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A gripping tale of personal revolution by a man who went from Crips co-founder to Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and antigang activist When his L.A. neighborhood was threatened by gangbangers, Stanley Tookie Williams and a friend formed the Crips, but what began as protection became worse than the original gangs. From deadly street fights with their rivals to drive-b A gripping tale of personal revolution by a man who went from Crips co-founder to Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and antigang activist When his L.A. neighborhood was threatened by gangbangers, Stanley Tookie Williams and a friend formed the Crips, but what began as protection became worse than the original gangs. From deadly street fights with their rivals to drive-by shootings and stealing cars, the Crips' influence -- and Tookie's reputation -- began to spread across L.A. Soon he was regularly under police surveillance, and, as a result, was arrested often, though always released because the charges did not stick. But in 1981, Tookie was convicted of murdering four people and was sent to death row at San Quentin in Marin County, California. Tookie maintained his innocence and began to work in earnest to prevent others from following his path. Whether he was creating nationwide peace protocols, discouraging adolescents from joining gangs, or writing books, Tookie worked tirelessly for the rest of his life to end gang violence. Even after his death, his legacy continues, supported by such individuals as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Snoop Dogg, Jesse Jackson, and many more. This posthumous edition of Blue Rage, Black Redemption features a foreword by Tavis Smiley and an epilogue by Barbara Becnel, which details not only the influence of Tookie's activism but also her eyewitness account of his December 2005 execution, and the inquest that followed. By turns frightening and enlightening, Blue Rage, Black Redemption is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and an invaluable lesson in how rage can be turned into redemption.


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A gripping tale of personal revolution by a man who went from Crips co-founder to Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and antigang activist When his L.A. neighborhood was threatened by gangbangers, Stanley Tookie Williams and a friend formed the Crips, but what began as protection became worse than the original gangs. From deadly street fights with their rivals to drive-b A gripping tale of personal revolution by a man who went from Crips co-founder to Nobel Peace Prize nominee, author, and antigang activist When his L.A. neighborhood was threatened by gangbangers, Stanley Tookie Williams and a friend formed the Crips, but what began as protection became worse than the original gangs. From deadly street fights with their rivals to drive-by shootings and stealing cars, the Crips' influence -- and Tookie's reputation -- began to spread across L.A. Soon he was regularly under police surveillance, and, as a result, was arrested often, though always released because the charges did not stick. But in 1981, Tookie was convicted of murdering four people and was sent to death row at San Quentin in Marin County, California. Tookie maintained his innocence and began to work in earnest to prevent others from following his path. Whether he was creating nationwide peace protocols, discouraging adolescents from joining gangs, or writing books, Tookie worked tirelessly for the rest of his life to end gang violence. Even after his death, his legacy continues, supported by such individuals as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Snoop Dogg, Jesse Jackson, and many more. This posthumous edition of Blue Rage, Black Redemption features a foreword by Tavis Smiley and an epilogue by Barbara Becnel, which details not only the influence of Tookie's activism but also her eyewitness account of his December 2005 execution, and the inquest that followed. By turns frightening and enlightening, Blue Rage, Black Redemption is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and an invaluable lesson in how rage can be turned into redemption.

30 review for Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Williams was a veteran and a casualty of three wars - the war on drugs, the war on the poor, and the war on blacks - his memoirs are an all-too-familiar tale of systemic racism's toll on the urban black community. Although his romantic recollections have a tinge of chauvinism, he never seeks to justify his gangsterism, or excuse himself from the equation of circumstance. And while many presses are busying themselves turning out absurd moralistic tropes that advance the ethics of personal respons Williams was a veteran and a casualty of three wars - the war on drugs, the war on the poor, and the war on blacks - his memoirs are an all-too-familiar tale of systemic racism's toll on the urban black community. Although his romantic recollections have a tinge of chauvinism, he never seeks to justify his gangsterism, or excuse himself from the equation of circumstance. And while many presses are busying themselves turning out absurd moralistic tropes that advance the ethics of personal responsibility in complete denial of the question of race, Williams has managed to produce a work that is both redemptive and unapologetically critical of American race relations. Blue Rage, Black Redemption is powerful not because it intimates a unique story, but because it articulates such a common one. The unwritten conclusion was a state-sanctioned murder by 'Governor Terminator'. It was never Tookie that neeeded redemption, but the society that failed him so miserably.

