Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.

Open Road Media
209
Free sample

The award-winning memoir of life in an LA street gang from the acclaimed Chicano author and former Los Angeles Poet Laureate: “Fierce, and fearless” (The New York Times).
 
Luis J. Rodríguez joined his first gang at age eleven. As a teenager, he witnessed the rise of some of the most notorious cliques in Southern California. He grew up knowing only a life of violence—one that revolved around drugs, gang wars, and police brutality. But unlike most of those around him, Rodríguez found a way out when art, writing, and political activism gave him a new path—and an escape from self-destruction.
 
Always Running spares no detail in its vivid, brutally honest portrayal of street life and violence, and it stands as a powerful and unforgettable testimonial of gang life by one of the most acclaimed Chicano writers of his generation.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Luis J. Rodríguez including rare images from the author’s personal collection.
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About the author

Luis J. Rodríguez (b. 1954) is a poet, journalist, memoirist, and author of children’s books, short stories, and novels. His documentation of urban and Mexican immigrant life has made him one of the most prominent Chicano literary voices in the United States. Born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, Rodríguez grew up in Los Angeles, where in his teen yearshe joined a gang, lived on the streets, and became addicted to heroin. In his twenties, after turning his back on gang violence and drugs, Rodríguez began his career as a journalist and then award-winning poet, writing such books as the memoir Always Running (1993), and the poetry collections The Concrete River (1991), Poems Across the Pavement (1989), and Trochemoche (1998). He has also written the short story collection The Republic of East L.A. (2002). Rodríguez maintains an arts center, bookstore, and poetry press in L.A., where he continues writing and working to mediate gang violence. 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jun 12, 2012
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Pages
262
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ISBN
9781453259085
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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By turns harrowing, moving, and ultimately redemptive, this is a war story -- a war that rages out of control on the streets of the United States, claiming the lives of our loved ones and neighbors. In this memoir, complete with child soldiers, unspeakable violence, and eventual salvation, we witness the journey of an East Coast member of the notorious Bloods gang coming to terms with the lost boy he was and the transformation into the man he wants to become.

Unlike the child warriors of Mozambique and Sierra Leone, gang members and the wars they wage are the United States' homegrown nightmare. Lacking protection, support, or any alternatives, Dashaun Morris is forced into battle for the first time at age eleven, in the streets of Phoenix, when a friend's older brothers put him in a car filled with 40s and weed smoke, put a gun in his hands, then make him point it at the men on the corner and squeeze the trigger. The targets are Crips, of course, and, as Morris writes, "In the darkness of the streets, my childhood is murdered.... I am reborn -- a gangster."

In this haunting, violent memoir, Morris takes us through an American childhood turned grotesquely inside out. In the fourth grade, he loses his first friend in a drive-by shooting. By high school he is the man, a champion on the football field by day and a reputable banger on his 'hood turf by night.

Living the life of a gang banger, Morris does it all -- drug dealing, jacking, and continuing the aimless war with rival gang members -- almost opening fire one night on a close friend, a cheerleader, as she hangs out with young men he mistakes for Crips.

He eventually makes it to college on a football scholarship, but on the verge of being drafted by the NFL, Morris can't escape his gang-banging mentality and gets caught up in crimes that snatch away all future hopes. Sitting in a prison cell, he anticipates the birth of his first child while counting the friends he's buried.

War of the Bloods in My Veins is part of Morris's redemption, a cry to his brothers that gang life is mental illness. It is a rare and brutally honest look into the relentless storm of abandonment, violence, crime, death, and the endless rush toward the complete and utter self-annihilation that plagues the lives of the young "soldiers" who die every day in our streets.
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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