It was the eighties and everything was about making money. Reaganomics gave the promise that everyone could be rich with some smarts and initiative. So what were poor African-Americans using as their method to achieve this American Dream? Crack.

With a 40% unemployment rate for African-American teenagers in 1984, there weren’t any other ways to get rich quick in the poor neighborhoods where most lived. There was definitely no shortage of buyers. However, once the gangs moved in and took over crack sales, the homicide rate of those same teenage boys skyrocketed. The only way to expand their market was by taking over some other gang’s territory—usually involving extensive bloodshed on both gangs’ part.

Interesting and important information about both the Crack epidemic and the cocaine one that preceded it. However, it is very “academically” presented. While that makes sense considering the publisher, just be aware that this is an incredibly well-researched study and not a pop-culture type book. 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Cambridge University Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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