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.M. Arnold

    This was my library’s February book club book. It is Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ memoir. Stanley is one of the co-founders of The Crips (a street gang in LA), and also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He penned this book while in prison, and it recounts his life from childhood up until his execution. I am glad the book started from the very beginning of his life—I think that’s important, because obviously a person doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to start a gang. He was very perceptive as This was my library’s February book club book. It is Stanley “Tookie” Williams’ memoir. Stanley is one of the co-founders of The Crips (a street gang in LA), and also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He penned this book while in prison, and it recounts his life from childhood up until his execution. I am glad the book started from the very beginning of his life—I think that’s important, because obviously a person doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to start a gang. He was very perceptive as a child. At a young age he could gauge whether or not what was being fed to him was bullshit. His mother’s attempts to get him on the right track as a kid failed I feel because they set off his BS detector. For example, her sending him to a white therapist in the city who had no grasp on what a black boy in South Central would think or feel. She also used religion to try to re-right him. In the churches she took him to, he noticed the pictures of a white Jesus on the walls, and how a mere touch from the right mortal person had members of the congregation writhing around on the floor and speaking in tongues…and again, he sensed the BS of it all. It's like he was too attuned with reality to be put at ease by false comfort. So he continued on down his same path of destruction. I think his naturally observant nature and ability to read people—and thus appeal to, speak to, and organize them—made him destined to be a leader. I think his overall awareness of people’s perception of him, his options, and his place in America—which was bleak—manifested as anger and made violence inclement. In another life, he could have been a different kind of leader instead of a gang leader. He did become the right kind of leader while in prison. It’s unfortunate that he never got to put it into practice back in his community. The whole thing is unfortunate, really. But at least he got to put it to paper. His teen years were filled with drug use, violence, crime, getting as “yoked” as possible, and women. The Crips started rather randomly, but gained momentum quick, and morphed into something bigger than he and his friends could have predicted. The inception was almost innocent, at least in terms of planning, but set into motion something with extreme reach and longevity. There’s one line that summed the formation up for me. Raymond and I shook hands then embraced. Finally I belonged to something. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I really know why people join gangs, cause I don’t, but I always kind of assumed this notion had something to do with why at least some people do. The sense of belonging and family. I’d also say it made him feel he had control over something, some power. Unfortunately, gang life eclipsed everything else. His sole existence at the time was Crip, and he wasn’t exactly afraid to die. He barreled through his teens and early twenties with a nothing to lose mentality, wreaking havoc and having havoc wreaked on him, watching friends get killed and almost getting killed himself on multiple occasions. He was well known by the streets and by law enforcement, and both had a target on his head at pretty much all times. Long story short, he ended up in San Quentin with an execution date. In our group someone mentioned that he seemed almost "braggy" about some of the bad things he did. Did he come across slightly braggadocios at times? Sure. But I think that’s human nature to brag when recounting the things you did in your youth, even the bad things (especially the bad things.) This was his life and he showcased it honestly by depicting the way debauchery was glorified by him and his friends. At the same time, he takes responsibly of this in his writing, and encourages others to not go down the path he did. Aside from the play-by-play of Crip related crime and violence, he provides social commentary of corrupt police officers and correctional facility workers who were playing their own games. I do not doubt the things he said happened to him in prison at the hands of the employees, nor do I doubt the story of cops picking up young Crips and dropping them off in rival gang territory to be murdered, among other things. It is in prison that the real reflection and inner change started to happen. I love that he turned to reading, writing, and making art in order to save his mind. I’m sure it is incredibly difficult to maintain sanity while imprisoned for years, and years, and years. And that’s without the people who made it their mission to make him lose his mind. They did not succeed. There were many great lines in the Redemption section that I would list if I had the book with me at the moment. But I will say Mr. Williams certainly imparted a lot of gems.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lori Tatar

    If you think you understand racism in the world, read this book. If you think you have your finger on the pulse of the inner city, read this book. If you think you know about gangs and violence, read this book. When you are done, understand that you will never completely understand.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joshi

