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May 15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Davis, a political progressive icon of the 1960s, tackles the concept and application of freedom in the context of the twenty-first century. She focuses on the growth of the prison industry nationally and internationally, reflecting on forces of capitalism that undercut human freedom. Challenging the reader to conceive of a world without prisons, Davis champions a concept of prison abolition. Hers is not a utopian perspective but one based on historical analysis of how prisons evolved as an alternative to punishment by death and as a continuation of post-slavery racial control. Davis examines the connection of poor education to low employment for American minorities, particularly blacks, making them easy targets for the prison stampede. She also explores the forces of capitalism in relation to developing nations, producing economic instability that leads to mass immigration and another population vulnerable to incarceration. This book is a collection of Davis’ lectures from 1994 through 2009, interweaving themes of freedom and bias based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Davis is at her best linking these perceptively separate segments into a broader concept of freedom across all the lines that separate us.