Named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews
A New York Times Editor’s Choice
Nautilus Award Winner
“A worthy and necessary addition to the contemporary canon of civil rights literature.” —New York Times
In this “thought-provoking and important” (Library Journal) analysis of state-sanctioned violence, Marc Lamont Hill carefully considers a string of high-profile deaths in America—Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and others—and incidents of gross negligence by government, such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He digs underneath these events to uncover patterns and policies of authority that allow some citizens become disempowered, disenfranchised, poor, uneducated, exploited, vulnerable, and disposable. To help us understand the plight of vulnerable communities, he examines the effects of unfettered capitalism, mass incarceration, and political power while urging us to consider a new world in which everyone has a chance to become somebody. Heralded as an essential text for our times, Marc Lamont Hill’s galvanizing work embodies the best traditions of scholarship, journalism, and storytelling to lift unheard voices and to address the necessary question, “how did we get here?"
Hill, a journalist and a professor of African-American studies at Morehouse College, places recent incidents of police violence against African-Americans in their historical and geographical contexts. The outrage over constant tragedy gathers momentum as what might once have been local matters become highly publicized events. Places such as Ferguson, Mo., Sanford, Fla., and Hempstead, Tex., and victims such as Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Kathryn Johnston, have become familiar nationwide through media exposure. Hill critiques the intended and unintended consequences of various policies: the expanding discretionary power, performance requirements, and militarization of the police; mass incarceration, often the consequence of mandatory minimum sentences or indeterminate sentencing leading to the wide use of plea bargaining; the disproportionate imposition of public-nuisance laws, and "broken windows" and stop-and-frisk policies, on African-Americans; and the outgrowth of state-sponsored exploitation of African-Americans for economic gain, evidenced by privatized prisons, the bail bond business, the use of fines in funding local police department budgets, and housing practices that created ghettos of poverty. Hill's work is valuable in rendering individual lives with empathy but without sanctification as he assesses the historical, sociological, and statistical milieu of these casualties in a lucid, highly readable book.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great book! So happy I read this
Marc does a great job with connecting the "past" with the "present", showing the similarities in behaviors in our political system. I found myself highlighting more than usual and leaving bookmarks every few pages so that I could refer back to them. I could not wait til I got my hands on a copy of this book. I am more than pleased with what was written. Political writing at its best would be my only way to really sum it up. It Points a flashlight directly at the problem we are facing
Very informative, excellent, well written, thoroughly researched piece of work by Dr. Hill. Highly recommend.
"Nobody" knows the trouble we've seen...
A provoking message that lays out the clear case for addressing the modern plight of the poor, oppressed and marginalized. This book becomes a living document that will enlighten many and re-ignite one's spirit to be moved from disgust and despair to organized action against systemic oppression. Marc Lamont Hill's research and premises in NOBODY have taken us from the sorrowful and painful lament of identified tragedies of our time to uplift and re-author the narrative of an overlooked (and invisible) people that will not be erased.