    Stanley Tookie Williams, co-founder of the Crips gang, a violent man, convicted for four murders and sentenced to death. He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace price several times and also for the Nobel price in literature and wrote several books against gangs, drugs and crime and violence. I don't think that a goodreads review is the correct place to discuss whether or not he commited the crimes for which he was executed or whether or not his redemption is sincere. After reading this book, I c Stanley Tookie Williams, co-founder of the Crips gang, a violent man, convicted for four murders and sentenced to death. He was also nominated for the Nobel Peace price several times and also for the Nobel price in literature and wrote several books against gangs, drugs and crime and violence. I don't think that a goodreads review is the correct place to discuss whether or not he commited the crimes for which he was executed or whether or not his redemption is sincere. After reading this book, I can't say I'm entirely sure about the first one, but pretty sure about the second. And I don't base that on any religious merits, I couldn't care less for any criminal who claims that 'God redeemed' him, this man was behind bars for almost 25 years and through his writings has showcased a true change (In an environment that does not encourage any of the things he did, in his own words 'Death Row if constructed for punishment and execution, not for reform'). I don't know if he was involved in those four murders and I fear that case will never be solved with 100% certainty, but he did not deserve to executed. Not with all the uncertainties and controversies surrounding his trial. But Tookie's character was also a controversy and while reading this I never quite got over the fact that he was such a violent man and I feel like at times he seemed to shift the blame away from him too much. I realise how his upbringing and surroundings influenced him and others and how they definitely are victims of injustice, but in the end it was still him who commited all these violent acts. Nonetheless, this made his eventual redemption and change to non-violent advocate very powerful. But what about the book itself? As the name implies, it's split into two parts 'Blue Rage' (about his youth and young adulthood up until the point where he is sentenced to death) and 'Black Redemption' (Dealing with his change in prison). It's an in-depth look at the history of the Crips and bloods, poverty in Los Angeles and the problems of America's prison system. Tookie was a very good writer and I found his language to be grounded but also of a high quality. I think that this book should also be a must read for anyone into hip hop, especially fans of 90s West Coast rap. It really puts into perspective the gang pride of 90s Los Angeles and serves as a somewhat sobering counterpoint to the glorification of gang violence in gangsta rap. A violence that shook even Tookie, as it probably came to it's peak in the 1990s (when Tookie was on the streets, fists were the main means of violence, when he had already been incarcerated for 10 years guns had become omnipresent). In my opinion this is a very important and very powerful book which is also proven by the numerous quotes from gang bangers, CO's, students and teachers all thanking Tookie for his work in the beginning of this book. Was he a saint? Hell no, far from it, but I think he really wanted to prevent others from following his foot steps and at least try to atone for some of his sins. Has he redeemed himself? I don't know, if he truly did commit those murders I don't think he ever could...but I do not believe that he (or any other human) should be killed for 'justice'. I had actually written down quite a few quotes from the book, but the one that moved me the most actually comes from the Epilogue by Barbara Becnel (who witnessed his execution). At a hearing on the humanity of the lethal injection, a veterinarian was also present. "The veterinarian said that he would never euthanize a dog or cat using the lethal injection protocol California had approved for use on humans. When asked why, he said:'Because I have ethics and standards' He went on to say that he would never use drugs that he was virtually assured would cause an animal great pain and suffering as it died."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dajuan H.

    I think this will inspire many people who were or still are with that gang banging stuff because he learned his lesson toward the end and tried to fix his problems before it was to late

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nabhan

    Back in 8th grade I began to join local gangs for the same reason the crips was formed, protection for the weak against other violent gangsters. Unfortunately, the taste of power sometimes causes even the humble one to bend his virtues and this is what happened to the crips. This is what I saw happening to me, and this what happens to most kids who decide to join gangs. Minor disagreements turning into fights.. If it wasn't for this book, I would not have understood, at a young age, the conseque Back in 8th grade I began to join local gangs for the same reason the crips was formed, protection for the weak against other violent gangsters. Unfortunately, the taste of power sometimes causes even the humble one to bend his virtues and this is what happened to the crips. This is what I saw happening to me, and this what happens to most kids who decide to join gangs. Minor disagreements turning into fights.. If it wasn't for this book, I would not have understood, at a young age, the consequences that my actions would have on my family and the society. Development of course involves a process of learning and improvement, and children can only learn when others are there to support them, like parents, teachers and siblings. For many, it has been Tookie who was the support. I do not however sympathize him, nor am I with the people who once protested to get Tookie out of jail. I am however glad that him landing in prison started a series of events which would lead him onto being a more learned, mature, thoughtful, and a humble man, and later on a noble peace prize nominee. This book indeed instilled good knowledge into the minds of "at risk" teens and adolescents and probably caused hundreds and thousands of them to walk on the right path.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sloth Robinson

    Insightful look into the co-founder of the notorious Crips, Stanley 'Tookie' Williams' path to redemption. It was rather sad knowing what Tookie's outcome was whilst reading this book. It was a powerful read, and one of great magnitude in my eyes. A hardcore thug who turned his life around on Death Row: educating himself and becoming conscientious of his past actions. Tookie's story is incredible in that he truly did transform himself into a better man. I was really moved towards the end of the b Insightful look into the co-founder of the notorious Crips, Stanley 'Tookie' Williams' path to redemption. It was rather sad knowing what Tookie's outcome was whilst reading this book. It was a powerful read, and one of great magnitude in my eyes. A hardcore thug who turned his life around on Death Row: educating himself and becoming conscientious of his past actions. Tookie's story is incredible in that he truly did transform himself into a better man. I was really moved towards the end of the book, especially when I reflected back through his life, and realised how somehow against all those odds he managed to flourish like that. He had repented several times over, which makes the outcome even more tragic – Tookie was a product of American society's failure to see races as equal, and later on in life, a corrupt and ethically flawed legal system.

