What We Are Reading Today: Good Kids, Bad City by Kyle Swenson

Updated 08 March 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Good Kids, Bad City by Kyle Swenson

  • The book tells the story of a man who ended up in jail for a crime that he did not commit

From award-winning investigative journalist Kyle Swenson, Good Kids, Bad City is the true story of the longest wrongful imprisonment in the United States to end in exoneration, and a critical social and political history of Cleveland, the city that convicted them.

“This is a book for anyone with a social consciousness,” said a review published in goodreads.com.

Another review added: “This book was hard to read, not because it was bad but because it is so hard to believe that things such as these stories told in this book are ones that are still happening in the world today.”

The book tells the story of a man who ended up in jail for a crime that he did not commit and the stories behind the city, the people, and the reasons why it happened and why it took almost 40 years for him to be release.

In a review published in The Washington Post, Mark Whitaker said Good Kids, Bad City “is a powerful addition to the growing literature on the failures of America’s criminal justice system, particularly in dealing with African American men.”

Whitaker added: “But it is also a gripping, novelistic account of what happened to the three defendants and their lone accuser after the convictions, a frank confession of the methods and emotions of an obsessed reporter, and a poignant meditation on the dark side of Cleveland and what became of that once-proud embodiment of Midwestern virtues that allowed this travesty to happen.”


What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe by Sheri Berman

Updated 21 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe by Sheri Berman

In Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe, Sheri Berman traces the long history of democracy in its cradle, Europe. 

In her study of European political development over more than 200 years, Berman, a professor of political science at Barnard, shows that the story of democracy in Europe is complicated. 

“The ultimate goal, she believes, is liberal democracy, with elections, respect for the rule of law, individual liberties and minority rights. But that is a rare, and hard-won, achievement. A step forward is often followed by a step back,”  said Max Strasser in a review published in The New York Times.

“This may seem a bit obvious to anyone familiar with the broad outlines of European history, but Berman makes the case clearly and convincingly. Moreover, at a moment when hyperventilating over the decline of democracy has grown into a veritable intellectual industry, her long-view approach comes across as appealingly sober,” Strasser added.