The ultimate book review

Gordon Wasserman, the crime adviser to the Cameron government and now a Baron, left his copy of When Brute Force Fails on his desk in the House of Lords, and it was stolen.

Gordon Wasserman (now Lord Wasserman), an expert on policing, is a senior adviser to the Cameron government on crime control and the author of the Police and Crime Commissioners plan, which will create a new class of elected local officials who will be able to make budgets and to hire and fire Chief Constables. We hadn’t met, though we have lots of people in common, but (thanks to Joan Brody) I had a chance to meet him in London. Since he had votes coming up in the House of Lords, that’s where we met.

On my way out, after nearly two hours of wide-ranging and animated discussion, I gave him a copy of When Brute Force Fails. The next day he emailed me to say that he’d left it on his desk in the Lords chamber, from which it had been stolen.

I’m delighted that someone among the Peers has such excellent literary taste. Lord Wasserman, despite his extensive knowledge of British criminal procedure, is unsure whether this high-value theft will be investigated by Scotland Yard or by Black Rod.

If the marketing folks at Princeton University Press are on the ball, the next edition will have, emblazoned on the front cover, STOLEN FROM THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

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:

7 thoughts on “The ultimate book review”

  1. Good story. Barely related: Rev. Peter Gomes wanted to put bibles in the pews at Harvard Memorial Church. Oh no, came the response, they might be stolen. Rev. Gomes: So you’re saying that the word of God might end up in the hands of sinners? As I recall, bibles were placed, and many were, um, taken home.

    No word on how many were read and/or acted on.

  2. The Alcoholic Anonymous meeting joke is “Hey, one of those new people stole our Big Book…when he gets to step 9, he’ll bring it back”.

  3. One absent-minded writer had engraved on his umbrells: “Stolen from G.K. Chesterton”.

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