  8. 5 out of 5

    HTHI Reads

    "It's about Stanley Tookie Williams' life in prison. He meets his son and relates his life story to his son. If you are into books that show someone changing over time, you will like it." --Christian (Spring '15) *****

  9. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    This book made me want to join a gang

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donna Marino

    This memoir is extremely powerful in its message and content. Many of Williams descriptions of events are gut-wrenching and graphic. Readers cannot deny the need and worth of his message. However, throughout the work, I questioned Williams' identification of his audience. To whom is he speaking? He claims to be reaching out to the youth of his community, but many of his language choices, analogies, and references would never be understood by that audience. Williams discusses the painstaking edit This memoir is extremely powerful in its message and content. Many of Williams descriptions of events are gut-wrenching and graphic. Readers cannot deny the need and worth of his message. However, throughout the work, I questioned Williams' identification of his audience. To whom is he speaking? He claims to be reaching out to the youth of his community, but many of his language choices, analogies, and references would never be understood by that audience. Williams discusses the painstaking editing he had to endure for his children's books due to his tendency to tap into his vast knowledge of the dictionary, but I would argue that he needed to undergo the same feat here. Sometimes, his language reaches the level of pomposity. As readers shake their heads over an overblown word choice, his message weakens. The focus is the word, not the theme. Furthermore, readers must question the feasibility of his message. A young Williams would have never gotten past the first chapter of this work let alone been able to apply his steps toward empowerment. First, it is difficult to imagine South Central's black youth carrying around dictionaries by which they would learn a new word a day. Secondly, how are they supposed to implement a treatise of peace when they believe themselves unworthy of that power. The nature of the marginalized that Williams does eloquently describe does not allow readers to embrace the possibility of implementing his peace accord. Finally, I found myself repeatedly asking how Williams could have remembered the events he describes in such detail. How was it possible for him to remember all of the people who were present at certain events? Unless he kept a detailed journal, it is not humanly possible to have retained some much detail, especially under the influence of mind-altering drugs. I recommend this work for its descriptions of the nature of the marginalized, I would caution readers to expect a sense of disbelief in many of the personal depictions of events.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carson Lininger

    I was surprised on how much I enjoyed this book. It tells a great autobiography of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who was a co-leader of the Crips. It was well written and I loved the multiple perspectives of the book. Tookie really gave it all he had when he wrote this and didn't leave anything behind. The book has two parts to it "Blue Rage", which was his early days of him being ignorant to the crimes he was doing and this discusses how the Crips ended up becoming a gang. The second part "Black I was surprised on how much I enjoyed this book. It tells a great autobiography of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who was a co-leader of the Crips. It was well written and I loved the multiple perspectives of the book. Tookie really gave it all he had when he wrote this and didn't leave anything behind. The book has two parts to it "Blue Rage", which was his early days of him being ignorant to the crimes he was doing and this discusses how the Crips ended up becoming a gang. The second part "Black Redemption", was him trying to redeem himself for what he did. That's one of the many things I like about this book, the fact that it has two different perspectives gave the book something new that I really don't see. This book is impressive in how it was written by someone who was a co-leader of the Crips, because many people in Death Row don't spend their last days wisely. It was a shame that he was executed, but I understand why he was. This book made people who read it think about how your actions can change someone else's entire life and possibly your own, so hopefully if you were going down the same route Tookie was it would make you think twice before doing something that isn't worth it. As a student in high school I never been someone to start any trouble, but I've been around a lot of it. This book helped me set my priorities and helped me build my character, it also helped me understand why people join street gangs and start rivalries with other people. In conclusion, this book game me a whole new perspective on life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Black Carrie

    A powerful , supreme , surprising, eye opening read. Page after page I was yelling for a young tookie to do the right thing , do the right thing. It's a shame he did not truly get to find himself or grow out of the thug faze to be a better man. He destroyed many lives including his own so the title of the book is VERY FITTING. young took was smart and dumb at the same time (pre San Quentin ). I was surprised Johnny Cochran was his lawyer before the murder conviction maybe he wouldn't be in jail. A powerful , supreme , surprising, eye opening read. Page after page I was yelling for a young tookie to do the right thing , do the right thing. It's a shame he did not truly get to find himself or grow out of the thug faze to be a better man. He destroyed many lives including his own so the title of the book is VERY FITTING. young took was smart and dumb at the same time (pre San Quentin ). I was surprised Johnny Cochran was his lawyer before the murder conviction maybe he wouldn't be in jail. It's amazing how detailed the book was from younger years, school to school , gang to gang, name to name. I went to 2 of the schools he mentioned. I really hated the younger tookie he was anti everything & heartless..... I felt so sad when he went to jail he went through so much they really tried to strip his power , mind , and strength. Besides the brutality from the cops his own people did him wrong too screw that snitching ASS dude Samuel smh. He had no help , no money , no one on his side to get him out of such an ordeal. Growing up if he had just the right push and desire to learn he could've been the saving grace for alot of boys who wanted to be the super crip. He put the hood before everything only to be abandoned in the long run. So many friends of his died I'm surprised he didn't have PTSD.... I WISH HE WOULD'VE TALKED ABOUT THE ATTACK FROM TERQUION LIL FEE COX... BUT THAT WAS LEFT OUT. I wanted to hear from his wife too... It's sad he's no longer here I believe he did crimes but not the capital murder one and I pray the real killers are found.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “Blue rage, Black redemption” is a autobiography about the life of a GangBanger. Stanley T. Williams goes through his life story in the book by writing down his letters from the penitentiary, Williams writes about his childhood and struggles of living in L.A where gangs arise and It feels like the police aren’t on your side. Williams is Co-founder of Crips in LA, His trial brought attention to him as The state was trying for a death penalty of him. He reflects on his first shoot outs and being a “Blue rage, Black redemption” is a autobiography about the life of a GangBanger. Stanley T. Williams goes through his life story in the book by writing down his letters from the penitentiary, Williams writes about his childhood and struggles of living in L.A where gangs arise and It feels like the police aren’t on your side. Williams is Co-founder of Crips in LA, His trial brought attention to him as The state was trying for a death penalty of him. He reflects on his first shoot outs and being a witness to many crimes and growing accustomed to the life of killing. Williams turning point in life was when he was behind bars, His story brings reflection and realization of his past life and growing from it, In a way Williams wrote his story to tell to others that Gangs aren’t for everyone and aren’t a joke. He lost his case and died by a leathal injection. Stanley T. Williams found himself culturally, spiritually and shared his mistakes with the world so they can learn.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shawnda M.

