In My Father's House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family

Knopf. Oct. 2018. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9781400041022. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525521631. CRIME
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Butterfield (China: Alive in the Bitter Sea; All God's Children) presents a vivid case study of family values gone wrong, focusing on the Oregon-based Bogle clan, who were heavily involved in the intergenerational transmission of criminality since the early 20th century. This book is organized around the infamous lives of particular family members using research dating back to the 1940s, ending on a hopeful note about descendants who transcended their "destiny." Offering a timely look at family dynamics as well as an interrogation of mass incarceration in America, the author delivers a valiant case for resurrecting a crime theory based on family dynamics neglected by scholars in recent years. However, the issue of whether family values and imitation caused the Bogles' criminality or if the lifestyle grew out of their impoverished social conditions as described here is left unresolved.
VERDICT This very readable saga of a dysfunctional, close-knit family is also a thoughtful, well-documented criminal genealogy. Recommended for readers of true crime and criminal subcultures. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/18.]

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