Cuz: Book Review


Danielle Allen’s thoughtful recounting of her cousin’s life and death, in and out of prison, is a fascinating read as a memoir. She goes beyond the storytelling, however, to delve deeper into the social, racial, and criminal justice systems that shaped his life.

In particular, she paints a detailed picture of the damage done to the country and, especially, to the black community by the War on Drugs, explaining that”The illegal drug economy overburdens our judicial system, increases prosecutorial workloads, and drives down homicide clearance rates, leading to a phase shift in levels of violence in urban areas.”

On a personal level, Allen provides an unflinching look at how and why her path in life and her cousin’s path diverged.

I found this book especially compelling because of my own experiences with family members in the criminal justice system, but its rich storytelling will make it a good read for anyone.

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