    I will say this was not one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and I struggled with the author's way of writing. It was informative and it did hold my attention enough to finish the story. I learned a lot of things I had no idea about and our book club discussion on this story was a good one. I like to read books like this to see the other side of every story because there are always two sides and we should never judge until we know the whole story and understand what others are goi I will say this was not one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and I struggled with the author's way of writing. It was informative and it did hold my attention enough to finish the story. I learned a lot of things I had no idea about and our book club discussion on this story was a good one. I like to read books like this to see the other side of every story because there are always two sides and we should never judge until we know the whole story and understand what others are going through.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chad Montabon

    I really enjoyed this. Firstly, it is a fairly complete history of the Crips, secondly it is a very quickly paced read with a lot of interesting asides. It is very self serving, and since I am not likely to fact check most of it, score one for Stanley 'Tookie' Williams. I was unaware of some of the names that were involved. There are a few points that made me laugh. When he makes the assertion that labeling him 'gang affiliated' was 'ludicrous' - that made me laugh. The story about an inmate defili I really enjoyed this. Firstly, it is a fairly complete history of the Crips, secondly it is a very quickly paced read with a lot of interesting asides. It is very self serving, and since I am not likely to fact check most of it, score one for Stanley 'Tookie' Williams. I was unaware of some of the names that were involved. There are a few points that made me laugh. When he makes the assertion that labeling him 'gang affiliated' was 'ludicrous' - that made me laugh. The story about an inmate defiling another's food also made me laugh.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dave Rogg

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is an amazing story of redemption. I was really sad reading it knowing that he was going to be executed. I really don't know what to say. I am feeling a lot of emotions having just finished this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kingpen

    This is a gripping coming-of-age / cautionary tale to which many African-American youths can relate. A must read!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jess Gotsch

    A long book but well-worth it. The story itself is fascinating. I especially appreciated the second half, the "insider's" perspective on our criminal justice system as well as a look at the internal mental process of someone who turns their life around for the better. Stan's story gives me a lot of hope!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roy

    Stanley Tookie Williams the author of this book grew up in a humble house hold. Although he grew up this kind of house hold right outside of his front door was a hostile environment full of violence and things no child should ever witness. At a very young age Tookie was introduced to many forms of violence, drugs, addicts, and poverty. He grew up watching people gamble, sell and take drugs, shootings, fights, and more. All of this seemed to interest Tookie's young mind. He seen everyone around h Stanley Tookie Williams the author of this book grew up in a humble house hold. Although he grew up this kind of house hold right outside of his front door was a hostile environment full of violence and things no child should ever witness. At a very young age Tookie was introduced to many forms of violence, drugs, addicts, and poverty. He grew up watching people gamble, sell and take drugs, shootings, fights, and more. All of this seemed to interest Tookie's young mind. He seen everyone around him doing these things and it slowly influenced him. Things sort of went down hill from there. He started doing mischievous things with his friends like breaking objects on the street, frighting, dog fighting, and more. He was relentlessly beaten by his mother because of bad behavior. Nothing she did work only because he felt those are the things he had to do to survive in this hostile neighborhood. Blue Rage, Black Redemption was written in a first person view and it allowed me as a reader to see how his past affected his future. In the book he talked about how the neighborhood he lived in had a huge affect on his life which it did. Although his mom was a saint her goodness had no affect nor could have saved Tookie from becoming whats he had became. I was like the street life was a easy life for him to live. Tookie found the streets to be interesting but yet ruthless, he knew if you weren't doing something involving violence he would be an easy target for others to pick on. With the streets as his focus one thing led to another and he just got caught up in everything even the system. All the things he has been through led up to the creation of the gang "crip." After reading the whole book it gave me the thought that anyone can change even the worst of them. The purpose of Tookie writing this book was to show those going down his path that is not the life to live. They should just go and take the negative energy they have and make it positive. Though out Tookie's time in jail he reflected upon his life and were it led him and because of his status hes able to spread a positive word to youths of his kind and they will listen because they can relate to his story. I felt the moral of Tookie telling his story was to show that anyone can change.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nalissa

