Named one of the most important nonfiction books of the 21st century by Entertainment Weekly‚ Slate‚ Chronicle of Higher Education‚ Literary Hub, Book Riot‚ and Zora
A tenth-anniversary edition of the iconic bestseller—"one of the most influential books of the past 20 years," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education—with a new preface by the author
"It is in no small part thanks to Alexander's account that civil rights organizations such as Black Lives Matter have focused so much of their energy on the criminal justice system."
—Adam Shatz, London Review of Books
Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S."
Now, ten years after it was first published, The New Press is proud to issue a tenth-anniversary edition with a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you think you know the history of civil rights in America, you might want to prepare yourself—Michelle Alexander is about to blow your mind. In her landmark book, the celebrated civil-rights lawyer breaks down how the formal abolishment of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and segregation have given rise to new legal systems designed to make sure communities of color remain a permanent underclass. Alexander, a legal scholar with an impeccable understanding of the issues, backs up her ideas with a wealth of solid, easy-to-understand facts, such as how the wildly uneven enforcement of the war on drugs was specifically designed to target black Americans with criminal convictions, shutting them out of the processes that shape society. The New Jim Crow will make you mad—furious, even—but it will also make you want to act.
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that "e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as "a system of social control" ("More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850"). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the "war on drugs." She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates "who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits." Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: "most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration" but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.