Praise for Angels with Dirty Faces

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“A brave, honest search for answers regarding incarceration.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A highly personalized and intimate portrait by a courageous writer who goes beyond clichés and platitudes. This book is a bracing, clear-eyed exploration of one of the most important issues of our time: the growing incarceration rate in the US, and the consequences of this for citizens both inside and outside prison walls.” — T.J. English, New York Times best-selling author of Where the Bodies Were Buried and The Westies

“This is a bold, beautiful, and absolutely necessary book, written with urgency and passion.” — Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

“I read Angels With Dirty Faces in one sitting, mesmerized by what Walidah Imarisha has accomplished: a daring dive into the real deal about why prisons don’t work, filled with love for hustlers, rebels, and the criminalized, imperfect survivors that the prison-industrial complex locks up. Written in such lyrical, fierce poetry it takes your breath away.” — Leah Lakshmi Piepzna- Samarasinha, editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities

Angels with Dirty Faces is a superbly written shocking, sensuous, sometimes sadistic and even scandalous binding of biographies struggling with the question: What does redemption actually mean? It is impossible for one to engage this work and not emerge on the other side profoundly affected.” — Sundiata Acoli, political prisoner

“Imarisha is looking deeply at the violence of prisons and the lives and impact of people who have engaged in violent acts with a love that never stops believing that we are more than the violence that structures our days. There is hope, love and honesty here. And a model for the conversations we need to have right now, right here in hell.” — Alexis Pauline Gumbs, transformative justice scholar and poet

“Walidah Imarisha relates the experiences of crime, punishment, and victimization, not as abstractions, but as lived human tragedies. She shows us how they diminish and distort—but never define—the lives of those who suffer them. Writing with sorrow, and anger, and courageous hope, she forces us to reconsider what we mean by ‘justice,’ and by what endeavors its cause might be advanced, if never finally achieved.” — Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America

“Walidah Imarisha has written a brave book. It demonstrates both the universality and distinctiveness of three lives enmeshed through the U.S. prison system. Imarisha pushes us to give up easy distinctions between innocence and guilt, good and evil, and to experience punishment and imprisonment as the messy, complex systems they are. And she reminds us that while there are no winners in this game, it is one replete with compassion, care, and resistance enough to permeate walls and cages.” — Rachel Herzig, Critical Resistance organizer