    Blue Rage, Black Redemption was a book of a young black man, growing up in an unstable enviroment, poverty, and violence. Tookie Williams is a boy struggling to find a place where he belongs. As he grows up and learns more about street life and experiencing gangs in school, and drugs. He is adapting to the lifestyle that he see's. Soon, he is smoking, inhaling, and cutting school. He became a disruption and bad influence on other students and was constantly being banned from a school. Each scho Blue Rage, Black Redemption was a book of a young black man, growing up in an unstable enviroment, poverty, and violence. Tookie Williams is a boy struggling to find a place where he belongs. As he grows up and learns more about street life and experiencing gangs in school, and drugs. He is adapting to the lifestyle that he see's. Soon, he is smoking, inhaling, and cutting school. He became a disruption and bad influence on other students and was constantly being banned from a school. Each school, different experiences and different gangs. He had a reputation for fighting and wanted to be undefeated. When he met friends, they decided to make a group, but he did not like gangs at the time. Tookie wanted a family. Thats when him and his good friend Raymond had started the soon to be most dangerous and undefeated gang in history, the Crips. Gangbanging became his life. He strived to be most biggest in strength and have the worst repueation. He wanted to spread the Crip nation as big as he possibly could. Tookie had been arrested a couple of times. But his last time destroyed him. He always witnessed racism growing up, and in jail it was worse. They would drug him and beat him so when he awoke from his sleep he would feel the pain. Everyone knew who he was, he was feared. He was put on death row for being accused of many murders, and his ex-friend was made a deal, if he had came clean about Tookie's convictions then he would be set to a lesser term in jail. He was scared, it was his first time being locked up so he had ratted on his friend to help himself.Thats what started the revovling of Tookie's mission to create peace. He realized the way he lived isnt the life he wants to see youth live. Tookie is a well known legend around the world. He is known to have started the most dangerous gang ever in history. He always is respected for the change he made in his life. He started with anger, violence and hatred, and ended his life with only wanting peace and a better life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Tookie is a tremendously courageous individual. He was fearless throughout his life, but in many different ways. I cannot express my respect and admiration for him in words, so I will use a variety of quotes from BLBR to describe him: "We wanted to kick the door wide open so any imprisoned black man could enter and begin to initiate a productive change within himself" (270), "Just because we exist around madness does not mean we have to function like mad dogs" (328), "Though it may be viewed by Tookie is a tremendously courageous individual. He was fearless throughout his life, but in many different ways. I cannot express my respect and admiration for him in words, so I will use a variety of quotes from BLBR to describe him: "We wanted to kick the door wide open so any imprisoned black man could enter and begin to initiate a productive change within himself" (270), "Just because we exist around madness does not mean we have to function like mad dogs" (328), "Though it may be viewed by many as illogical on my part, I envision freedom outside these forbidding walls... if not tangible freedom, then certainly in spirit" (337). Arguably the best part of this book is its ending in Tookie's perspective (it ends with an epilogue describing his execution, then a template for a gang cease-fire). Tookie meets his son for the first time in 23 years (in prison)--this interaction is metaphorical for the effects he had on many young people: one of "go forth and change, as a dynamic character, undergo a productive change." I love this perspective and I seek to embody it in my life (the idea that one is constantly changing and modifying). Tookie was a tremendous pacifist and underwent his own productive change, similar to Malcolm X in prison. I only wish he could have been granted clemency so he could be changing the world still--as Tavis Smiley states in the Foreword, "Ultimately, if we don't believe in redemption, we don't believe in America." The journey continues--Asante santa and moto ndani.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric Barber

    This was an incredibly surprising novel and was a true pleasure to read. Tookie, the author, offers an exceptionally fascinating history of his founding the infamous Crips gang with his friend, and the story is told with a wonderful articulate and highly erudite narrative. Tookie came from the ghetto of LA, with no education and describes his life and rise to gangsterism, but what is the most enlightening is his self discovery, renunciation of gangs and his self education while on death row. The m This was an incredibly surprising novel and was a true pleasure to read. Tookie, the author, offers an exceptionally fascinating history of his founding the infamous Crips gang with his friend, and the story is told with a wonderful articulate and highly erudite narrative. Tookie came from the ghetto of LA, with no education and describes his life and rise to gangsterism, but what is the most enlightening is his self discovery, renunciation of gangs and his self education while on death row. The memoir is a composite of the realities of racism in society and in the prison system, and is an excellent sociological analysis from someone who grew up in it, was a victim of its own viciousness, and then realizes that despite the institutionalized bigotry he is faced with, still has the opportunity to maintain control if his life and not capitulate to what he is faced with. However, if one were to be critical of an element of the book, it is the chapter about his meeting Winnie Mandela on death row. Although it must have been one hell of a revelation for him, being on death row, it is not a secret that she was guilty of her own version of gansterisms and ordered the death of people within her own organization and was extremely corrupt. Tookie was executed in San Quentin and his prolonged death was the cause of the evaluation of current death sentence practices in the US. This is a superb work, and a must read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miles Harrison

