In the introduction to Blood in the Water, historian Heather Ann Thompson worries about reopening old wounds. Is it right to ask those who experienced the Attica Prison Uprising--the hellish living conditions of the inmates, their rebellion and the ensuing crisis, the state's violent crackdown and subsequent coverup--to relive those traumas? Can a wound be reopened that has, by design, never been allowed to heal?
A meticulously researched and expertly written account of justice denied, Blood in the Water is by turns a painful, engrossing, heartbreaking and enraging read. As this summer's prison strikes have illustrated, the wound that Attica represents is still very much in need of treatment. To that end, Thompson's book is an indispensable resource.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is not only a brilliant historian (she wrote “An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States”), but was also an avid gun enthusiast and belonged to an armed underground group. Who better to write a book arguing that the second amendment and white supremacy are inextricably bound, and that the mainstream gun debate is just a dichotomy between two red herrings? This book is going to make people on both sides of the gun debate uncomfortable, and it is a necessary discomfort.
I thought this was a concise, accessible read. If you already own a dog-eared copy of "Are Prisons Obsolete?" or have a pen pal through Black and Pink, then this book will be preaching to the choir. However, if you have no idea what those things are but do think that there must be a better way of handling social problems than just sending the police in, this book is a great place to start.