SOCIAL SCIENCES

Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City

One World. Aug. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525512363 . $28.. SOC SCI
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On April 12, 2015, Baltimore resident Freddie Gray was arrested and charged with possession of a knife. According to witnesses, police officers cuffed Gray and put him in the back of a police van. However, there remains speculation as to whether officers beat or kicked him. While being transported in the van, Gray fell into a coma; he died on April 19, 2015 due to injuries to his spinal cord. The protests that followed are the focus of this latest from best-selling author Moore (The Other Wes Moore), coauthored with journalist Green. Through the perspectives of eight different people, Moore creates a tableau in which the effects of the protests and the differing relationships between citizens and the Baltimore Police Department are explored. Though it is clear that Moore believes that the police department is guilty of abuse toward poor black citizens, he still maintains a sense of balance by allowing a high-ranking African American police officer as well as white city officials to share their perspectives on the protests.
VERDICT A rich, yet disturbing tapestry of modern U.S. history that succeeds in presenting how the power of protest creates situations that are at once chaotic, cathartic, and life-changing.

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