    Blue rage, Black redemption by Staley Tookie Williams is an memoir novel about his life. Ever since Tookie was a child he has been in trouble and it has carried over in the most of his life. The final days happen when he was sentenced to life on death row for the murder of four people. While in prison he described his life and what has happen in his life. There are a lot of things I like in the novel. The memoir of Stanley's life is a hard, gang life, and gritty type of memoir. There are certain Blue rage, Black redemption by Staley Tookie Williams is an memoir novel about his life. Ever since Tookie was a child he has been in trouble and it has carried over in the most of his life. The final days happen when he was sentenced to life on death row for the murder of four people. While in prison he described his life and what has happen in his life. There are a lot of things I like in the novel. The memoir of Stanley's life is a hard, gang life, and gritty type of memoir. There are certain things in the novel that I found that I have in comparing like that he liked to lift weight and for a period of his life he was a professional body builder and I like lifting weights but I would get to the point of body building. In the novel they were some serious scenes like when he got into fights or brawls inside of school. Although the book has had some entertaining fights scenes I didn't like when Tookie talk about times smoking marijuana or mixing any other drugs. In addition it is still sad that he still was imprisoned in jail for life. Despite all other things I would still see Tookie as a good person because he didn't mean to do harm its just that he was just overcome by the gangster lifestyle. I would recommend this novel because you could see the trails and tribulations that Tookie has gone through and see how jail has made him wiser than he was.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abdur

    I read the book Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir . This book was a great book. I always like to read books about people lives. In this book it was about the crip leader Stanley Tookie Williams. He was a troubled child and remained troubled throughout his life until he had went to jail and had turned himself around. He just talks about his life and his experiences that he had faced living in California and as the leader of a notorious gang. What I liked most about this book is how he went in I read the book Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir . This book was a great book. I always like to read books about people lives. In this book it was about the crip leader Stanley Tookie Williams. He was a troubled child and remained troubled throughout his life until he had went to jail and had turned himself around. He just talks about his life and his experiences that he had faced living in California and as the leader of a notorious gang. What I liked most about this book is how he went in depth and how much detail he had. He told so much about his life from when he was growing up to when he became older. He made me visualize how his neighborhood look and also the different things was happening to him. This made me interested in the book from the beginning. One thing that I didn't like was that he could had showed a little more action in the book. He was just talking he really didn't make me see some of the stuff he was talking bout. I will recommend this book to adults, kids in high school, and people in jail. I would do this because people need to know this story and its for mature people. Also, because its shows you how someone can turn their whole life around with a positive attitude.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Sasnett

    I am really eager to read this book. This was technically a Christmas gift for my husband but I think it will be the gift that keeps on giving. Anyone else read it yet? UPDATE-Ok finished this one. It was a mediocre read. He spends way too much time listing the various people he encounters as he is out "crippin' (his word no mine) and I just don't need a list of twenty people at gathering that resulted in a fight. Also he is very sketchy about many personal details. Like when he talking about rec I am really eager to read this book. This was technically a Christmas gift for my husband but I think it will be the gift that keeps on giving. Anyone else read it yet? UPDATE-Ok finished this one. It was a mediocre read. He spends way too much time listing the various people he encounters as he is out "crippin' (his word no mine) and I just don't need a list of twenty people at gathering that resulted in a fight. Also he is very sketchy about many personal details. Like when he talking about recovering from gunshots wounds (that almost left him paralyzed) he barely discusses his feelings-his introspection and self awareness seems to be missing. The epilogue by Barbara Becnel is the best part and when she discusses his execution I cried. You can tell Williams isn't a writer and he doesn't draw the reader in. But that is aside, his message is profound and it is almost like he focuses so hard on the anti-violence and anti-gang aspects of his goal in writing the book that style is rendered secondary.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiny ♥Hearts

