anonymous “X.” Thrill to a wide-ranging and nearly all-encompassing conspiracy theory that goes far beyond the JFK assassination. NN

Publisher: Birch Lane
Hardback: 366 pages

Hillbillyland: What the Movies Did to the Mountains and What the Mountains Did to the Movies

J. W. Williamson

“The hillbilly lives not only in hills but on the rough edge of the economy, wherever that happens to land him. Meanwhile, in the normative heart of the economy, where the middle class strives and where cartoon hillbillies and other comic rural characters have entertained us on a regular basis since at least the mid-1800s, we take secret pleasure in the trashing of hallowed beliefs and sacred virtues—not to mention hygiene. Secret pleasure is guilty pleasure, and guilt begs containment. So we have made the hillbilly safely dismissible, a left-behind remnant, a symbolic nonadult and willful renegade from capitalism.”
The authors examine the hillbilly in American culture from European folkloric antecedents to hillbillies as portrayed in such movies as Stark Love, Sergeant York, Davy Crockett, Deliverance, Raising Arizona, and Crocodile Dundee and in such TV in shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Andy Griffith Show. NN

Publisher: University of North Carolina
Paperback: 325 pages