LA Noir

“Other cities have histories. Los Angeles has legends.” That’s how John Buntin starts out his joint biography of LAPD Chief Willliam Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen.

Other cities have histories.  Los Angeles has legends.

If that opening line doesn’t make you rush out and buy John Buntin’s LA Noir, your literary taste must differ from mine.  Even then, the thought of Billy Graham making the coming-to-the-altar of a Jewish hoodlum from Los Angeles the centerpiece of his first New York crusade ought to draw you in.

The book is a joint biography of Chief William Parker of the Los Angeles Police Department and LA mob boss Mickey Cohen, and of the transformation of Los Angeles from the city of the Raymond Chandler novels to the city that produced the first great riot of the 1960s.

John* gave a reading at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica this evening, and it was a gripping performance:  not a characterization I would apply to most history lectures.    I think we may have a classic on our hands.

* Full disclosure:  he’s a good friend

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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