    I found this book intriguing and better yet, the fact that a young man who grew up in poverty, street life and juggling gang life, to a man who writes childrens books and preaches everything about his life and what not to do, to prevent children from meeting the same fate as he did. Stanley 'tookie' Williams; although he was the co-founder for the crips, was a well respected leader and rolemodel for those who continue to struggle through the difficulties of race relations and poverty issues that I found this book intriguing and better yet, the fact that a young man who grew up in poverty, street life and juggling gang life, to a man who writes childrens books and preaches everything about his life and what not to do, to prevent children from meeting the same fate as he did. Stanley 'tookie' Williams; although he was the co-founder for the crips, was a well respected leader and rolemodel for those who continue to struggle through the difficulties of race relations and poverty issues that occur in south central LA. Where gangs populate the rural cities and police raids continue to follow. A read that should inspire many children who struggle with poverty and streetlife to never fall into the trap of black on black crime. If it means that one kid is off the street and out of ganglife, then I truly believe that Stanley 'Tookie' Williams has succeeded in his dream for redemption. I read this book exactly a year after I found out that he was sentenced to death by lethal injection on December 15th 2005.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Everyone should read this. The narrative on the black male experience in America, sadly, is an undertone of a lot of societal ills still imposing a hurdle to equality. It was amazing to read Tookie's words and hear his experiences which led to both the evolution of the notorious gangs of our modern era as well as the redemption of a man on death row facing racism and brutality as an inmate. Tookie is insightful directing the reader along his life path which ended too soon at the hands of the sta Everyone should read this. The narrative on the black male experience in America, sadly, is an undertone of a lot of societal ills still imposing a hurdle to equality. It was amazing to read Tookie's words and hear his experiences which led to both the evolution of the notorious gangs of our modern era as well as the redemption of a man on death row facing racism and brutality as an inmate. Tookie is insightful directing the reader along his life path which ended too soon at the hands of the state of California. Even his botched execution results in serious questions for, not only the death penalty, but for how we execute prisoners. This memoir is a must for anyone examining the makeup of the United States of America and its inherent racism, as well as the plight of the black experience within this system. Tookie's transformation, spiritually and as an activist for peace and the youth, continues to benefit humanity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Lucander

    A *** book for a ***** man. Not convinced he was guilty of the quad murder he was convicted of, but the fact is that Tookie was a lot of bad things and it caught up with him. This joins the long list of memoirs by gangbangers and locked-up African Americans but it doesn't quite stand above books like "Monster" and the like. It's a bit lengthy and the prose, though sometimes beautiful, is a bit pedestrian. The narrative gets a bit repetitive, lots of driving iron, gang stories, drugs, and womaniz A *** book for a ***** man. Not convinced he was guilty of the quad murder he was convicted of, but the fact is that Tookie was a lot of bad things and it caught up with him. This joins the long list of memoirs by gangbangers and locked-up African Americans but it doesn't quite stand above books like "Monster" and the like. It's a bit lengthy and the prose, though sometimes beautiful, is a bit pedestrian. The narrative gets a bit repetitive, lots of driving iron, gang stories, drugs, and womanizing. That said, there's some extraordinarily moving scenes - especially when he's making efforts to be a father behind bars. Humanity lost something the day he was executed. I hope the families of all who were wronged by Tookie in his life feel complete closure now because to me, he was worth more to us alive than dead - a testament to the power of transformation and to the potential of redemption.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samara Smith

    Let me start off by saying I'm a seventeen year old girl who doesn't know that much about the inner workings of gangs, thankfully. I decided to read this book because I have been on mission to expand my horizons and start reading more memoirs. So, I picked this one at random, and extremely grateful I do. It enlightened me on different world and time. Yet most importantly, it reminded that people can change. That one can do amazing things if try want to, no matter what they have done or where the Let me start off by saying I'm a seventeen year old girl who doesn't know that much about the inner workings of gangs, thankfully. I decided to read this book because I have been on mission to expand my horizons and start reading more memoirs. So, I picked this one at random, and extremely grateful I do. It enlightened me on different world and time. Yet most importantly, it reminded that people can change. That one can do amazing things if try want to, no matter what they have done or where they come from. It was well written and inspirational. When I began reading this book I thought the Stanley Tookie Williams was an awful person and wanted to know the story of why he decided to create this gang that bring harm to others as spread across the country and on the end found myself crying, finding it unfair that he died and had such a harsh death. Let's just say that this book is extremely thought provoking and will have you questioning the line between right and wrong.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I feel everyone should read this book this book explains Stanley Tookie Williams life story from beginning to end. First the story begins as Stanley was a crip co-founder and is soon to be getting a death sentence and you have to read the story too figure out why he is getting this sentence. But then that's barley the introduction when the actual story begins it explains how he grew up in a very dangerous environment with robberies, crime rates at its highest, and high growing gang violence and I feel everyone should read this book this book explains Stanley Tookie Williams life story from beginning to end. First the story begins as Stanley was a crip co-founder and is soon to be getting a death sentence and you have to read the story too figure out why he is getting this sentence. But then that's barley the introduction when the actual story begins it explains how he grew up in a very dangerous environment with robberies, crime rates at its highest, and high growing gang violence and as Stanley gets older he soon finds himself getting into the same situations he grew up seeing everyday. Stanley soon finds himself going from hood to hood then juvenile facilities to other juvenile facilities and then soon ends up with life in prison and on a death sentence. So if you enjoy history from the 1953 to 2005 time period where gang violence was extremely high you and anyone else who reads this will enjoy this book as much as I did

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